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Chemical Weapons and Materiel: Key Factors Affecting Disposal Costs and Schedule

(Chapter Report, 02/10/97, GAO/NSIAD-97-18).


GAO assessed the Department of Defense's (DOD) programs for destroying
the U.S. stockpile of chemical munitions and planning for the disposal
of nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel, focusing on: (1) the
programs' cost and schedule; (2) alternatives for improving program
effectiveness and efficiency; and (3) actions the Army has and is taking
to improve the programs.

GAO found that: (1) while there is general agreement about the need to
destroy the chemical stockpile and related materiel, progress has slowed
due to the lack of consensus among DOD and affected states and
localities about the destruction method that should be used; (2) as a
result, the cost and schedule for the disposal programs are uncertain;
however, they will cost more than the estimated $24.4 billion above
current expenditures and take longer than currently planned; (3) key
factors impacting the programs include public concerns over the safety
of incineration, compliance with environmental laws and regulations,
legislative requirements, and the introduction of alternative disposal
technologies; (4) the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program cost and
schedule are largely driven by the degree to which states and local
communities are in agreement with the proposed disposal method at the
remaining stockpile sites; (5) based on program experience, reaching
agreement has consistently taken longer than the Army anticipated; (6)
congressional direction to research and develop alternative technologies
to destroy assembled chemical munitions indicates that there are
continued public concerns about the proposed disposal method; (7) until
DOD and the affected states and localities reach agreement on a disposal
method for the remaining stockpile sites, the Army will not be able to
predict the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program cost and schedule with
any degree of accuracy; (8) many of the problems experienced in the
stockpile program are also likely to affect the Army's ability to
implement the Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel Program; (9) recognizing
the difficulty of satisfactorily resolving public concerns associated
with each individual disposal location, suggestions have been made to
change the programs' basic approach to destruction; (10) however, the
suggestions create trade-offs for decisionmakers and would require
changes in existing legal requirements; (11) these suggestions have
included deferring plans for additional disposal facilities until an
acceptable alternative technology to incineration is developed,
consolidating disposal operations at a national or regional sites,
destroying selected nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel in stockpile
disposal facilities, establishing a centralized disposal facility for
nonstockpile materiel, and modifying existing laws and regulations to s*

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  NSIAD-97-18
     TITLE:  Chemical Weapons and Materiel: Key Factors Affecting 
             Disposal Costs and Schedule
      DATE:  02/10/97
   SUBJECT:  Army facilities
             Chemical warfare
             Cost analysis
             Emergency preparedness
             Federal/state relations
             Hazardous substances
             Munitions
             Waste disposal
             Weapons
             Safety standards
IDENTIFIER:  Army Chemical Munitions Nonstockpile Disposal Program
             Army Chemical Munitions Stockpile Disposal Program
             Army Enhanced Stockpile Surveillance Program
             Army Alternative Technologies and Approaches Project
             Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System
             Munitions Management Device-1
             Munitions Management Device-2
             
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Cover
================================================================ COVER


Report to Congressional Committees

February 1997

CHEMICAL WEAPONS AND MATERIEL -
KEY FACTORS AFFECTING DISPOSAL
COSTS AND SCHEDULE

GAO/NSIAD-97-18

Chemical Weapons and Materiel

(709134)


Abbreviations
=============================================================== ABBREV

  DOD - Department of Defense
  GAO -

Letter
=============================================================== LETTER


B-266135

February 10, 1997

The Honorable Ted Stevens
Chairman
The Honorable Daniel K.  Inouye
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Defense
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Floyd D.  Spence
Chairman
The Honorable Ronald V.  Dellums
Ranking Minority Member
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

The Honorable C.W.  Bill Young
Chairman
The Honorable John P.  Murtha
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on National Security
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives

This report describes the Department of Defense's programs for
destroying the U.S.  stockpile of chemical munitions and planning for
the disposal of nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel.  The
programs' combined life-cycle cost estimate is $27.6 billion, which
includes $12.4 billion for the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program
and $15.2 billion for the Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel Program. 
This report provides an overall assessment of the programs' cost and
schedule, alternatives for improving program effectiveness and
efficiency, and actions the Army has and is taking to improve the
programs. 

Should the Congress wish to consider changing the programs' current
path, this report discusses several options for addressing the key
factors affecting the programs.  We are not taking a position on the
options or current approach, rather the options are presented in
context of the tradeoffs they present. 

We prepared this report under our basic legislative responsibilities. 
We are providing it to you because of your oversight responsibilities
for chemical weapons disposal programs. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Secretaries of Defense
and the Army, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget,
and other interested parties.  We will make copies available to
others upon request. 

This report was prepared under the direction of David R.  Warren,
Director, Defense Management Issues, who may be reached at (202)
512-8412 if you or your staff have any questions.  Other major
contributors are listed in appendix VI. 

Henry L.  Hinton, Jr.
Assistant Comptroller General



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
============================================================ Chapter 0


   PURPOSE
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:1

Since 1985, the Army has spent $3.2 billion on its programs for
destroying the U.S.  stockpile of chemical munitions and planning for
the disposal of nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel.  Today, the
programs are still in the early stages of implementation and the Army
estimates that $24.4 billion more will be needed to complete them.\1
Since 1990, GAO has issued a number of reports addressing
opportunities to improve various aspects of the disposal programs. 
Due to continuing congressional and public interest about the
progress and cost of the programs, GAO prepared this report under its
basic legislative responsibilities to provide an overall assessment
of the (1) programs' cost and schedule, (2) alternatives for
improving program effectiveness and efficiency, and (3) actions the
Army has and is taking to improve the programs. 


--------------------
\1 The programs' combined life-cycle cost estimate is $27.6 billion. 
This amount includes $12.4 billion for the Chemical Stockpile
Disposal Program and $15.2 billion for the Nonstockpile Chemical
Materiel Program. 


   BACKGROUND
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:2

In 1985, the Congress passed Public Law 99-145 directing the Army to
destroy the U.S.  stockpile of obsolete chemical agents and
munitions.  The stockpile consists of rockets, bombs, projectiles,
spray tanks, and bulk containers, which contain nerve and mustard
agents.  It is stored at eight sites in the continental United States
and on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.  To comply with
congressional direction, the Army established the Chemical Stockpile
Disposal Program and developed a plan to incinerate the agents and
munitions on site in specially designed facilities.  Recognizing that
the stockpile program did not include all chemical warfare materiel
requiring disposal, the Congress directed the Army in 1992 to plan
for the disposal of materiel not included in the stockpile.  This
materiel, some of which dates back as far as World War I, consists of
binary chemical weapons, miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel,
recovered chemical weapons, former production facilities, and buried
chemical warfare materiel.\2 In 1992, the Army established the
Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel Program to dispose of the materiel. 

In 1993, the United States signed the U.N.-sponsored Chemical Weapons
Convention.  In October 1996, the 65th nation ratified the convention
making the treaty effective on April 29, 1997.\3 If the U.S.  Senate
approves the convention, it could affect implementation of the
disposal programs.\4 Through ratification, the United States will
agree to dispose of its (1) unitary chemical weapons stockpile,
binary chemical weapons, recovered chemical weapons, and former
chemical weapon production facilities by April 29, 2007, and (2)
miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel by April 29, 2002.  If a
country is unable to maintain the convention's disposal schedule, the
convention's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons may
grant a one-time extension of up to 5 years.  Under the terms of the
convention, chemical warfare materiel buried before 1977 is exempt
from disposal as long as it remains buried.  Should the United States
choose to excavate the sites and remove the chemical materiel, the
provisions of the convention would apply.  As of December 1996, the
Senate has not approved the convention.  However, the United States
is still committed by public law to destroying its chemical stockpile
and related warfare materiel. 

In prior reports, GAO expressed concern about the Army's lack of
progress and the rising cost of the disposal programs.  (See Related
GAO Products.) In 1991, GAO reported that continued problems in the
program indicated that increased costs and additional time to destroy
the chemical stockpile should be expected.  GAO recommended that the
Army determine whether faster and less costly technologies were
available to destroy the stockpile.\5 In a 1995 report on the
nonstockpile program, GAO concluded that the Army's plans for
disposing of nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel were not final
and, as a result, its cost estimate was likely to change.\6 On July
13, 1995, GAO testified that the Army had experienced significant
cost growth and delays in executing its stockpile disposal program
and that further cost growth and schedule slippages could occur.\7


--------------------
\2 Binary weapons are formed from two nonlethal elements through a
chemical reaction after the munitions are fired or launched.  The
weapons were manufactured, stored, and transported with only one of
the chemical elements in the weapon.  The second element was to be
loaded into the weapon at the battlefield. 

\3 The convention becomes effective 180 days after the 65th nation
ratified the treaty. 

\4 Under the U.S.  Constitution, treaties must be approved by a
two-thirds majority of the Senate. 

\5 Chemical Weapons:  Stockpile Destruction Cost Growth and Schedule
Slippages Are Likely to Continue (GAO/NSIAD-92-18, Nov.  20, 1991). 

\6 Chemical Weapons Disposal:  Plans for Nonstockpile Chemical
Warfare Materiel Can Be Improved (GAO/NSIAD-95-55, Dec.  20, 1994). 

\7 Chemical Weapons Disposal:  Issues Related to DOD's Management
(GAO/T-NSIAD-95-185, July 13, 1995). 


   RESULTS IN BRIEF
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:3

While there is general agreement about the need to destroy the
chemical stockpile and related materiel, progress has slowed due to
the lack of consensus among the Department of Defense (DOD) and
affected states and localities about the destruction method that
should be used.  As a result, the cost and schedule for the disposal
programs are uncertain.  However, they will cost more than the
estimated $24.4 billion above current expenditures and take longer
than currently planned.  The key factors impacting the programs
include public concerns over the safety of incineration, compliance
with environmental laws and regulations, legislative requirements,
and the introduction of alternative disposal technologies. 

The Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program cost and schedule are largely
driven by the degree to which states and local communities are in
agreement with the proposed disposal method at the remaining
stockpile sites.  Based on program experience, reaching agreement has
consistently taken longer than the Army anticipated.  For example,
the Army has consistently underestimated the time required to obtain
environmental permits for the disposal facilities.  Furthermore,
congressional direction in the 1997 Authorization and Appropriations
Acts to research and develop alternative technologies to destroy
assembled chemical munitions indicates that there are continued
public concerns about the proposed disposal method.  Until DOD and
the affected states and localities reach agreement on a disposal
method for the remaining stockpile sites, the Army will not be able
to predict the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program cost and schedule
with any degree of accuracy.  Moreover, many of the problems
experienced in the stockpile program are also likely to affect the
Army's ability to implement the Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel
Program.  For example, efforts to dispose of nonstockpile materiel
are likely to be driven by the need to obtain state and local
approvals for destruction methods.  In addition, more time is needed
for the Army to prove that its proposed disposal method for the
nonstockpile program will be safe and effective and accepted by the
affected states and localities. 

Recognizing the difficulty of satisfactorily resolving the public
concerns associated with each individual disposal location,
suggestions have been made by members of the Congress, DOD officials,
and others to change the programs' basic approach to destruction. 
However, the suggestions create trade-offs for decisionmakers and
would require changes in existing legal requirements.  These
suggestions have included deferring plans for additional disposal
facilities until an acceptable alternative technology to incineration
is developed, consolidating disposal operations at a national or
regional sites, destroying selected nonstockpile chemical warfare
materiel in stockpile disposal facilities, establishing a centralized
disposal facility for nonstockpile materiel, and modifying existing
laws and regulations to standardize environmental requirements. 

Notwithstanding these overarching issues, DOD and the Army have taken
actions in response to congressional direction and GAO
recommendations to improve program management.  In December 1994, DOD
designated the Army's chemical demilitarization program, consisting
of both stockpile and nonstockpile munitions and materiel, as a major
defense acquisition program.  The objectives of the designation were
to stabilize the disposal schedules, control costs, and provide more
discipline and higher levels of program oversight.  In addition, the
Army initiated actions to identify options for reducing costs.  Army
officials have identified cost-reduction initiatives, which are in
various stages of assessment, that could potentially reduce program
costs by $673 million.  However, the Army cannot implement some of
the more significant initiatives without the cooperation and approval
of state regulatory agencies. 


   PRINCIPAL FINDINGS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4


      THE STOCKPILE PROGRAM'S COST
      AND SCHEDULE ARE UNCERTAIN,
      BUT WILL EXCEED CURRENT
      ESTIMATES
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.1

The stockpile program will likely exceed its $12.4 billion estimate
and take longer than the legislative completion date of December
2004.\8 This is because reaching agreement on site specific disposal
methods has consistently taken longer than the Army anticipated. 
Public concerns about the safety of incineration have (1) resulted in
additional environmental requirements, (2) slowed the permitting of
new incinerators, and (3) required the Army to research disposal
alternatives. 

