Defense Secretary Ash Carter inherited a tangled web of morale and other problems in the Air Force nuclear missile corps when he took over the Pentagon nearly two years ago.

Now he says he sees reason to believe that a major push for improvements is beginning to show results.

After visiting Monday with officers and airmen who operate, maintain and secure Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles, Carter said they told him they are encouraged by changes that have been made since the problems were highlighted by a series of Associated Press stories in 2013-14.

He said he concludes from those conversations that the reforms are "bearing fruit."