To quote the Fox News article:
The Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration had to wait more than a year to refurbish aging nuclear warheads — partly because they had forgotten how to make a crucial component, a government report states.
Regarding a classified material codenamed "Fogbank," a Government Accountability Office report released this month states that "NNSA had lost knowledge of how to manufacture the material because it had kept few records of the process when the material was made in the 1980s and almost all staff with expertise on production had retired or left the agency."
So the effort to refurbish and upgrade W76 warheads, which top the U.S. Navy's (and the British Royal Navy's) submarine-launched Trident missiles, had to be put on hold while experts scoured old records and finally figured out how to manufacture the stuff once again.
Travis humorously asked, "Couldn't we just ask the Chinese?"
After all, remember this scandal?
A scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has provided information that seriously contradicts Clinton administration claims that nuclear secrets obtained by China were solely the result of espionage during the late 1980's.
It's also been speculated that since the material is believed to be either very toxic or very hazardous to make, subjecting the government to potential lawsuits from anyone exposed to it, they may have "intentionally misplaced" the formula to minimize the likelihood of it being used against them or maybe even just declassified in a trial.
So, there we go. Next time we have difficulty remembering how to build our weapons, we can just ask the foreign nations that we've sold the secrets to or just ask their spies for our plans back.
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