Since 1985, the Army's cost estimate for the stockpile disposal
program has increased seven-fold, from an initial estimate of $1.7
billion to $12.4 billion, and the planned completion date has been
delayed from 1994 to 2004.  Although the Army is committed to
destroying the stockpile by the legislatively imposed deadline of
December 31, 2004, it is unlikely to meet that date.  Only two of the
nine planned disposal facilities are built and operating, 4 percent
of the stockpile has been destroyed, and environmental permitting
issues at the individual sites continue to delay construction of the
remaining facilities.  For example, since the Army developed the most
recent cost and schedule estimate in February 1996, the plant
construction schedule has slipped at Anniston, Alabama; Blue Grass,
Kentucky; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Pueblo, Colorado; and Umatilla,
Oregon. 

Predicting the disposal schedule for the various sites is difficult. 
According to Army officials, this is partly due to the uncertainty of
the time required to satisfy changing environmental requirements. 
For example, although based on federal requirements, individual state
environmental requirements differ and are occasionally changed.  In
addition, according to the Army, the original scope of the health
risk assessment to operate the disposal facilities was not completely
defined, the health assessment requirements have changed, and the
requirements currently vary from state to state.  According to DOD
officials, states have modified the requirements of their health risk
assessments well into the process, delaying the development of the
final assessment document.  According to Environmental Protection
Agency officials, the agency has issued several guidance documents
concerning health risk assessments and has tried to keep the Army
informed of the changes and updates in the guidance.  In addition,
the Environmental Protection Agency has advised the Army to meet with
state officials early in the process to agree on the methodology and
standards to use in the development of the assessments. 

Based on program experience, the Army's 1996 schedule does not
provide sufficient time for the Army to complete the environmental
approval process.\9 For example, the schedule for the Anniston
disposal facility includes a grace period of a month for any slippage
in the construction, systemization, or operation to meet the
legislative completion date of December 31, 2004.  Although the Army
estimated that the permit would have been issued by the end of
September 1996, Alabama regulatory officials expect the permit to be
issued in June or July 1997--a slippage of approximately 8 months in
the schedule.  The Army's revised schedule shows Alabama issuing the
permit at the end of March 1997.  Based on current expectations,
disposal operations at Anniston would extend to mid-2005. 

In the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act, the Congress directed
DOD to conduct an assessment of alternative technologies for the
disposal of assembled chemical munitions.\10

The act also directed the Secretary of Defense to report on the
assessment by December 31, 1997.  Similarly, the 1997 DOD
Appropriations Act provided $40 million to conduct a pilot program to
identify and demonstrate two or more alternatives to the baseline
incineration process for the disposal of assembled chemical
munitions.  The act also prohibited DOD from obligating any funds for
constructing disposal facilities at Blue Grass, Kentucky, and Pueblo,
Colorado, until 180 days after the Secretary reports on the
alternatives.  Although the prohibition applies only to Blue Grass
and Pueblo, public concerns about incineration may prompt state
regulators at other locations to delay their final decisions to
permit incinerators until the Secretary reports his findings. 

According to Army officials, alternative technologies may not reduce
costs or shorten disposal operations but are likely to be acceptable
to a larger segment of the public than incineration.  The Army is
currently researching technological alternatives to dispose of
chemical agents at the two bulk-only stockpile sites.  It is also
planning to develop a program to respond to recent congressional
direction to research alternative technologies to dispose of
assembled chemical munitions.  According to the National Research
Council, the Army has successfully involved the state and the public
in its alternative technology project for the two bulk-only stockpile
sites, demonstrating the importance of public involvement to the
progress of a program.\11 The development of alternative disposal
technologies for assembled chemical munitions provides the Army the
mechanism for encouraging public involvement and establishing common
objectives for the remaining disposal sites. 


--------------------
\8 Approximately $1 billion of the estimated $12.4 billion is
associated with the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness
Program. 

\9 Department of Defense's Interim Status Assessment for the Chemical
Demilitarization Program, DOD (Apr.  15, 1996). 

\10 In the 1993 National Defense Authorization Act, the Congress
directed the Army to report on potential technological alternatives
to incineration.  Consequently, in August 1994, the Army initiated a
program to investigate, develop, and support testing of alternative
disposal technologies for the two bulk-only stockpile sites--Aberdeen
Proving Ground, Maryland, and Newport Chemical Activity, Indiana. 
This program is still in the development and testing phase. 

\11 Public Involvement and the Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal
Program, National Research Council (Oct.  25, 1996). 


      THE NONSTOCKPILE PROGRAM'S
      COST AND SCHEDULE ARE ALSO
      UNCERTAIN
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.2

The Army has spent $105.9 million and estimates that the nonstockpile
program could cost another $15.1 billion and take nearly 40 years to
complete.  However, given the factors driving the program, it is
uncertain how long the program will take or cost.  The program is
driven by the uncertainties surrounding buried chemical warfare
materiel and unproven disposal methods.  Although Army officials are
confident that the proposed disposal systems will function as
planned, the Army needs more time to prove that the systems will
safely and effectively destroy all nonstockpile materiel and be
accepted by the affected states and communities.  Environmental
issues similar to those experienced in the stockpile program are also
likely to affect the Army's ability to obtain the environmental
approvals and permits that virtually all nonstockpile activities
require. 

The Army estimates that it can dispose of binary weapons, recovered
chemical weapons, former production facilities, and miscellaneous
chemical warfare materiel within the time frames established by the
Chemical Weapons Convention.  Under the terms of the convention,
chemical warfare materiel buried before 1977 is exempt from disposal
as long as it remains buried.  Although the Army estimates that
buried chemical materiel accounts for $14.5 billion (95 percent) of
the nonstockpile program cost, the Army is still exploring potential
sites and has little and often imprecise information about the type
and amount of materiel buried.  The Army estimated that it will take
until 2033 to identify, recover, and dispose of buried nonstockpile
materiel. 

Also, additional time is needed for the Army to demonstrate that its
mobile disposal systems are safe and effective and will meet state
environmental requirements.  The Army's disposal concept is based on
developing mobile systems capable of moving from one location to the
next where the munitions are remotely detoxified and the waste is
transported to a commercial hazardous waste facility.  Although the
systems may operate in a semi-fixed mode, they are scheduled to be
available for mobile use at recovered and burial sites after 1998. 
Whether the systems are allowed to operate at a particular location
will depend on the state regulatory agency with authority over the
disposal operations.  In addition, public acceptance or rejection of
the mobile systems will affect their transportation plans and
disposal operations. 


      ALTERNATIVES TO THE
      PROGRAMS' BASIC APPROACH TO
      DESTRUCTION
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.3

Recognizing the difficulty of resolving the public concerns
associated with each individual disposal location, suggestions have
been made to change the programs' basic approach to destruction.  For
example, Members of the Congress and officials from environmental
groups and affected states and counties have suggested deferring
plans for additional disposal facilities until an acceptable
alternative technology to incineration is developed.  Congressional
members have also suggested consolidating disposal operations at a
national or regional sites.  In addition, officials of various DOD
organizations have suggested destroying selected nonstockpile
chemical warfare materiel in stockpile disposal facilities,
establishing a centralized disposal facility for nonstockpile
materiel, and modifying existing laws and regulations to standardize
environmental requirements. 

Deferring disposal operations may eliminate much of the public
concern that has influenced the current approach to destroying the
chemical stockpile because alternative technologies are likely to be
acceptable to a larger segment of the affected states and local
communities than incineration.  However, given the current status of
alternative technologies, the cost and schedule would remain
uncertain, and there would be a corresponding increase in the risk of
an accident from continued storage of the munitions.  Although the
Army has been researching technological alternatives to incineration
for chemical agents stored in bulk containers, only recently have
research and testing demonstrated potentially effective alternatives. 
Currently, there is no proven alternative technology to incineration
capable of safely and effectively destroying assembled chemical
munitions. 

Consolidating disposal operations could reduce construction and
procurement costs, but the required transportation of chemical
munitions could be an insurmountable barrier.  This option would
extend the disposal schedule and result in increased risk not only
from storage but also from handling and transportation.  Although
consolidating disposal operations could reduce estimated facility
construction and operation costs by as much as $2.6 billion, the
savings would be reduced by uncertain but potentially significant
transportation and emergency preparedness costs.  To help reduce
costs, the Army would have to consolidate three or more stockpile
sites, develop less expensive transportation containers, and control
emergency response costs.  In 1988, the Army and many in the Congress
rejected transporting the chemical stockpile weapons to a national or
regional disposal sites because of the increased risk to the public
and the environment from moving the munitions.  DOD and Army
officials continue to be concerned about the safety of moving
chemical weapons and public opposition to transportation of the
munitions has grown since 1988. 

Similarly, using the chemical stockpile facilities or a national
disposal facility to destroy nonstockpile chemical materiel has the
potential for reducing costs.  Although selected nonstockpile items
could be destroyed in stockpile disposal facilities, the 1986 DOD
Authorization Act, and subsequent legislation, specifies that the
chemical stockpile disposal facilities may not be used for any
purpose other than the disposal of stockpile weapons.  This
legislative provision, in some cases, necessitates that the Army
implement separate disposal operations for nonstockpile materiel
along side of the stockpile facilities.  In its 1995 implementation
plan, the Army suggested that the stockpile disposal facilities could
be used to process some nonstockpile weapons, depending on the
location, the type of chemical weapon or materiel, and condition.\12
Another method for destroying nonstockpile chemical materiel could be
based on the use of a central disposal facility with equipment
designed specifically for destroying nonstockpile materiel.  Although
a national disposal facility could reduce program costs, the
legislative restrictions on the transportation of nonstockpile
chemical material and the prevalent public attitude that such a
disposal facility should not be located in their vicinity would be
significant obstacles that would have to be resolved. 

Modifying existing laws and regulations to standardize environmental
requirements could enhance both the stockpile and nonstockpile
programs' stability and control costs.  The current process of
individual states establishing their own environmental laws and
requirements and the prevalent public attitude that the Army's
disposal facilities should not be located in their vicinity have been
obstacles to the stockpile disposal program and are also likely to
affect the nonstockpile program.  For example, individual state
environmental requirements differ and are occasionally changed.  As a
result, there is no standard environmental protocol and requirements
for stockpile and nonstockpile disposal sites.  According to the
Army, establishing standardized environmental requirements for all
disposal sites would enhance the programs' stability.  However,
efforts to modify existing laws and regulations to standardize the
environmental requirements for chemical weapons disposal would likely
be resisted by the affected states and localities, and environmental
organizations. 


--------------------
\12 Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Program Implementation Plan, U.S. 
Army Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization (Aug.  1995). 


      STEPS TAKEN TO IMPROVE THE
      DISPOSAL PROGRAMS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:4.4

DOD and the Army have taken encouraging steps, some in response to
GAO's recommendations, to improve their management and oversight of
the stockpile and nonstockpile programs.  In December 1994, DOD
designated the Army's chemical demilitarization program, consisting
of both stockpile and nonstockpile munitions and materiel, as a major
defense acquisition program.  The objectives of the designation were
to stabilize the disposal schedules, control costs, and provide more
discipline and higher levels of program oversight.  In response to
recommendations by the National Research Council and GAO, the Army
initiated the Enhanced Stockpile Surveillance Program in 1995 to
improve its monitoring and inspection of chemical munitions.  On the
basis of those activities, the Army estimates that the stockpile will
be reasonably stable through 2013. 

The Army's review of the stockpile disposal program has identified
several promising cost-reduction initiatives, but the Army cannot
implement some of the more significant initiatives without the
cooperation and approval of state regulatory agencies.  Army
officials estimated that the initial cost-reduction initiatives,
which are in various stages of assessment, could potentially reduce
program costs by $673 million.  The Army plans to submit its
assessment of the initiatives to the Congress with its fiscal
year 1998 budget request.  It also plans to identify additional cost
reductions as the stockpile program progresses. 


   MATTERS FOR CONGRESSIONAL
   CONSIDERATION
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:5

As the Congress continues its oversight of the chemical stockpile and
nonstockpile disposal programs and considers modifications or
alternatives to the current approach, it may wish to include
consideration of the suggestions discussed in this report relating to
the creation of alternative technologies, consolidation of stockpile
disposal operations, utilization of stockpile facilities for
nonstockpile items, centralization of nonstockpile destruction, and
standardization of environmental laws and requirements. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:6

DOD provided written comments on a draft of this report and they are
presented in appendix V.  DOD stated that the draft accurately and
fairly characterized the current status of the disposal programs and
generally concurred with the suggestions of the draft report that
changes in existing legal requirements would be necessary to change
the current path of the disposal programs.  DOD also concurred with
GAO's suggestions that should the Congress decide to consider
modifications or alternatives to the current approach, it could
consider the ones to establish a centralized disposal facility for
nonstockpile materiel and to modify existing laws and regulations to
standardize environmental requirements for chemical weapons disposal. 
DOD recommended against consideration of the options to defer
incineration plans, consolidate disposal operations, and to use
stockpile facilities for destroying nonstockpile items. 


