Agency completes mission to destroy chemical weapons
The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency completed the destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile at Deseret Chemical Depot in Utah on Jan. 21.
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.
Article by Greg Mahall, CMA Public Affairs Office