Agency completes mission to destroy chemical weapons

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — The U.S. Army Chem­i­cal Mate­ri­als Agency com­plet­ed the destruc­tion of the chem­i­cal weapons stock­pile at Deseret Chem­i­cal Depot in Utah on Jan. 21.

Work­ers (left to right) Jay Nel­son, Lon­ny Ander­son, Jay Van Noy, Nick Alver­son, Dustin Shields and Shawn Soren­son stand by Deseret Chem­i­cal Depot’s last ton con­tain­er filled with mus­tard blis­ter agent to be destroyed at the Tooele Chem­i­cal Agent Dis­pos­al Facil­i­ty.
Click to enlarge

With the elim­i­na­tion of the Utah chem­i­cal weapons stock­pile, Chem­i­cal Mate­ri­als Agency, or CMA, has safe­ly destroyed near­ly 90 per­cent of the nation’s stock­pile of chem­i­cal agent and has suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed its mis­sion to destroy all chem­i­cal agent muni­tions and items declared at entry into force of the Chem­i­cal Weapons Con­ven­tion, known as CWC, and assigned to CMA for destruc­tion.

The CWC, an inter­na­tion­al treaty rat­i­fied by the Unit­ed States in April 1997, required the com­plete destruc­tion of the Nation’s chem­i­cal weapons stock­pile by April 2007. The Unit­ed States was grant­ed a five-year exten­sion to April 2012 as allowed by the treaty.

“Com­plet­ing destruc­tion of this stock­pile mis­sion is a wor­thy and impor­tant accom­plish­ment,” said Sec­re­tary of the Army John McHugh. “This demon­strates our com­mit­ment to the elim­i­na­tion of chem­i­cal weapons, enhanc­ing safe­ty and secu­ri­ty for our work­force, our com­mu­ni­ties and the nation.”

The safe destruc­tion of 27,473.65 U.S. tons (24,923.68 met­ric tons) of nerve and blis­ter agents rep­re­sents 89.75 per­cent of the Nation’s chem­i­cal agent stock­pile and is the cul­mi­na­tion of more than 20 years of work by thou­sands of men and women at sev­en chem­i­cal demil­i­ta­riza­tion facil­i­ties locat­ed around the nation.

CMA’s work­force, gov­ern­ment and con­trac­tor, has shown the utmost ded­i­ca­tion to our mis­sion,” said CMA Direc­tor Con­rad Whyne. “Many of them have com­mit­ted their pro­fes­sion­al lives to chem­i­cal weapons dis­pos­al. It was only through their ded­i­ca­tion and exper­tise that CMA and the Army were able to com­plete this mis­sion.”

The com­ple­tion of CMA’s chem­i­cal stock­pile elim­i­na­tion mis­sion was accom­plished at the Tooele Chem­i­cal Agent Dis­pos­al Facil­i­ty, or TOCDF, locat­ed at Deseret Chem­i­cal Depot, known as DCD. The TOCDF was CMA’s last oper­at­ing chem­i­cal demil­i­ta­riza­tion facil­i­ty. CMA pre­vi­ous­ly com­plet­ed chem­i­cal agent destruc­tion oper­a­tions at:

  • 2000: John­ston Atoll Chem­i­cal Agent Dis­pos­al Sys­tem, South Pacif­ic (Closed).
  • 2005: Aberdeen Chem­i­cal Agent Dis­pos­al Facil­i­ty, Md. (Closed).
  • 2008: New­port Chem­i­cal Agent Dis­pos­al Facil­i­ty, Ind. (Closed).
  • 2010: Pine Bluff Chem­i­cal Agent Dis­pos­al Facil­i­ty, Ark. (Clo­sure in progress).
  • 2011: Annis­ton Chem­i­cal Agent Dis­pos­al Facil­i­ty, Ala. (Clo­sure in progress).
  • 2011: Umatil­la Chem­i­cal Agent Dis­pos­al Facil­i­ty, Ore. (Clo­sure in progress).

“The safe destruc­tion of more than 2.2 mil­lion chem­i­cal nerve and blis­ter agent muni­tions and bulk con­tain­ers at sev­en demil­i­ta­riza­tion facil­i­ties is a remark­able accom­plish­ment for the CMA work­force at each site and sys­tems con­trac­tors who oper­at­ed each facil­i­ty,” said Hei­di Shyu, Act­ing Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of the Army for Acqui­si­tion, Logis­tics, and Tech­nol­o­gy. “It also is a trib­ute to the coop­er­a­tive spir­it of the local offi­cials, reg­u­la­tors and com­mu­ni­ties. Reach­ing this mile­stone has been a team effort — a team I’m proud to be part of.”

CMA con­tin­ues to sup­port the nation’s chem­i­cal demil­i­ta­riza­tion pro­gram by pro­vid­ing ongo­ing assess­ment and destruc­tion of recov­ered chem­i­cal war­fare materiel through its Non-Stock­pile Chem­i­cal Materiel Project.

CMA also retains the mis­sion to safe­ly and secure­ly store the chem­i­cal agent stock­piles at Rich­mond, Ky., and Pueblo, Colo. Those stock­piles will be destroyed by the U.S. Army Ele­ment Assem­bled Chem­i­cal Weapons Alter­na­tives, or ACWA, a sep­a­rate Depart­ment of Defense pro­gram. CMA will con­tin­ue its part­ner­ship with ACWA to share the lessons learned from its suc­cess­ful chem­i­cal stock­pile elim­i­na­tion pro­gram.

CMA will also con­tin­ue to man­age the Chem­i­cal Stock­pile Emer­gency Pre­pared­ness Pro­gram, a joint Army/Federal Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency pro­gram that pro­vides emer­gency pre­pared­ness assis­tance to the com­mu­ni­ties sur­round­ing chem­i­cal weapon stock­piles.

U.S. Army