INTRODUCTION
============================================================ Chapter 1

For nearly 80 years, the United States produced and stored chemical
weapons to deter other countries from using them against U.S. 
military personnel.  In 1985, the Congress directed the Department of
Defense (DOD) to destroy the U.S.  stockpile of chemical munitions
and establish a management organization within the Army to be
responsible for the disposal programs.  In 1992, the Congress
directed the Army to plan for the disposal of chemical warfare
materiel not included in the stockpile.  The Army has spent nearly
$3.2 billion on its efforts and estimates that it will cost $24.4
billion and take nearly 40 years to dispose of the remaining chemical
stockpile weapons and nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel. 
Although the Army is committed to destroying the chemical stockpile
by the legislatively imposed deadline of December 31, 2004, only two
of the nine planned disposal facilities are built and operating, 4
percent of the stockpile and little of the nonstockpile materiel have
been destroyed, and environmental issues continue to delay the
remaining facilities.  Currently, the Army has more than 30,000 tons
of chemical agent stored at 9 sites and an unknown amount potentially
buried at 64 locations in the United States and its territories. 


   THE U.S.  CHEMICAL WARFARE
   MATERIEL
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:1

U.S.  chemical warfare materiel is classified as either chemical
stockpile or nonstockpile materiel.  Since World War I, the United
States has maintained a stockpile of chemical weapons and agents to
deter the use of chemical weapons against its troops.  The stockpile
consists of rockets, bombs, projectiles, spray tanks, and bulk
containers.  Some munitions contain nerve agents, which can disrupt
the nervous system and lead to loss of muscular control and death. 
Others contain a series of mustard agents that blister the skin and
can be lethal in large amounts.  Nonstockpile materiel consists of
all other chemical warfare items, including binary chemical weapons,
miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel, recovered chemical weapons,
former production facilities, and buried chemical warfare materiel. 

Historically, DOD has placed a higher priority on the destruction of
the chemical stockpile because most nonstockpile items did not pose
an immediate hazard to the environment or public health.  Potential
threats to the chemical stockpile include external events such as
earthquakes, airplane crashes, and tornadoes; and internal events
such as spontaneous leakage of chemical agents, accidents during
normal handling and maintenance activities, and self-ignition of
propellant.  Nonstockpile items, such as binary weapons' components,
miscellaneous warfare materiel, and recovered chemical weapons, were
placed in storage and old chemical production facilities were closed
years ago.  Although documentation surveys, interviews, and site
visits have been conducted, much of the information concerning burial
sites remains unknown.  The priority for destroying nonstockpile
materiel has increased because of recent accidental discoveries of
buried materiel, congressional interest, and international efforts to
destroy chemical weapons. 

The Army has spent nearly $3.2 billion on its efforts to destroy its
chemical stockpile weapons and nonstockpile chemical warfare
materiel.  (See
app.  II.) As shown in figure 1.1, more than half of the funds has
been appropriated for operations and maintenance activities, such as
operating salaries and utilities, and systems engineering and program
management.  The balance has funded procurement of equipment,
construction of facilities, and research and development activities. 

   Figure 1.1:  Percent of
   Appropriated Funds by Category
   for Fiscal Years 1988 through
   1996

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

Source:  Based on data from DOD's Selected Acquisition Report dated
December 31, 1995. 


   EVOLUTION OF THE DISPOSAL
   PROCESS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:2

From 1917 through the 1960s, obsolete or unserviceable chemical
warfare agents and munitions were disposed of by open pit burning,
land burial, and ocean dumping.  In 1969, an Army plan to dispose of
chemical agents and munitions at sea raised public concerns about the
safety of transporting chemical weapons from their storage sites to a
port of embarkation and about the potential effects of ocean dumping
on the environment.  In June 1969, the National Academy of Sciences
recommended that ocean dumping be avoided and that public health and
environmental protection be emphasized.  It suggested two
alternatives to ocean disposal:  incineration of mustard agents and
chemical neutralization of nerve agents.  In response, the Army
stopped ocean dumping operations.\1 (See chronology in app.  IV.)


--------------------
\1 The last chemical munitions ocean dump occurred in August 1970. 


      USE OF INCINERATION AND
      CHEMICAL NEUTRALIZATION
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:2.1

During the 1970s, the Army destroyed obsolete chemical weapons
primarily by high-temperature incineration or by chemical
neutralization.  The neutralization process involves altering the
chemical, physical, and toxicological properties of a chemical
warfare agent to render it ineffective for use as intended.  In 1984,
the National Research Council, under the auspices of the National
Academy of Sciences, decided that incineration was the more desirable
disposal method.  It concluded that the neutralization process was
more costly and produced larger quantities of waste than
incineration.  In 1986, the Army submitted to the Congress a plan to
dispose of the chemical stockpile.  Its plan considered the costs and
potential problems associated with three options:  (1) transferring
the entire stockpile to one site for disposal, (2) transferring it to
two regional disposal sites, and (3) operating separate disposal
facilities at each of the storage locations.  In 1988, the Army
formally announced that on-site incineration was its preferred
disposal method.  The Army and many in the Congress rejected
transporting the chemical stockpile weapons to a national or regional
disposal sites because of the increased risk to the public and the
environment from moving the munitions. 


      THE ARMY'S BASELINE
      INCINERATION PROCESS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:2.2

A baseline incineration process uses a reverse-assembly procedure
that drains the chemical agent from the weapons and containers and
takes apart the weapons in the reverse order of assembly.  (See fig. 
1.2.) Once disassembled, the chemical agent and weapon parts are
incinerated in separate furnaces and the gaseous and solid waste is
treated.  Liquid brine resulting from the treatment of exhaust gases
in the pollution abatement system is dried to reduce the volume and
transported to a commercial hazardous waste management facility. 

   Figure 1.2:  The Baseline
   Disassembly and
   High-Temperature Incineration
   Process

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

   Source:  Based on data provided
   by the Army's Program Manager
   for Chemical Demilitarization.

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)


      POTENTIAL ALTERNATIVES TO
      INCINERATION
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:2.3

In November 1991, because of public concern about the safety of
incineration, the Army requested the National Research Council to
evaluate potential technological alternatives to the baseline
incineration process.  In the 1993 National Defense Authorization Act
(P.L.  102-484), the Congress directed the Army to use the National
Research Council's evaluation and report on potential technological
alternatives to incineration.\2 The Congress also directed the Army
to consider safety, environmental protection, and cost-effectiveness
when evaluating alternative technologies.  Consequently, in August
1994, the Army initiated a more aggressive research and development
program, called the Alternative Technologies and Approaches Project,
to investigate, develop, and support testing of two technologies
based on chemical neutralization of chemical agents at the bulk-only
stockpile sites--Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and Newport
Chemical Activity, Indiana.  In addition, three other
technologies--molten metal pyrolysis, high-temperature hydrogenation,
and electrochemical oxidation--have been tested and are undergoing
further development by the commercial firms promoting them.  This
research and development effort is conducted in conjunction with
activities to implement the baseline incineration program. 

In the 1997 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L.  104-201), the
Congress directed DOD to conduct an assessment of alternative
technologies for the disposal of assembled chemical munitions.  The
authorization act also directed the Secretary of Defense to report on
this assessment by December 31, 1997.  Similarly, the 1997 DOD
Appropriations Act (P.L.  104-208) provided $40 million to conduct a
pilot program to identify and demonstrate two or more alternatives to
the baseline incineration process for the disposal of assembled
chemical munitions.  The appropriations act also prohibited DOD from
obligating any funds for constructing disposal facilities at Blue
Grass, Kentucky, and Pueblo, Colorado, until 180 days after the
Secretary reports on the alternatives. 


--------------------
\2 U.S.  Army's Alternative Demilitarization Technology Report for
Congress, Department of the Army (Apr.  11, 1994). 


   MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE OF THE
   DISPOSAL PROGRAMS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:3

The Army was assigned responsibility for the chemical weapons
stockpile in 1981 when DOD designated the Army as its single manager
for ammunition.  In March 1991, DOD directed that the Army be
accountable for the disposal of all chemical warfare material.  The
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Research, Development and
Acquisition), as the executive agent for the chemical disposal
programs, has oversight and policy authority for the destruction of
the chemical stockpile weapons and nonstockpile materiel.  The
Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization is responsible for
implementing the disposal programs and ensuring the maximum
protection to the environment, the public, and personnel. 

Because of increasing disposal costs and schedule slippage, changing
legislative and regulatory requirements, and growing public concern
about incineration, DOD designated the Army's chemical
demilitarization program, consisting of both stockpile and
nonstockpile munitions and materiel, as a major defense acquisition
program in December 1994.  The designation was intended to (1)
stabilize the disposal schedule, (2) control costs, and (3) provide
more discipline and higher levels of program oversight.  As such, the
Army has been required to

  -- develop a program cost and schedule baseline;

  -- prepare quarterly defense acquisition executive summaries, which
     are intended to provide an early warning that the baseline may
     be exceeded; and

  -- submit an annual selected acquisition report to the Congress,
     which includes variances from the program baseline schedule and
     cost. 

Other organizations within and separate from DOD contribute to the
programs.  For example, at formerly used defense sites, the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers has overall responsibility for site
investigations, planning, excavations, and environmental cleanups of
burial sites.  In addition, the Department of Health and Human
Services oversees public health issues, the Department of
Transportation advises DOD on transportation issues, and the
Environmental Protection Agency oversees the environmental aspects of
the programs. 


   INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO
   ELIMINATE CHEMICAL AGENTS AND
   WEAPONS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:4

The 1925 Geneva Protocol established the international norm against
the use of chemical weapons in combat, but did not prohibit the
production or deployment of chemical agents and munitions.  In 1989
and 1990, the United States and Russia entered into two bilateral
agreements that required sharing of data on their respective chemical
stockpiles, provided for visits to confirm the accuracy of the shared
data, and would eliminate chemical weapons production and most of
their chemical weapons. 

In 1993, the United States, Russia, and more than 150 nations signed
the U.N.-sponsored Convention on the Prohibition of the Development,
Production, Stockpiling and the Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their
Destruction, commonly referred to as the Chemical Weapons Convention. 
In October 1996, the 65th nation ratified the Chemical Weapons
Convention, making the convention effective on April 29, 1997.\3
However, as of December 1996, the United States and Russia have not
ratified the convention.  The group of ratifiers includes major
industrial states such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
Japan, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain; and a wide
geographical range of nations such as Algeria, Argentina, Armenia,
Belarus, Brazil, Czech Republic, Georgia, India, Ireland, Latvia,
Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Oman, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic,
South Africa, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uruguay.  Egypt, Iraq,
Jordan, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and other countries, mainly small
island nations, have not yet signed the convention. 

If the U.S.  Senate approves the convention, it could affect
implementation of the disposal programs.\4 Through ratification, the
United States will agree to dispose of its (1) unitary chemical
weapons stockpile, binary chemical weapons, recovered chemical
weapons, and former chemical weapon production facilities by April
29, 2007, and (2) miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel by April
29, 2002.  If a country is unable to maintain the convention's
disposal schedule, the convention's Organization for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons may grant a one-time extension of up to 5 years. 
Under the terms of the convention, chemical warfare materiel buried
before 1977 is exempt from disposal as long as it remains buried. 
Should the United States choose to excavate the sites and remove the
chemical materiel, the provisions of the convention would apply.  On
November 30, 1993, the President submitted the convention to the U.S. 
Senate for its approval.  The Senate held hearings in 1994 and 1996,
but has not approved the convention.  However, the United States is
still committed by public law to destroying its chemical stockpile
and related warfare materiel. 

Once Russia ratifies the convention, it will be committed to
destroying its chemical warfare stockpile by April 29, 2007, with a
5-year extension if needed.  However, Russia does not have an
operational capability to destroy large quantities of chemical
weapons and would need to construct several chemical weapons disposal
facilities to meet the convention's requirement.\5


--------------------
\3 The convention becomes effective 180 days after the 65th nation
ratified the convention. 

\4 Under the U.S.  Constitution, treaties must be approved by a
two-thirds majority of the Senate. 

\5 Weapons of Mass Destruction:  Status of Cooperative Threat
Reduction Program (GAO/NSIAD-96-222, Sept.  27, 1996). 


   OUR PRIOR CONCERNS WITH THE
   ARMY'S DISPOSAL PROGRAMS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 1:5

Since 1990, we have issued a number of reports that focused on
interrelated issues involving cost and schedule estimates,
performance, environmental compliance, stability of chemical weapons,
and alternative disposal technologies.  (See Related GAO Products.)
For example: 

  -- Chemical Weapons Disposal:  Issues Related to DOD's Management
     (GAO/T-NSIAD-95-185, July 13, 1995).  We reported that there was
     a possibility of further cost growth and schedule slippage for
     the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program. 

  -- Chemical Weapons:  Stability of the U.S.  Stockpile
     (GAO/NSIAD-95-67, Dec.  22, 1994).  We reported that the Army
     lacked data to conclusively predict the stability of stockpiled
     chemical weapons. 

  -- Chemical Weapons Disposal:  Plans for Nonstockpile Chemical
     Warfare Materiel Can Be Improved (GAO/NSIAD-95-55, Dec.  20,
     1994).  We reported that the Army's plans for disposing of
     nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel were not final and, as a
     result, its cost estimate was likely to change. 

