Title 50, United States Code, Section 1521 directs the Department of Defense to destroy the United States chemical weapons stockpile. This statute also provides for the establishment of a management organization within the Department of the Army to carry out this mission. In addition, the United States is a state party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an international treaty prohibiting development, production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons and requiring the destruction of existing stockpiles and demolition of chemical weapons production facilities and other non-stockpile chemical warfare materiel.
The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, a subordinate activity of the U.S. Army Materiel Command, manages the execution of this nationally important and internationally significant program to safely store and destroy all U.S. chemical warfare materiel, with Army Secretariat oversight from the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology). In accordance with Public Laws 105-261 and 107-248, the Office of the Secretary of Defense manages chemical demilitarization activities at the stockpile disposal sites in Colorado and Kentucky.
All of the disposal facilities under Army purview currently are operating or have completed operations. Nearly 39 percent of the overall stockpile has been safely destroyed. This is equivalent to 12,259 US tons of chemical agent and over 1.6 million munitions.
In November 2000, the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System completed the destruction of the last munitions stored at the atoll, and closure operations were completed in November 2003. In February 2006, workers at the Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility completed destruction operations by cleaning and decontaminating the last formerly mustard-filled ton container stored at the Edgewood Chemical Activity. Aberdeen is the first site within the continental United States to complete stockpile destruction operations and begin facility closure activities.
The Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Utah has destroyed more than 54 percent of the chemical agents and 89 percent of the munitions stored at Deseret Chemical Depot, including all GB- and VX-filled munitions, representing a 99 percent reduction in risk to the local community. The Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Alabama completed its GB campaign in March 2006, safely destroying all GB-filled munitions. This represents over 19 percent of the chemical agent stockpile and nearly 22 percent of munitions stored at Anniston Army Depot.
Workers at the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Oregon have destroyed 71,418 munitions, containing 577 US tons of chemical agent. The Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Arkansas has destroyed 34,209 munitions. The Newport Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Indiana has neutralized the contents of 260 VX-filled ton containers (TCs) and decontaminated 248 of the drained TCs.
The Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Project has met all CWC requirements to date and is committed to meeting all future milestones. Only two former chemical weapons production facilities (FPFs) remain and the U.S. continues to work towards meeting the 100% destruction deadline for FPFs of April 2007. A number of mobile systems are available for assessment and disposal of recovered chemical warfare materiel.
Overall Chemical Demilitarization Program recordable injury rates (RIR) averaged 1.15 over the last year, which puts the Program's overall RIR between that of a trust fund management office and a credit union, according to 2003 statistics posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The facilities in Pine Bluff, AR and Anniston, AL surpassed seven million and 8 million hours, respectively, without a lost-workday incident.