Given the danger posed by nuclear weapons, one might think that the government would have a complete inventory of all of them, including spare parts.
It was revealed last month that in 2006, an Air Force base in Utah mistakenly shipped four fuses, designed to be used on missiles, to Taiwan. The error was discovered and the fuses were shipped back to Utah.
But the incident revealed that the Defense Department does not have an acceptable method of keeping track of missile and nuclear weapons equipment. That prompted Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to order that a full inventory of such weapons and related materials be conducted.
That is good — though long overdue. We have little doubt that the investigation will reveal other mistakes in storage and shipment of such equipment. Each and every one of them needs to be corrected.
In addition, Gates should order that another inventory be conducted — this one involving chemical and biological weapons. In some ways, they are even more worrisome than nuclear devices — and more likely to be used to cause havoc, should they fall into the hands of terrorists or other criminals.