  -- Chemical Weapons Destruction:  Advantages and Disadvantages of
     Alternatives to Incineration (GAO/NSIAD-94-123, Mar.  18, 1994). 
     We reported that alternative disposal technologies identified as
     most likely to be feasible for the chemical stockpile program
     were in the initial stages of development and over a decade away
     from operation. 

  -- Chemical Weapons:  Stockpile Destruction Cost Growth and
     Schedule Slippages Are Likely to Continue (GAO/NSIAD-92-18, Nov. 
     20, 1991).  We reported that continued problems in the chemical
     stockpile program indicated that increased costs and additional
     time to destroy the chemical stockpile should be expected.  We
     recommended that the Army determine whether faster and less
     costly technologies were available to destroy the chemical
     stockpile. 

Our objectives, scope, and methodology are described in appendix I. 


THE CHEMICAL STOCKPILE DISPOSAL
PROGRAM WILL REQUIRE MORE TIME AND
FUNDS THAN CURRENTLY PLANNED
============================================================ Chapter 2

In 1985, the Congress directed the Army to destroy the U.S. 
stockpile of chemical agents and munitions.  To comply with
congressional direction, the Army established the Chemical Stockpile
Disposal Program and developed a plan to incinerate the agents and
munitions on site in specially designed facilities.  The Army has
spent $2.6 billion and estimates that the stockpile program could
cost another $9.8 billion and take until December 2004 to complete. 
However, the program will likely cost more than estimated and
continue past the estimated completion date.  This is because
reaching agreement on site specific disposal methods has consistently
taken longer than the Army anticipated.  Furthermore, recent
congressional direction in the 1997 Authorization and Appropriations
Acts to research and develop alternative technologies to destroy
assembled chemical munitions indicates that there is continued public
concerns about the incineration disposal method.  Recognizing the
difficulty of satisfactorily resolving the public concerns associated
with each individual disposal location, suggestions have been made to
change the program's basic approach to destruction.  These have
included developing an acceptable alternative disposal technology to
incineration and consolidating disposal operations at a national or
regional sites.  Although many suggestions offer some benefit, no one
change is likely to materially reduce costs, shorten the disposal
schedule, and increase public acceptance.  They also generate other
obstacles and issues that need to be resolved to make them viable. 


   THE ARMY'S CHEMICAL STOCKPILE
   DISPOSAL PROGRAM
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:1

In the DOD Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1986 (P.L.  99-145), the
Congress mandated that the Army destroy the U.S.  stockpile of
obsolete chemical agents and munitions, which are stored at eight
sites in the continental United States and on Johnston Atoll in the
Pacific Ocean.  (See fig.  2.1.) As of December 15, 1995, the
stockpile consisted of 3.3 million items.\1

The objectives of the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program are to (1)
destroy the stockpile of unitary chemical weapons and (2) provide for
the maximum protection of the environment, the public, and personnel
involved in the storage, handling, and disposal of the stockpile. 

   Figure 2.1:  The U.S. 
   Stockpile of Chemical Agents
   and Munitions

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

Note:  As of December 15, 1995. 

Source:  DOD. 

There are several key dates that congressional and defense
decisionmakers will consider as they determine future funding and
program direction for the stockpile program.  (See fig.  2.2.) For
example, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993
(P.L.  102-484) directed the Army to destroy the stockpile by
December 31, 2004.  If the United States ratifies the Chemical
Weapons Convention, the United States will agree to dispose of its
unitary chemical weapons stockpile by April 29, 2007, and the
convention's signatories may grant a one-time extension of up to 5
years.  In addition, on the basis of its stockpile assessment and
monitoring activities, the Army estimates that the stockpile will be
reasonably stable through 2013.  However, according to Army
officials, most of the risk to chemical munitions in storage result
from external events such as earthquakes, airplane crashes, lightning
strikes, and tornadoes. 

   Figure 2.2:  Key Dates for the
   Chemical Stockpile Disposal
   Program After January 2004

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

Source:  Based on data provided by the Army's Program Manager for
Chemical Demilitarization. 

The Army has taken encouraging steps, some in response to our
recommendations, to improve its management and oversight of the
Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program.  In December 1994, DOD
designated the Army's chemical demilitarization program, consisting
of both stockpile and nonstockpile munitions and materiel, as a major
defense acquisition program.  The objectives of the designation were
to stabilize the disposal schedules, control costs, and provide more
discipline and higher levels of program oversight.  In addition, in
response to the National Research Council's and our recommendations,
the Army initiated the Enhanced Stockpile Surveillance Program in
1995 to improve its monitoring and inspection of chemical munitions. 

The Army has also expanded its public outreach activities to promote
dialogue between the Army and the public.  For example, the Army has
established storefront information offices near some of the storage
sites, developed public outreach pamphlets and information videos,
distributed information to public libraries and locations, provided
toll-free telephone numbers, and conducted town meetings.  However,
the National Research Council recently recommended that the Army
increase substantially and institutionalize public involvement
throughout the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program.\2 The Council
reported that the credibility of the Army was low and that the
treatment of public concerns had been inadequate.  It concluded that
the Army's public relations and outreach efforts to educate the
public about chemical stockpile activities by themselves will not be
enough to facilitate the safe and timely disposal of the stockpile. 
The Council recommended that the Army expand its public affairs
program to ensure public involvement in the program, giving the
affected communities a participatory role and a sense of ownership in
the program's decision-making process.  According to the National
Research Council, the Army has successfully involved the state and
the public in its alternative technology project for the two
bulk-only stockpile sites, demonstrating the importance of public
involvement to the progress of the program. 


--------------------
\1 The chemical weapons stockpile information was declassified on
January 9, 1996. 

\2 Public Involvement and the Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal
Program, National Research Council (Oct.  25, 1996). 


   PROGRAM DELAYS PAST 2004 ARE
   LIKELY
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:2

Although the Army is committed to destroying the stockpile by the
legislatively imposed deadline of December 31, 2004, its ability to
meet that date is questionable.  The program cost and schedule are
largely driven by the degree to which states and local communities
are in agreement with the proposed disposal method.  Historically,
reaching agreement has consistently taken longer than the Army
anticipated.  Since the Army began planning the destruction of the
chemical weapon stockpile in 1985, it has destroyed 4 percent of the
stockpile, built and operated two of nine proposed facilities, and
the program has been extended more than 10 years--from September 1994
to December 2004.  The Army plans to phase in the construction,
systemization, and operation of the remaining seven disposal
facilities over the next 8 years.  However, environmental permits for
the remaining facilities have already slipped by 3 years or more
since April 1992.  At the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility,
obtaining Utah's approval to operate the facility took 17 months
longer than the Army estimated it would in 1992. 


      OBTAINING ENVIRONMENTAL
      PERMITS WILL REQUIRE MORE
      TIME THAN THE ARMY HAS
      ALLOWED
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:2.1

Before constructing or operating a chemical weapon destruction
facility, the Army must obtain permits to comply with federal, state,
and local environmental laws and regulations.  The Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act, as amended, regulates the storage,
treatment, and disposal of most chemical weapons and materiel. 
(Environmental laws are summarized in app.  III.) The Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act controls hazardous waste through a
permit process that requires government approval for individuals who
generate, transport, store, or dispose of hazardous waste.  Under the
act, the Environmental Protection Agency may authorize individual
states to administer and enforce hazardous waste programs that are as
least as stringent as the federal program.  The act also allows
states to establish requirements more stringent than federal
standards.  The Clean Air Act, as amended, governs potential sources
of air pollutants and establishes emission standards.  The Army must
obtain permits for air pollution control prior to operating a
chemical stockpile disposal facility. 

According to the Army's 1994 risk assessment, there was a high
possibility states would use their authority under these laws to
delay or prevent the construction of incinerators in their states.\3
For example, states can place restrictions on hazardous waste
generators as well as the disposal of the hazardous waste generated
by the chemical agent incinerators, or prohibit disposal of the waste
within their jurisdictions.  States may also simply delay the permit
review process for an inordinate amount of time.  These actions could
increase the Army's costs, cause it significant administrative
difficulties, or delay operations.  To illustrate, before it will
issue a permit for a chemical stockpile disposal facility, Kentucky
requires that information showing that no alternative disposal
method, including, but not limited to, neutralization and
transportation, exists or could be developed.  Maryland and Indiana
have also passed laws or adopted regulations specific to the disposal
of chemical agents within their jurisdictions. 

Although the Army's 1994 risk assessment acknowledges the potential
for delays due to environmental regulations, its program schedule
provides little leeway for dealing with potential problems at the
remaining stockpile sites.  For example, the Army's 1996 schedule
only allows for slippage ranging from 1 to 6 months for delays in the
permitting process, construction, systemization, and operation of the
proposed facilities at Anniston, Pine Bluff, and Umatilla.\4 The
schedule for the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility shows that
to destroy all of the chemical munitions at Anniston by the end of
December 2004, Alabama would have to issue its permit to start
construction no later than October 1996.  Army officials now estimate
that the permit will be issued by March 31, 1997, approximately 6
months later than scheduled.  (See table 2.1.) Alabama regulatory
officials expect the permit to be issued in June or July 1997--a
slippage of approximately 8 months.  Unless the Army can shorten
construction, systemization, or destruction time frames, disposal
operations at Anniston would extent to mid-2005. 



                               Table 2.1
                
                 Slippage in the Army's Estimated Dates
                    for Construction Permits at the
                     Remaining Seven Disposal Sites

                      Estimated date of permit to start construction
                    --------------------------------------------------
                    February 1996       August 1996
Site                schedule\a          schedule\b          Slippage
------------------  ------------------  ------------------  ----------
Aberdeen Proving    Before January 1,   November 12, 1998   None
Ground\c            1999

Anniston Army       Before October 1,   March 31, 1997      6 months
Depot               1996

Blue Grass Army     Before January 1,   September 20, 1998  None
Depot\d             1998

Newport Chemical    Before January 1,   August 18, 1999     None
Activity\c          2000

Pine Bluff Arsenal  Before October 1,   June 24, 1997       9 months
                    1996

Pueblo Depot        Before April 1,     February 4, 1998    10 months
Activity\d          1997

Umatilla Depot      Before October 1,   January 30, 1997    4 months
Activity            1996
----------------------------------------------------------------------
\a Based on DOD's interim status assessment for the chemical
demilitarization program dated April 15, 1996. 

\b Based on data provided by the Program Manager for Chemical
Demilitarization dated September 27, 1996. 

\c Schedules are subject to change pending alternative technology
decision for the bulk-only stockpile sites. 

\d Schedules are on hold as the result of the 1997 DOD Appropriations
Act requirement to research alternative technologies. 

The February 1996 schedule for the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal
Facility shows construction starting by the end of fiscal year 1996
and provides a 6-month leeway to complete disposal operations by the
end of 2004.  Based on the Army's current schedule for the
environmental permits, the start of construction in 1996 is no longer
possible because the schedule shows an issuance date of June 24,
1997--a slippage of 9 months.  This delay eliminated the 6-month
leeway and operations now are likely to continue past December 2004. 
The disposal schedule for the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal
Facility provides a leeway of 4 months.  The Army had expected Oregon
to issue the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Clean Air Act
permits for the facility by the end of September 1996.  However, Army
officials had estimated that the permits would have been issued by
January 30, 1997, approximately 4 months later than scheduled.  This
delay eliminated the grace period for starting disposal operations at
Umatilla. 

According to Army officials, implementation of the health risk
assessment requirement has added another layer of uncertainty to the
schedule.  They said that the original scope of the health risk
assessment to operate the disposal facilities was not completely
defined, the health assessment requirements have changed, and the
requirements currently vary from state to state.  According to DOD
officials, states have modified the requirements of their health risk
assessments well into the process, delaying the development of the
final assessment document.  According to Environmental Protection
Agency officials, the agency has issued several guidance documents
concerning the health risk assessments over the last 5 years and has
tried to keep the Army informed of the changes and updates in the
guidance.  In addition, the agency has advised the Army to meet with
state officials early in the process to agree on the methodology and
standards to use in the development of the risk assessment. 


--------------------
\3 Programmatic Risk Assessment Final Report, U.S.  Chemical Materiel
Destruction Agency (Sept.  30, 1994). 

\4 Department of Defense's Interim Status Assessment for the Chemical
Demilitarization Program, DOD (Apr.  15, 1996). 


      PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR MORE
      RESEARCH ON ALTERNATIVE
      DISPOSAL TECHNOLOGIES
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:2.2

Congressional direction in the 1997 Authorization and Appropriations
Acts to research and develop alternative technologies to destroy
assembled chemical munitions indicates that there is continued public
concerns about the proposed disposal method.  In the 1997
Authorization Act, the Congress directed DOD to conduct an assessment
of alternative technologies for the disposal of assembled chemical
munitions.  The act also directed the Secretary of Defense to report
on the assessment by December 31, 1997.  Similarly, the 1997
Appropriations Act provided $40 million to conduct a pilot program to
identify and demonstrate two or more alternatives to the baseline
incineration process for the disposal of assembled chemical
munitions.  The act also prohibits DOD from obligating any funds for
constructing disposal facilities at Blue Grass, Kentucky, and Pueblo,
Colorado, until 180 days after the Secretary reports on the
alternatives. 

