By Pamela ShelleyMay 18, 2012
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. - The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) today hosted a formal ceremony in recognition of the January 21, 2012, milestone--the successful completion of its chemical agent stockpile disposal mission. This major milestone was attributed to the many dedicated, committed professionals who demonstrated excellence in the safe handling and disposal of our Nation's stockpile.
"We knew that our common goal--to destroy the stockpiles at Johnston Island, Maryland, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Oregon and Utah--was challenging, but we forged ahead. Today, we are justifiably proud. We made the world safer," said Don Barclay, Acting Director, CMA.
Today's ceremony, attended by more than 300 guests, highlighted the achievements of CMA and its systems contractors in destroying nearly 90 percent of the United States' declared chemical agent stockpile--more than 27,000 tons of chemical nerve and blister agents, contained in more than 2.3 million munitions and bulk containers.
Speakers at the ceremony included Barclay; Mr. Conrad Whyne, former CMA Director and current Program Executive Officer for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives; Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Claude M. Bolton, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology; Ambassador Robert P. Mikulak, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW); Ambassador Ahmet Űzűmcű, Director-General of the OPCW; Mr. Carmen Spencer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for the Elimination of Chemical Weapons; and Dr. A. Tom Hopkins, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction and Arms Control.
"CMA has shown the world that tough jobs can be accomplished safely," said
Mr. Spencer "CMA has achieved tens of millions of consecutive safe hours worked, and the numbers show that working in a CMA chemical demilitarization plant is as safe as working at a software publishing company. That's a stellar accomplishment."
With completion of its disposal mission, CMA HQ will focus on its remaining missions, including the assessment and destruction of recovered chemical warfare materiel; managing and closing the four remaining destruction facilities in Alabama, Arkansas, Utah and Oregon; safely storing the remaining chemical weapons stockpiles in Kentucky and Colorado; supporting the communities surrounding the Kentucky and Colorado stockpiles with emergency management planning and carrying out the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty mission as the Army's Executive Agent.