The Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ANCDF), located at Anniston Army Depot (ANAD), Ala., yesterday completed the disposal of the chemical weapons stockpile stored at ANAD.
The ANCDF is a subordinate element of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA). Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., CMA has the mission to provide safe, secure storage of the Nation's chemical weapons and to safely destroy 90 percent of the Nation's chemical weapons stockpile.
"This is a great day for the U.S. Army, the people of Alabama and our Nation," said CMA Director Conrad Whyne. "Thanks to the steadfast dedication of the Anniston team--the United States Army, its civilian workers and contractors--the Anniston community, the state of Alabama, and our Nation are all safer today. I could not be more proud of our workforce."
The ANCDF had the mission to provide safe and environmentally compliant chemical agent destruction operations using incineration and explosive destruction technologies. The Anniston Chemical Activity (ANCA), also a subordinate element of CMA, had the mission to provide the safe and secure maintenance, storage and transport of 7 percent of the original U.S. stockpile of chemical munitions and containers, while also ensuring maximum protection of the installation and community population and providing treaty compliance of the chemical weapons stockpile. The original inventory of chemical weapons stored at ANAD included 661,529 nerve agent and mustard agent munitions and 2,254 tons of chemical agent. Destruction operations began August 9, 2003.
"The vast experience of CMA employees and contractors--both at the site and at headquarters--was used to build, operate, and oversee the work to safely accomplish today's destruction milestone. This same cooperation is being demonstrated for the successful operation of CMA storage and disposal facilities across the Nation," said Carmen Spencer, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for the Elimination of Chemical Weapons.
The ANCA and ANCDF will now begin closure operations, which will continue for approximately 18 to 24 months. Closure operations will be conducted in accordance with facility and storage area end-states as agreed upon with all appropriate stakeholders.
The United States established the Chemical Demilitarization Program in 1986 to remove the threat posed by continued storage of outdated chemical weapons; meet international treaty requirements; and inspire a worldwide commitment to the elimination of an entire class of weapons of mass destruction. In April 1997 the United States came under the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention, thereby requiring the safe destruction of 100 percent of the nation's chemical weapons by April 2007. The United States petitioned to have the original deadline extended to April 2012 (an extension allowed by the treaty) and was granted this five-year extension.
CMA has safely completed disposal operations and closed facilities in Edgewood, Md., Newport, Ind., and Johnston Atoll, located 800 miles southwest of Hawaii. CMA has also completed disposal operations in Pine Bluff, Ark., and is in the process of closing the chemical agent disposal facility at Pine Bluff Arsenal. CMA continues to safely store and destroy chemical weapons stockpiles in Tooele, Utah, and Umatilla, Ore. CMA also safely stores the chemical weapons stockpiles in Richmond, Ky., and Pueblo, Colo. The disposal of these munitions falls under the purview of the Program Manager Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, a separate Department of Defense program.
Article by Richard M. Arndt, Army.mil