According to Army officials, the construction and the procurement of
equipment for the disposal facilities at Blue Grass and Pueblo has
been placed on hold because of the 1997 Appropriations Act's
requirement to research alternative technologies.  If the report is
not issued before December 31, 1997, the Army cannot obligate
construction funds for Blue Grass and Pueblo until June 30, 1998. 
This would delay the planned award of the construction contract at
Blue Grass by 6 months and the planned award of the construction
contract at Pueblo by 15 months.  According to these officials, the
Army and the states will continue to work together to process the
environmental permits.  However, a recent Army schedule shows Blue
Grass disposal operations ending in June 2005, 6 months past the
mandated completion date.  Although the prohibition applies only to
Blue Grass and Pueblo, public concerns about incineration may prompt
state regulators at other locations to delay their final decisions to
permit incinerators until the Secretary reports his findings. 


   PROGRAM COSTS WILL LIKELY
   EXCEED
   $12.4 BILLION
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:3

The Army has spent $2.6 billion and estimates that the stockpile
program could cost another $9.8 billion to complete.  Since 1985, the
Army's cost estimate for the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program has
increased seven-fold, from an initial estimate of $1.7 billion to
$12.4 billion.\5 Reasons for the cost increases include (1) program
enhancements to respond to concerns for maximizing the safety of the
public and environment, (2) delays in completing the operational
verification tests at the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal
System, (3) technical problems resulting in lower than expected
disposal rates, (4) additional legislative requirements, and (5)
implementation of the National Research Council's recommendations. 

The Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program will likely cost more than
the estimated $9.8 billion above current expenditures to complete
because of the schedule slippages since February 1996 and the
additional costs to research alternative disposal technologies. 
Schedule delays, such as those previously discussed at Anniston, Blue
Grass, Pine Bluff, Pueblo, and Umatilla, will increase program cost
at these locations.  These delays increase direct costs, including
personnel, storage, emergency preparedness, and program management at
each disposal site.  In addition, the Congress appropriated the Army
$40 million in fiscal year 1997 to conduct a pilot program to
identify and demonstrate two or more alternatives to the baseline
incineration process for the disposal of assembled chemical
munitions.  This appropriation was not included in the Army's cost
estimate. 


--------------------
\5 Approximately $1 billion of the estimated $12.4 billion is
associated with the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness
Program. 


   THE STOCKPILE SHOULD BE STABLE
   THROUGH 2013
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:4

On the basis of its stockpile assessment and monitoring programs, the
Army estimates that the stockpile will be reasonably stable through
2013.  Although continued storage of the M55 rockets is a concern,
the Army will continue to monitor the stockpile until it is destroyed
and has developed a contingency plan to deal with the M55 rockets,
which pose a risk.  According to Army officials, most of the risk to
chemical munitions in storage result from external events such as
earthquakes, airplane crashes, lightning strikes, and tornadoes. 

In December 1994, we reported that the Army's assessment that the
chemical stockpile could be safely stored until the legislatively
imposed deadline of December 31, 2004, was subject to question based
on the nature of the supporting information.\6 The data on which the
Army based its assessment were old and may no longer represent the
chemical weapons in storage.  For example, at that time, field
samples of the M55 rocket propellant had not been taken since 1989. 
Also, the assessment did not include an analysis of leaking
munitions.  Leaks increase the risk of auto-ignition during handling,
which could lead to fires and potential explosions in the stockpile
storage area.  In addition, a contingency plan for disposal of the
rockets was needed because they cannot readily be reconfigured to
remove their propellant.  Propellant is inherently unstable and must
be stabilized to help prevent reactions that could lead to a
spontaneous ignition.  Manufacturers added stabilizing compounds, but
they deteriorate over time. 

Recent Army initiatives to obtain better information to predict the
safe storage life of the stockpile, including the M55 rockets, are
encouraging.  For example, the Army initiated an Enhanced Stockpile
Assessment Program to determine the effects of an agent on a
propellant, identify the most appropriate predictive methodology,
develop sampling plans, and perform periodic assessments.  In 1995,
the Army completed a reassessment of the stability of the M55 rockets
and concluded that the likelihood of propellent ignition through 2013
was negligible.  However, data were obtained from leaker rockets on
Johnston Atoll that were consistent with the theory that exposure to
agent accelerates the degradation of the propellent stabilizer. 
Gaining a better understanding of this chemical process and its
impact on the rockets' stability will be a major thrust of the Army's
stockpile assessment activities in 1997. 


--------------------
\6 Chemical Weapons:  Stability of the U.S.  Stockpile
(GAO/NSIAD-95-67, Dec.  22, 1994). 


   PROGRAM ALTERNATIVES GENERATE
   TRADE-OFFS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:5

The concern about incineration and the cost and progress of the
disposal programs have led to suggestions for alternative
technologies, the transportation of agents and munitions to a
national or regional site, and other measures to improve efficiency
and effectiveness.  Two widely discussed suggestions are (1) changing
the planned disposal technology to something other than incineration
or (2) transporting the weapons to a regional or national site rather
than building local disposal sites.  Although changing the technology
could improve public acceptance and using national and regional sites
could save money, these changes raise other issues that present
trade-offs for decisionmakers.  Thus far, these trade-offs have not
been acceptable to one or more of the parties involved in the
program.  In addition, the Army is developing other measures to
improve program effectiveness and efficiency. 


      ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGIES MAY
      NOT REDUCE COSTS OR SHORTEN
      DISPOSAL OPERATIONS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:5.1

Since 1994, the Army has been researching five technological
alternatives for destroying chemical agents stored in bulk
containers.  The results are promising but, according to the Army,
the alternative technologies are not likely to significantly affect
the program's overall cost or duration.  Additionally, any
alternative, including neutralization, will have its own set of
problems such as hazardous waste disposal and the possibility of
leaks or accidents. 

In August 1994, the Army initiated a research and development project
to investigate, develop, and support testing of two technologies
based on chemical neutralization of chemical agents at the bulk-only
stockpile sites--Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and Newport
Chemical Activity, Indiana.  A neutralization process involves
altering the chemical, physical, and toxicological properties of a
chemical warfare agent to render it ineffective for use.  In
addition, three other technologies--molten metal pyrolysis,
high-temperature hydrogenation, and electrochemical oxidation--have
been tested and are undergoing further development by the commercial
firms promoting them.  DOD will decide in 1997 whether to construct
pilot facilities to further demonstrate the alternative technologies. 
The Army also will continue laboratory and bench-scale testing of
disposal technologies in support of the program.  This research and
development effort is conducted in conjunction with activities to
implement the baseline incineration program. 


      TRANSPORTATION COULD REDUCE
      COSTS, BUT THERE ARE SOME
      TRADE-OFFS
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:5.2

Concerns about the cost and progress of the Chemical Stockpile
Disposal Program have generated interest about moving chemical
stockpile weapons to a national or regional site to improve the
program's effectiveness and efficiency.  However, the Army is
prohibited from transporting stockpile weapons to any of the eight
storage sites in the continental United States by a general provision
in DOD's annual appropriations act.  This provision prohibits the
Army from using funds to prepare studies on the feasibility of
transporting chemical weapons.  Transportation options offer some
cost benefits, but they also increase the risk to the general public
and are likely to be opposed by most affected states and communities. 

Although transporting chemical weapons has the potential to reduce
construction and procurement costs by as much as $2.6 billion, the
reduction could be offset by shipping and emergency preparedness
costs.  The potential savings come from reducing the number of
disposal facilities that must be built.  According to the Army
estimates, construction and procurement of a disposal facility and
related equipment cost from $243 million for a small facility that
will handle only bulk agent such as Newport, to $471 million for a
large facility that will process all types of explosively configured
munitions such as Umatilla.  The reduction in costs is offset by
increased storage, emergency preparedness, and program management
costs from extending disposal operations at the consolidated sites. 
Using existing disposal rates, a national destruction facility at
Tooele could extend the program to 2017 and add as much as 770 months
of storage, emergency preparedness, and management costs to the
program.  Similarly, regional disposal sites at Anniston and Tooele
could extend the program to 2010 and add as much as 320 months of
storage, emergency preparedness, and management costs. 

In addition, potential savings would be offset by large
transportation costs.  In 1987, an Army transportation panel
recommended that, prior to transporting any agent or munitions, the
Army develop a shipping container that (1) provides redundant
protection against agent release during normal transport, (2)
prevents agent release in most transportation accidents, (3) is
compatible with standard cargo handling and transport equipment, and
(4) has the capability for automated agent and temperature monitoring
within the transport container.  In 1987, the Program Manager for
Chemical Demilitarization estimated that 400 containers would cost
$96.4 million.\7 An Army official who developed the on-site
transportation containers estimated that the containers would cost
significantly more and could cost as much as $2 million for each
container.  In addition, the Army's transportation concept plan found
that using the rail system would require 70 to 75 rail shipments to a
national disposal site, each consisting of a convoy of 136 railcars. 
Shipping by truck to a national disposal site would require 820
convoys, and airlifting would require several thousand sorties using
C-141 aircraft.  According to an Army study, transporting the Blue
Grass stockpile would take 1,200 to 1,500 flights.  Further,
airfields capable of handling large aircraft would have to be
constructed.  Costs for these transportation alternatives have not
been estimated.  However, we reported that moving more than 100,000
U.S.  chemical-filled munitions from West Germany to Johnston Atoll
in 1990 cost $61.6 million, including $13.6 million for shipping
containers.\8 The Army shipped the munitions in sealed steel boxes
called secondary steel containers, which were loaded into shipping
containers. 

Another significant cost element could be emergency preparedness
along the transportation corridor.  Proposed rail routes to a
national destruction center total approximately 13,000 miles and pass
through 20 states.  Rail routes to regional destruction sites total
approximately 7,100 miles and pass through 16 states.  In its
response to the Army's 1987 Final Programmatic Environmental Impact
Statement, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that
the difficulties in preparing adequate contingency plans for a
transportation alternative are staggering and that resources to cope
with a worst case scenario in a consistent manner could never be
mobilized.  The Department reported that while it might be possible
to provide hospitals near the eight existing storage sites with
enough respirator equipment to support a number of casualties, it
would be difficult to supply all communities along a transportation
route.  Few communities along the transportation routes would have
the necessary equipment available to them without federal assistance. 

Any movement of chemical weapons or material could be opposed by
federal agencies and the affected states and localities.  Before the
Army can transport a chemical weapon, it must (1) coordinate efforts
with the Department of Health and Human Services and must adopt any
precautionary measures that it recommends, (2) meet all regulations
imposed by the Department of Transportation, and (3) obtain permits
from the receiving state and potentially from each state traveled
through.  Although the departments of Health and Human Services or
Transportation have not formally opposed transportation, both have
expressed strong reservations about transportation alternatives.  In
1988, 13 states provided written comments on the Army's Final
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.  Twelve of the states
opposed transporting the chemical weapons, including 7 of the 8
states where chemical weapons are stored, and endorsed an on-site
disposal option.  Only Kentucky wanted the Army to transport its
agents and munitions elsewhere.  Utah has gone on record opposing
receipt of chemical weapons from other states. 


--------------------
\7 Conceptual Design of a Chemical Munitions Transport Packaging
System, Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization (Aug.  1987). 

\8 Chemical Warfare:  DOD's Effort to Remove U.S.  Chemical Weapons
From Germany (GAO/NSIAD-91-105, Feb.  13, 1991). 


      THE ARMY'S COST-REDUCTION
      INITIATIVES
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 2:5.3

Environmental permitting is the most likely area to affect the
disposal schedule for the stockpile program.  According to its 1994
risk assessment, the Army concluded that high-level involvement,
possibly from the Congress or the White House, was needed in the
environmental permitting process to overcome opposition from state
regulators.  In 1996, DOD assembled an environmental management team
comprised of federal and state officials to track new and revised
environmental requirements to maintain the current disposal schedule
and ensure compliance.  In addition, the Army is reviewing whether
the number of trial burns and time necessary to gain state approval
to initiate disposal operations can be reduced. 

The Army is also reviewing the stockpile program's contracting
structure, disposal operations, and incineration process to identify
potential cost-reduction initiatives.  As a result, Army officials
have already identified some cost-reduction initiatives, which are in
various stages of assessment, that could potentially reduce program
costs by $673 million.  (See table 2.2.) They also plan to identify
additional cost reductions as the program progresses. 



                               Table 2.2
                
                   The Army's Initial Cost-Reduction
                     Initiatives as of August 1996

                         (Dollars in millions)

                                                             Estimated
Category                                    Confidence\a       savings
------------------------------------------  --------------  ----------
Reduction in consumables                    High                   $50
Engineering improvements in the pollution   High                    55
 abatement filter system
Removal of the pollution abatement filter   High                    95
 system at Tooele
Removal of the pollution abatement filter   Medium to high          85
 system at Aberdeen and Newport
Elimination of the dunnage furnaces         Medium                  10
Elimination of the pollution abatement      Low to medium          145
 filter system at Anniston and Umatilla
Improved disposal rates for projectiles     Medium                 160
Elimination of the pollution abatement      Low to medium           73
 filter system at Pine Bluff
======================================================================
Total                                                             $673
----------------------------------------------------------------------
\a Indicates the Army's level of confidence that the initiative will
be implemented. 

