North Dakota

Carter: Nuke force changes are 'bearing fruit'

Defense Secretary Ash Carter greets airmen at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, after giving a speech on nuclear weapons. Carter says the Pentagon is committed to correcting what he calls decades of shortchanging its nuclear forces. Carter spoke Monday at a nuclear missile and bomber base in Minot. He says $108 billion is earmarked for sustaining and improving the forces over the next five years. (AP Photo/Robert Burns)

Defense Secretary Ash Carter greets airmen at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, after giving a speech on nuclear weapons. Carter says the Pentagon is committed to correcting what he calls decades of shortchanging its nuclear forces. Carter spoke Monday at a nuclear missile and bomber base in Minot. He says $108 billion is earmarked for sustaining and improving the forces over the next five years. (AP Photo/Robert Burns)  (The Associated Press)

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."