U.S. Army Reaches Major Chemical Weapons Convention Milestone

The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) announced the safe destruction of 45 percent of the United States chemical stockpile, accomplishing a major Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) milestone, well ahead of the other signatory nations with major stockpiles.

“We successfully met the 1 percent, 20 percent and 45 percent destruction milestones specified by the treaty while maintaining an outstanding safety record,” said Dale Ormond, CMA acting director. “It is a tribute to the United States' leadership in developing and implementing chemical demilitarization technology.”

The selection of 45 percent, rather than 50 percent, as the third milestone was the result of international negotiations in which the percentages selected as milestones had to correspond to a realistic timeline for meeting them.

The United States came under the provisions of the CWC in April 1997. The treaty includes a destruction schedule for chemical weapons stockpiles and a system of regular inspections. In all, 182 nations signed the treaty. Thus far, a large percentage of the chemical weapons material destroyed in the world has been destroyed in the United States.

“I couldn't be prouder of the men and women of CMA and their hard work, dedication and commitment to safety and environmental compliance. Their outstanding efforts to eliminate our chemical munitions stockpile will result in a safer environment for our citizens and people around the world,” said Gen. Benjamin S. Griffin, commanding general of the U.S. Army Material Command.

“Each disposal operation has made an important contribution, and together, they have made the process more efficient by sharing their lessons learned. I am extremely proud of CMA and the government/industry team - a world class team performing a world class job,” added Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.

The first United States chemical demilitarization facilities to destroy chemical agent under the treaty were the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) in the South Pacific and Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF) in Utah. JACADS operated from 1990 to 2000, although credit toward the 45 percent milestone only began in April 1997, when the treaty provisions took effect. TOCDF began in 1996 and is still operating. The Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and the Pine Bluff Binary Destruction Facility at Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark., completed operations in 2006.

Stockpile disposal facilities are in operation at Anniston Army Depot, Ala., Newport Chemical Depot, Ind., Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark. and Umatilla Chemical Depot, Ore. Disposal facilities at Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colo., and Blue Grass Army Depot, Ky., are currently under construction.

The final milestone is 100 percent destruction of the nation's chemical weapons material. The United States successfully petitioned to have the original deadline of April 2007 extended to April 2012.

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