The Army cannot implement some of the more significant cost-reduction
initiatives without the cooperation and approval of state regulatory
agencies.  Regulatory requirements connect the initiatives to the
National Environmental Policy Act process and the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act and Clean Air Act permitting processes. 
The Army plans to submit its assessment of the initiatives to the
Congress with its fiscal
year 1998 budget request. 


THE NONSTOCKPILE PROGRAM IS LIKELY
TO BE AFFECTED BY ISSUES SIMILAR
TO THOSE IN THE STOCKPILE PROGRAM
============================================================ Chapter 3

Recognizing that the stockpile disposal program did not include all
chemical warfare materiel that requires destruction, the Congress
directed the Army to plan for the disposal of nonstockpile chemical
warfare materiel.  The Army has spent $105.9 million and estimates
that the nonstockpile program could cost another $15.1 billion and
take nearly
40 years to complete.  However, given the factors driving the
nonstockpile program, it is uncertain how long the program will take
or cost.  For example, the program is driven by uncertainties
surrounding buried chemical warfare materiel, environmental
requirements, and disposal methods.  The Army has limited and often
imprecise information about the nature and extent of buried chemical
materiel, which accounts for $14.5 billion (95 percent) of the
program cost.  Environmental issues similar to those experienced in
the stockpile program are also likely to affect the Army's ability to
obtain the environmental approvals and permits that virtually all
nonstockpile activities require.  In addition, the Army's disposal
concept is not yet fully developed and the Army has not proven that
its proposed process can safely and effectively destroy all
nonstockpile materiel and will be accepted by the affected states and
localities.  The nonstockpile program offers some savings
opportunities; however, these opportunities create obstacles and
issues that would have to be resolved. 


   THE ARMY IS FAR FROM
   ACCOMPLISHING ITS OBJECTIVES
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:1

Although the Army has made some progress in defining the scope of the
program and removing nonstockpile materiel from some locations, more
work is required.  The Army's objectives for the nonstockpile program
are to (1) develop and implement disposal schedules and cost
estimates; (2) determine the magnitude of the nonstockpile chemical
problem in terms of locations, qualities, and types of agents and
materiel; and (3) develop implement transportation and disposal
procedures.  The Army plans to continue to refine the cost and
schedule estimates as the program matures, collect information on the
magnitude of nonstockpile materiel, research disposal technologies,
and develop disposal plans. 

The Army has spent $105.9 million and estimates that it will cost
another $15.1 billion to dispose of its nonstockpile materiel.  The
Army's cost estimate is considered a "rough order of magnitude"
estimate, typically used when a program is not fully developed. 
According to the Army, it will issue a revised cost estimate in 1997. 
To date, nonstockpile materiel has been disposed of on a limited
basis, such as the emergency disposal of dangerous items.  (See table
3.1.)



                               Table 3.1
                
                    Summary of Nonstockpile Program
                               Activities

Category        Activity
--------------  ------------------------------------------------------
Binary          Some of the key chemical components have been
chemical        destroyed and advance planning has been completed.
weapons

Miscellaneous   The Army's BZ agent, an incapacitating agent, and bomb
chemical        bursters have been destroyed.
warfare
materiel        Empty ton containers at Rocky Mountain Arsenal,
                Colorado, have been shipped to Rock Island Arsenal,
                Illinois, for smelting.

Recovered       Using isotopic neutron spectroscopy and enhanced X-
chemical        ray systems, the Army has evaluated and inventoried
warfare         recovered chemical materiel.
materiel
                The Army discovered that some previously classified
                recovered chemical materiel did not contain chemical
                agents and transferred them to the appropriate agency
                for use or disposal.

                Some recovered chemical weapons considered dangerous
                were destroyed.

Former          A contract was awarded in 1994 to assess requirements,
chemical        develop technical alternatives, and prepare a
weapons         statement of work for the disposal of the former
production      production facility in Indiana.
facilities
                Rocky Mountain Arsenal facilities are in the process
                of remediation. Lessons learned from this effort form
                the basis for the disposal method and cost estimate
                for the remaining three sites.

Buried          On the basis of documentation surveys, site visits,
chemical        and interviews, the Army has developed a database on
warfare         potential burial sites.
materiel
                In June 1995, the Army contracted for the recovery,
                transportation, storage, and disposal of chemical
                materiel discovered at small burial sites.

                The Army has completed remediation of the Spring
                Valley site, Washington, D.C.; Forts Richardson and
                Wainwright, Alaska; Jackson, Mississippi; and Defense
                Distribution Depot, Ogden, Utah.

                Remediation activities at small burial sites at the
                former Raritan Arsenal, New Jersey, and former Fort
                Segarra, U.S. Virgin Islands, are in process.

                The Army has initiated remediation actions at large
                burial sites at Aberdeen Proving Ground and Rocky
                Mountain Arsenal.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

   RECOVERY AND DISPOSAL OF BURIED
   CHEMICAL WARFARE MATERIEL WILL
   BE PROBLEMATIC
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:2

Although the Army has good information about most nonstockpile
materiel, it has limited and often imprecise information about the
nature and extent of buried items.  The Army estimates that it can
dispose of binary weapons, recovered chemical weapons, former
production facilities, and miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel by
the time frames established by the Chemical Weapons Convention. 
Under the terms of the convention, chemical warfare materiel buried
before 1977 is exempt from disposal as long as it remains buried. 
The Army is still exploring potential sites and has little and often
imprecise information about the type and amount of materiel buried. 
This lack of data can critically affect the successful implementation
of the program, because recovering and disposing of buried materiel
accounts for 95 percent of the program cost. 


      BURIED CHEMICAL WARFARE
      MATERIEL ACCOUNTS FOR
      95 PERCENT OF PROGRAM COST
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:2.1

The Army estimates that the disposal of buried chemical materiel will
cost $14.5 billion and be completed in 2033.  Burial was a common
disposal method for chemical warfare materiel until the late 1950s
and considered to be the final disposal act.  As a result, little
record-keeping was done for burial activities and additional chemical
burial sites are likely to be discovered.  Based on its preliminary
analyses, the Army has identified potential buried chemical warfare
materiel at 64 locations in 31 states and the U.S.  Virgin Islands
that may require further investigation or remediation actions.  (See
fig.  3.1.) Of these locations, 40 are active military installations
and 24 are located on formerly used defense sites, which DOD no
longer controls.  Some locations have multiple sites and include one
or more burial pits, weapon ranges, or chemical test sites. 

   Figure 3.1:  Potential
   Locations With Buried Chemical
   Warfare Materiel

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

   Source:  Based on 1996 data
   provided by the Army's Project
   Manager for Nonstockpile
   Chemical Materiel.

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

Even at well-documented sites, the actual amount, chemical agent,
condition, and type of buried materiel will remain relatively unknown
prior to excavation and visual identification.  For example, in 1995
a chlorine-filled projectile was discovered at Fort Lewis,
Washington, and more than 260 vials of chemical agent were found
buried under the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson.  The Army
moved the vials to Pine Bluff Arsenal, where they remain in storage
waiting disposal. 

In some locations, chemical materiel was expected to be found but was
not.  For example, a 3-day excavation in 1995 at Fort Wainwright,
Alaska, uncovered no buried chemical materiel, despite evidence of a
burial in the area.  The Army's 1993 Survey and Analysis Report
indicated that up to
30 cylinders of mustard agent may have been buried in the area.\1
Subsequent ground-penetrating radar also indicated the potential for
buried materiel.  Upon excavation, the Army discovered the objects
detected by the radar were pockets of groundwater sitting on bedrock. 
The water created an electrical condition that produced the
unexplained reading. 


--------------------
\1 Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Program Survey and Analysis
Report, Program Manager for Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel (Nov. 
1993). 


      OTHER NONSTOCKPILE MATERIEL
      HAS BEEN EASIER TO LOCATE,
      BUT STILL DIFFICULT TO
      DESTROY
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:2.2

Over the years, the Army has located and inventoried nonstockpile
materiel that has not been buried.  Nevertheless, this materiel,
which may include energetics and partially deteriorated weapons, will
still be difficult to destroy.\2


--------------------
\2 Energetics are the explosives and propellants in the munitions. 


         BINARY CHEMICAL WEAPONS
------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 3:2.2.1

The locations and quantities of binary chemical weapons are
well-documented.  Binary chemical weapons are formed from two
nonlethal elements (called precursors) through a chemical reaction
after the munitions are fired.  Binary weapons were manufactured,
stored, and transported with only one of the chemical elements in the
weapon.  The second element was to be loaded into the weapon only at
the battlefield.  As of October 1996, the precursors for the binary
chemical weapons are stored at Aberdeen, Pine Bluff, Tooele, and
Umatilla. 


         MISCELLANEOUS CHEMICAL
         WARFARE MATERIEL
------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 3:2.2.2

The Army has documented the location, configuration, quantity, and
type of miscellaneous chemical warfare materiel to be destroyed.  The
materiel was designed for use in the employment of chemical weapons
and includes unfilled munitions and components, simulant-filled
munitions, dummy rounds, rocket motors, cartridge containers, and
other metal and plastic parts.  Some items contain explosive charges
that may need to be extracted before disposal.  According to the
Army, miscellaneous materiel is stored at Aberdeen, Anniston, Blue
Grass, Pine Bluff, Pueblo, Tooele, Umatilla, and Dugway Proving
Ground. 


         RECOVERED CHEMICAL
         WEAPONS
------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 3:2.2.3

Chemical weapons have been recovered from range-clearing operations,
chemical burial sites, and research and development test areas. 
According to the Army, most recovered items are stored at Aberdeen,
Dugway, Johnston Atoll, Pine Bluff, Tooele, and Rocky Mountain
Arsenal.  The Army believes that handling and disposing of recovered
chemical weapons will be difficult because they are more likely to
have deteriorated than other nonstockpile materiel and the identity
of the agent is unknown in some of the items. 

According to the Army, the most immediate concern of the nonstockpile
program is the treatment and disposal of Chemical Agent
Identification Sets because of the relative frequency of their
recovery and tendency to be found by the general public.  The sets
consist of chemicals contained in glass ampoules, vials, and bottles
that are packed in metal shipping containers and wooden boxes.\3 In
the late 1930s, approximately 110,000 of the sets were produced in
various configurations to train soldiers and sailors how to identify
chemical warfare agents.  Thousands of the sets are not accounted for
and, in some cases, only the glass vials or bottles filled with
chemicals have been recovered.  A small quantity of sets are stored
at Camp Bullis, Texas; Fort Richardson, Alaska; Johnston Atoll,
Pacific Ocean; Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; and Tooele Army Depot,
Utah. 


--------------------
\3 The sets contain sulfur mustard agent, nitrogen mustard agent,
lewisite, phosgene, cyanogen chloride, chloroform, chloropicrin,
solid chloroacetophenone, solid triphosgene, solid adamsite, and
other chemicals. 


         FORMER CHEMICAL WEAPON
         PRODUCTION FACILITIES
------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 3:2.2.4

Chemical agent and weapons were produced in various government
facilities prior to 1968.  These facilities are located at Aberdeen,
Pine Bluff, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, and Newport Army Ammunition
Plant, Indiana, and are in various degrees of deterioration.  DOD is
reviewing former production facilities at Swannanoa, North Carolina,
and Van Nuys, California, to determine whether they require
remediation actions. 


   ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND
   REQUIREMENTS GOVERN MOST
   NONSTOCKPILE ACTIVITIES
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:3

The Army has limited experience destroying nonstockpile materiel and
is unfamiliar with what types of environmental problems to expect. 
Prior to recovering, storing, moving, or destroying nonstockpile
chemical warfare materiel, the Army must comply with state
environmental laws and regulations.  These laws and regulations may
impose time frames for certain efforts that, in turn, drive other
nonstockpile activities and related costs.  For example, if an
operating permit is delayed for one of the nonstockpile disposal
systems because of an unanticipated requirement, virtually all
disposal activities at the remediation site must stop until the
permit is issued. 

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act controls hazardous waste
through a permit process that requires government approval for
individuals who generate, transport, store, or dispose of hazardous
waste.  Under the act, the Environmental Protection Agency may
authorize individual states to administer and enforce hazardous waste
programs that are as least as stringent as the federal program. 
Although based on the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's
requirements, individual state hazardous waste laws and requirements
differ and are occasionally changed.  According to the Army, changes
in the states' laws and requirements may affect the nonstockpile
disposal program because they are likely to apply to most aspects of
the program on military installations.  According to the Army, state
regulatory agencies could add unanticipated requirements to the
permitting process, including extra demonstrations or tests prior to
the start of disposal operations.  Depending on the time involved,
disposal activities at follow-on sites could be stalled or suspended,
resulting in additional costs.  The Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act requires (1) site-specific operating permits for the
Rapid Response System and munitions management devices; (2) specific
disposal standards for the hazardous waste generated by the program;
and (3) precise permitting, record-keeping, and reporting
requirements. 

Similarly, changes in the Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act requirements may affect the
nonstockpile program.  The act provides overall cleanup procedures
for some nonstockpile sites and incorporates the standards of other
federal and state statutes if they are applicable or relevant and
appropriate to the cleanup process.  A specific sequence of
activities, guaranteeing the participation of federal and state
agencies and the public in key decisions, must be followed before a
nonstockpile site can be cleaned up.  The act requires (1) completion
of remedial investigation and feasibility studies for most formerly
used defense sites such as the former Raritan Arsenal, New Jersey;
(2) site-specific closure standards; and (3) emergency response
actions, such as those taken in response to the Spring Valley site in
Washington, D.C. 

The Hazardous Materials Transportation Act governs the transportation
of most nonstockpile chemical materiel and limits the movement of
materiel without special permits, licenses, and authorizations.  The
act delegates regulatory and enforcement responsibilities to the
states but limits some state regulations.  Nevertheless, states may
still implement routing restrictions, transportation curfews,
notification deadlines, and public right-to-know requirements.  The
act requires specialized packaging for transporting nonstockpile
materiel and the treatment residues, and limits commercial
transportation of selected nonstockpile chemical materiel or
neutralized chemical agent.  The Army anticipates that every state
nonstockpile materiel travels through will have some jurisdiction
over part of the move. 


   THE ARMY'S MOBILE DISPOSAL
   SYSTEMS ARE NOT FULLY DEVELOPED
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:4

The Army's disposal concept is based on mobile systems capable of
moving from location to location where the munitions are
characterized and the agent is detoxified, the waste is sent to a
commercial hazardous waste facility, and the system and equipment are
detoxified before the next move.  The Army is developing mobile
systems to characterize and destroy Chemical Agent Identification
Sets, recovered chemical weapons, and bulk chemical warfare materiel. 
(See table 3.2.) Although Army officials are confident that the
proposed mobile remediation systems will function as planned, the
Army needs more time to prove that the systems will safely and
effectively destroy all nonstockpile materiel and be accepted by the
state regulatory agencies and the public. 



                               Table 3.2
                
                  Summary of the Nonstockpile Disposal
                Systems and Estimated Operational Dates

System          Description                               Status
--------------  ----------------------------------------  ------------
Portable        A portable, gamma ray system used for     Operational
Isotopic        noninvasive characterization of
Neutron         elemental components of chemical agents
Spectroscopy    in recovered chemical warfare materiel.

Raman           A portable device used to identify        Operational
Spectrophotome  chemical agents inside glass containers
ter             found in Chemical Agent Identification
                Sets.

Chemical Agent  A fixed system at Aberdeen Proving        Operational
Transfer        Ground that transfers chemical agents
System          from recovered nonexplosive-configured
                materiel to storage containers and
                performs other chemical operations.

Rapid Response  A portable system designed to process     Operational
System          small amounts of chemical agents and      in fiscal
                materiel contained in Chemical Agent      year 1998
                Identification Sets.

Munitions       A portable system designed to detoxify    Operational
Management      most nonexplosive-configured chemical     in fiscal
Device-1        warfare materiel.                         year 1998

Munitions       A portable system designed to detoxify    Operational
Management      most explosive-configured chemical        in fiscal
Device-2        warfare materiel. The system will be      year 1999
                designed to fully contain any potential
                explosion resulting from operations.

Munitions       A portable system designed to detoxify    Operational
Management      nonexplosive-configured bulk chemical     in fiscal
Device-3        warfare items larger than a 500-pound     year 1998
                bomb.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
In its 1993 Survey and Analysis Report, the Army concluded that the
technical risk for the nonstockpile program was high because the
disposal systems were not yet completed.  It also reported that if
effective processes or procedures were not discovered, it would have
to fund "a major research and development program." In its 1994 risk
assessment, the Army reported that the lack of technology for on-site
disposal operations could hamper the completion of the nonstockpile
program. 


      ACCELERATED PROGRAM TO
      DEVELOP THE RAPID RESPONSE
      SYSTEM
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:4.1

According to the Army, the most immediate concern of the nonstockpile
program is the treatment of Chemical Agent Identification Sets
because of the relative frequency of their discovery.  As a result,
the Army accelerated the program to develop a system, called the
Rapid Response System, to process and destroy the sets.  When
operational, the two-trailer system will use commercially available
technology.  (See fig.  3.2.) The chemical detoxification of the
agent, as well as packaging of the waste, will occur inside a
glovebox housed in the operational trailer.  Air circulating through
the glovebox is vented through charcoal filters to entrap agent and
other hazardous chemicals prior to discharge from the trailer.  The
utility trailer houses an electrical generator to use mainly at
remote sites and a refrigerator for use in monitoring activities. 
Once treated with neutralizing chemicals, the residue will be sent to
a commercial hazardous waste facility.  The system will be detoxified
before moving to the next location. 

   Figure 3.2:  Conceptual Drawing
   of the Rapid Response System

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

Source:  The Army's Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization. 

The Rapid Response System has been designed and assembled and is
scheduled to be tested at Tooele Army Depot in mid-1997.  The Army's
slow development of background data for Utah's environmental
permitting process has delayed the start of the system's concept
demonstration by
9 months.  The Rapid Response System is scheduled for its first use
at Fort Richardson, Alaska, in fiscal year 1998.  It is expected to
process 12 to 15 vials of agent each day. 


      PROTOTYPE OF THE MUNITIONS
      MANAGEMENT DEVICES IS
      SCHEDULED FOR OPERATIONAL
      USE IN FISCAL YEAR 1998
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:4.2

The Army is developing mobile munitions management devices to assess,
access, and dispose of most nonstockpile chemical warfare materiel on
site.  According to Army officials, the disposal rates are not yet
established and could be as low as one or two items per day.  The
Munitions Management Device-1 consists of two tractor trailers, one
for processing nonexplosive configured munitions using chemical
neutralization and the other for controlling operations.  (See fig. 
3.3.) Weapons and materiel will be placed in the treatment vessel,
drained of liquid chemical agent, and decontaminated with a
neutralizing solution.  As a precautionary measure, the process
trailer is designed to contain liquid or vapor accidentally released
and is surrounded by a tent-like enclosure to provide an additional
level of safety.  A gas-processing system filters and treats any
chemical vapors in the process trailer and the outside is monitored
for agent.  Neutralized waste is packaged and shipped to a commercial
hazardous waste management facility. 

   Figure 3.3:  Conceptual Drawing
   of the Munitions Management
   Device-1

   (See figure in printed
   edition.)

Source:  The Army's Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization. 

If the Munitions Management Device-1 proves successful, two other
systems will be developed for disposing explosively configured
munitions and bulk munitions and containers.  The Army considers the
Munitions Management Device-2, which will process explosively
configured munitions, to be the most technologically challenging of
the devices.  Its design, fabrication, and testing are scheduled
through mid-1998, with two follow-on units scheduled for delivery in
2000 and ready for operation in 2001.  The Munitions Management
Device-3, scheduled for operations in 1998, will process items larger
than 500-pound bombs and recovered ton containers with chemical
agent.  The Army plans to pack the neutralized chemical waste and
ship it to a commercial hazardous waste facility. 


   OPPORTUNITIES FOR COST AND
   SCHEDULE REDUCTIONS ARE LIMITED
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:5

The Army could potentially reduce costs by using (1) chemical
stockpile disposal facilities for destroying selected nonstockpile
materiel or (2) a centralized disposal facility designed specifically
for destroying nonstockpile materiel.  However, according to Army
officials, these options create legal and political obstacles and
public acceptance issues that would have to be resolved. 


      USE OF STOCKPILE DISPOSAL
      FACILITIES
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:5.1

The DOD Authorization Act of 1986 (P.L.  99-145), and subsequent
legislation, specifies that the chemical stockpile disposal
facilities may not be used for any purpose other than the disposal of
stockpile weapons.  The Army interpreted this legislation to mean
that the stockpile disposal facilities, with the exception of the
Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System, may not be used to
dispose of other DOD materiel, including nonstockpile chemical
materiel.  This interpretation necessitates that the Army, in order
to comply with the act, implement separate disposal operations for
nonstockpile materiel along side of the stockpile facilities. 

In its 1995 implementation plan, the Army suggested that the
stockpile disposal facilities could be used to process some
nonstockpile weapons, depending on the location, the type of chemical
weapon or materiel, and condition.\4 For example: 

  -- The first category of nonstockpile materiel that could be
     destroyed includes items that are (1) already located at the
     disposal site requiring no off-base transportation, (2)
     similarly configured stockpile weapons scheduled to be disposed
     of in the facility, and (3) the same agent type as those
     scheduled to be destroyed in the facility.  An example is the
     nonstockpile ton containers previously filled with mustard agent
     stored at Tooele Army Depot, Utah.  The facility is already
     designed to dispose of stockpile ton containers filled with
     mustard agent.  The containers are exactly the same except that
     the nonstockpile containers were used in prior sampling and
     disposal programs and historically recorded as nonstockpile,
     while the stockpile containers hold production stock. 

  -- A second category of nonstockpile materiel includes items that
     (1) are already located at the disposal site, (2) are similarly
     configured to items scheduled for disposal, and (3) contain a
     different agent type than those scheduled to be destroyed in the
     facility.  An example is the nonstockpile ton containers filled
     with nerve agent stored at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. 
     With some modifications to a stockpile disposal facility
     designed to incinerate mustard-filled ton containers, the
     facility could destroy the containers filled with nerve agent. 

  -- A third, and more difficult, category of nonstockpile materiel
     includes items that are (1) already located at the disposal
     site, (2) configured somewhat differently than the stockpile
     weapons scheduled for disposal, and (3) the same or different
     agent type as those scheduled to be destroyed.  An example is
     the nonstockpile bottles of mustard agent located at Pueblo
     Depot Activity, Colorado.  Pueblo's proposed facility will be
     designed to destroy mustard agent and could easily incinerate
     the bottles.\5 According to Army officials, some nonstockpile
     materiel in this category would probably be easier processed,
     and for less money, by one of the proposed nonstockpile disposal
     systems. 

  -- The last category involves transporting nonstockpile materiel
     from its current storage or burial site to an existing stockpile
     disposal facility.  However, the 1995 National Defense
     Authorization Act
     (P.L.  103-337) allows the transport of only newly discovered
     nonstockpile materiel to the nearest storage site that has the
     necessary environmental permits.  The nearest permitted location
     may not have the appropriate facilities to dispose of the
     materiel. 

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act also has the potential to
limit using the stockpile disposal facilities to destroy nonstockpile
materiel.  State regulators, under the act's comprehensive body of
requirements, can implement disposal limits and controls for the
disposal facilities.  For example, the state of Utah has established
disposal limits for the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility based
on the amounts of chemical weapons and agent stockpiled at Tooele. 
To dispose of nonstockpile materiel, the Army would have to amend the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit to increase the
facility's disposal limits.  The amendment process, controlled by the
state, requires time and money.  In addition, DOD and Army officials
expect that any efforts to increase the use of the stockpile
facilities would likely result in strong state and public opposition
and potential delays in the state environmental permitting process. 


--------------------
\4 Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Program Implementation Plan, U.S. 
Army Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization (Aug.  1995). 

\5 The 1997 DOD Appropriations Act prohibits DOD from obligating any
funds for constructing disposal facilities at Blue Grass, Kentucky,
and Pueblo, Colorado, until 180 days after the Secretary reports on
disposal alternatives. 


      USE OF A CENTRALIZED
      FACILITY DESIGNED
      SPECIFICALLY FOR DESTROYING
      NONSTOCKPILE MATERIEL
-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 3:5.2

Another method for destroying nonstockpile chemical materiel could be
the use of a central disposal facility with equipment designed
specifically for destroying nonstockpile materiel.  The facility
could operate in cooperation with existing government and commercial
facilities--much the way it will be done in European countries. 
According to Army officials, a similar program in the United States
would reduce the costs of the nonstockpile program.  However, the
legislative restrictions on the transportation of nonstockpile
materiel would have to be lifted to make a central disposal facility
a viable option.  In addition, the current process of individual
states establishing their own environmental requirements and
prevalent public attitude that a chemical weapons disposal facility
should not be located in their vicinity would be significant
obstacles that would have to be resolved to make a centralized
disposal facility viable. 


CONCLUSIONS, MATTERS FOR
CONGRESSIONAL CONSIDERATION, AND
AGENCY COMMENTS
============================================================ Chapter 4


   CONCLUSIONS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:1

While there is general agreement about the need to destroy the
chemical stockpile and related nonstockpile materiel, progress has
slowed due to the lack of consensus among DOD and affected states and
localities about the destruction method that should be used.  As a
result, the cost and schedule for the disposal programs are
uncertain.  However, the programs are likely to cost more than the
estimated $24.4 billion above current expenditures and take longer
than currently planned.  The key factors impacting the programs
include public concerns about the safety of incineration, compliance
with environmental laws and regulations, legislative requirements,
and the introduction of alternative disposal technologies. 

The Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program cost and schedule are largely
driven by the degree to which states and local communities are in
agreement with the proposed disposal method.  Historically reaching
agreement has consistently taken longer than the Army anticipated. 
Furthermore, the recent congressional direction in the 1997
Authorization and Appropriations Acts to research and develop
alternative technologies to destroy assembled chemical munitions
indicates that there is continued public concern about the proposed
disposal method.  Until DOD and the affected states and localities
reach agreement on a disposal method for individual sites, the Army
will not be able to predict the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program
cost and schedule with any degree of accuracy.  Moreover, many of the
problems experienced in the stockpile program are also likely to
affect the Army's ability to implement the Nonstockpile Chemical
Materiel Program.  For example, efforts to dispose of nonstockpile
materiel are likely to be driven by the need to obtain state and
local approvals for destruction methods.  In addition, more time is
needed for the Army to prove that its proposed disposal method for
the nonstockpile program will be safe and effective and accepted by
the affected states and localities. 

Recognizing the difficulty of satisfactorily resolving the public
concerns associated with each individual disposal location,
suggestions have been made by Members of the Congress, DOD officials,
and others to change the programs' basic approach to destruction. 
However, the suggestions create tradeoffs for decision makers and
would require changes in existing legal requirements.  These
suggestions have included deferring plans for additional disposal
facilities until an acceptable alternative technology to incineration
is developed, consolidating disposal operations at a national or
regional sites, destroying selected nonstockpile chemical warfare
materiel in stockpile disposal facilities, establishing a centralized
disposal facility for nonstockpile materiel, and modifying existing
laws and regulations to standardize environmental requirements. 


   MATTERS FOR CONGRESSIONAL
   CONSIDERATION
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:2

As the Congress continues its oversight of the chemical stockpile and
nonstockpile disposal programs and considers modifications or
alternatives to the current approach, it may wish to include
consideration of the suggestions discussed in this report relating to
the creation of alternative technologies, consolidation of stockpile
disposal operations, utilization of stockpile facilities for
nonstockpile items, centralization of nonstockpile destruction, and
standardization of environmental laws and requirements. 


   AGENCY COMMENTS
---------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 4:3

DOD provided written comments on a draft of this report and they are
presented in their entirety in appendix V.  DOD stated that the draft
accurately and fairly characterized the current status of the
disposal programs and generally concurred with the suggestions of the
draft report that changes in existing legal requirements would be
necessary to change the current path of the disposal programs. 

While DOD agreed that the Congress could consider options presented
by us, it recommended consideration of the ones to establish a
centralized disposal facility for nonstockpile materiel and to modify
existing laws and regulations to standardize environmental
requirements for chemical weapons disposal.  DOD does not support
consideration of deferring plans for additional stockpile disposal
facilities until an acceptable alternative technology is developed
because such delays result in substantial increases in public risk
from continued storage of the stockpile.  DOD does not recommend
transportation of the stockpile at this time because transportation
of chemical weapons increases the risk to the general public.  In
addition, DOD recommended against using stockpile disposal facilities
to destroy nonstockpile materiel because of the strong public
opposition to both the use of stockpile disposal facilities to treat
any other waste materiel and the transportation of chemical materiel
for disposal in these facilities. 

Our draft report recognized that some options could increase the risk
to the general public and would likely be opposed by some of the
affected states and localities and other interested parties.  We
presented the options in context of their tradeoffs should the
Congress wish to address the key factors affecting the programs'
disposal costs and schedule.  We did not take a position on the
options or current approach given the associated policy and
legislative implications. 


OBJECTIVES, SCOPE, AND METHODOLOGY
=========================================================== Appendix I

Due to continuing congressional and public interest about the
progress and cost of the programs, we prepared this report under our
basic legislative responsibilities to provide an overall assessment
of the (1) programs' cost and schedule, (2) alternatives for
improving program effectiveness and efficiency, and (3) actions the
Army has and is taking to improve the programs.  During our review,
we interviewed and obtained data from officials of the Department of
Defense (DOD), the Army, the Army Chemical and Biological Defense
Agency, the U.S.  Army Nuclear and Chemical Agency, and the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers.  We also met with U.S.  Environmental
Protection Agency officials to discuss and collect data on
environmental and legal issues related to the disposal programs.  We
visited Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; Anniston Army Depot,
Alabama; Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas; Pueblo Depot Activity,
Colorado; Tooele Army Depot, Utah; and Umatilla Depot Activity,
Oregon.  We also visited state and county officials in Alabama,
Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Oregon, and Utah.  We did not include
the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program and overseas
U.S.  chemical warfare material in our review.  We plan to issue a
report later this year on the status and the management of the
Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program in the ten states
participating in the program. 

To assess the programs' cost and schedule, we reviewed the Army's
implementation plans, disposal data, status reports, and data on
environmental and legal issues.  We reviewed the Army's estimation
methodology, potential problems that may affect current cost and
schedule estimates, and the causes of previous schedule slippages and
cost increases.  We analyzed (1) the reasons for the public concerns
about incineration of chemical agents, (2) the Army's efforts to
obtain environmental permits and current issues, (3) obstacles in the
environmental compliance and permitting process, (4) the status of
the environmental permits at each of the disposal sites, and (5)
federal and state environmental laws and regulations that apply to
the disposal programs.  We also obtained federal and state officials'
views on the accuracy of the Army's estimated schedule to determine
how current or proposed state laws or regulations could affect the
disposal programs. 

To assess alternatives for improving program effectiveness and
efficiency, we analyzed the Army's current cost position and
initiatives for reducing costs and shortening the disposal schedules. 
We also examined data on the Army's management approach to
contracting, disposal experience at Johnston Atoll and Tooele, the
baseline incineration process, and approaches for addressing
environmental permitting issues.  To assess technological
alternatives, we analyzed data on disposal technologies, the
advantages and disadvantages of the baseline incineration process,
the advantages and disadvantages of selected alternatives, and public
concerns and issues related to the baseline and alternative
technologies.  We also analyzed plans and methodologies for
developing alternative technologies, costs and schedule data related
to the alternatives, acquisition strategies and responsibilities, and
test and evaluation results.  To assess transportation options, we
analyzed transportation studies and concepts, packaging methods, and
the risk associated with transportation.  We reviewed data on
chemical weapon movements, chemical munitions transport packaging
systems, transportation containers for hazardous material, potential
transportation routes, emergency response plans, and transportation
modes.  In addition, we collected information concerning the public
opposition to transportation of chemical weapons, obstacles in the
environmental compliance and permitting process for transportation
options, and environmental laws and regulations applicable to
transportation. 

To assess the actions the Army has and is taking to improve the
programs, we reviewed DOD's 1994 designation of the Army's chemical
demilitarization program as a major defense acquisition program.  We
documented and analyzed data on lessons learned from disposal
operations at Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System and
Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal System and their effects on the
stockpile and nonstockpile programs.  Lastly, we reviewed the Army's
actions to strengthen its public outreach efforts and improve its
monitoring and inspection of chemical munitions. 

DOD provided written comments on a draft of this report.  These
comments are presented in their entirety in appendix V. 

We performed our review from August 1995 to November 1996 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 


APPROPRIATED, OBLIGATED, AND
DISBURSEMENT DATA FOR FISCAL YEARS
1988 THROUGH 1997
========================================================== Appendix II



                               Table II.1
                
                  Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program

                         (Dollars in millions)

Fiscal year                   Appropriated     Obligated      Expended
----------------------------  ------------  ------------  ------------
1988                                $195.8        $194.3        $192.9
1989                                 168.0         165.5         165.4
1990                                 210.4         208.2         205.9
1991                                 255.0         252.3         251.5
1992                                 331.3         330.1         326.8
1993                                 419.1         417.9         316.0
1994                                 249.1         246.7         234.9
1995                                 486.5         472.2         279.2
1996                                 484.2         346.0         130.5
1997                                 534.7
======================================================================
Total                             $3,334.1      $2,633.2      $2,103.1
----------------------------------------------------------------------


                               Table II.2
                
                Alternative Technologies and Approaches
                                Project

                         (Dollars in millions)

Fiscal year                   Appropriated     Obligated      Expended
----------------------------  ------------  ------------  ------------
1994                                 $22.4         $22.2         $10.2
1995                                   9.4           9.4           6.8
1996                                  22.2          19.6          12.2
1997                                  56.0
======================================================================
Total                               $110.0         $51.2         $29.2
----------------------------------------------------------------------


                               Table II.3
                
                      Chemical Stockpile Emergency
                          Preparedness Project

                         (Dollars in millions)

Fiscal year                   Appropriated     Obligated      Expended
----------------------------  ------------  ------------  ------------
1988                                  $2.5          $2.5          $2.5
1989                                  11.3          11.3          11.1
1990                                  43.8          43.7          43.3
1991                                  37.7          37.6          37.5
1992                                  40.9          40.5          40.0
1993                                  88.2          87.5          62.1
1994                                  71.9          71.6          65.5
1995                                  56.5          56.4          27.6
1996                                  80.0          65.2          27.3
1997                                  82.4
======================================================================
Total                               $515.2        $416.3        $316.9
----------------------------------------------------------------------


                               Table II.4
                
                 Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel Program

                         (Dollars in millions)

Fiscal year                   Appropriated     Obligated      Expended
----------------------------  ------------  ------------  ------------
1992                                  $2.2          $2.2          $2.2
1993                                   6.3           6.3           6.0
1994                                  31.5          31.2          26.4
1995                                  26.0          25.8          18.5
1996                                  69.7          40.4          14.6
1997                                  85.3
======================================================================
Total                               $221.0        $105.9         $67.7
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Source:  The Army's Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization. 


SUMMARY OF MAJOR FEDERAL
ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AFFECTING THE
ARMY'S DISPOSAL PROGRAMS
========================================================= Appendix III

Date  Title                         Provisions
----  ----------------------------  --------------------------------------------
1969  The National Environmental    Requires the Army to develop an
      Policy Act                    environmental impact statement or assessment
      (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)      about the potential environmental effects of
                                    destroying chemical weapons and materiel.

1970  The Clean Air Act, as         Governs potential sources of air pollutants
      amended (42 U.S.C. 7401 et    and establishes emission standards. The Army
      seq.)                         must obtain permits for air pollution
                                    control prior to constructing and operating
                                    any disposal facility.

1972  The Marine Protection,        Restricts ocean dumping of chemical weapons.
      Search, and Sanctuaries Act
      (33 U.S.C. 1411 et seq.)

1974  The Hazardous Materials       Regulates the packaging, marking, loading,
      Transportation Act (49        and transporting of hazardous materials by
      U.S.C. 5101 et seq.)          road or rail.

1976  The Toxic Substances Control  Regulates the disposal of items containing
      Act, as amended (15 U.S.C.    polychlorinated biphenyls and asbestos. The
      2601 et seq.)                 fiberglass matrices of the shipping and
                                    firing tubes for stockpiled M55 rockets
                                    contain polychlorinated biphenyls, and some
                                    former production facilities contain
                                    asbestos.

1976  The Resource Conservation     Regulates the treatment, storage, and
      and Recovery Act, as amended  disposal of hazardous waste. The Army must
      (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.)      obtain state permits prior to constructing
                                    and operating any disposal facility or
                                    system where stockpile and nonstockpile
                                    items are classified as hazardous waste.

1977  The Clean Water Act, as       Governs potential sources of water pollution
      amended                       and specifically prohibits the discharge of
      (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.)      any chemical agent into U.S. navigable
                                    waters.

1980  The Comprehensive             Addresses hazardous substance releases into
      Environmental Response,       the soil, air, surface water, and
      Compensation, and Liability   groundwater and regulates the cleanup of
      Act (42 U.S.C. 9620 et seq.)  these releases. A specific sequence of
                                    activities guaranteeing the participation of
                                    federal and state agencies and the public in
                                    key decisions must be followed before
                                    cleanup of some nonstockpile sites.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHRONOLOGY OF THE U.S.  CHEMICAL
DEMILITARIZATION PROGRAM
========================================================== Appendix IV

Time frame    Activity
------------  ------------------------------------------------------------------
1917-1960s    Obsolete or unserviceable chemical warfare agents and munitions
              were disposed of by open pit burning, land burial, and ocean
              dumping.

1969          The National Academy of Sciences recommended that ocean dumping be
              avoided and that public health and environmental protection be
              emphasized. It suggested two alternatives to ocean disposal:
              chemical neutralization of nerve agents and incineration of
              mustard agents.

1970          The Armed Forces Authorization Act (P.L. 91-441) required a
              Department of Health and Human Services review of any disposal
              plans and detoxification of weapons prior to disposal. It also
              limited the movement of chemical weapons.

1971          The Foreign Military Sales Act prohibited the transportation of
              U.S. chemical weapons from Okinawa, Japan, to the continental
              United States. The weapons were moved to Johnston Atoll in the
              Pacific Ocean.

1971-1973     The Army tested and developed an incineration process and disposed
              of several thousand tons of mustard agent stored in ton containers
              at Rocky Mountain Arsenal.

1973-1976     The Army disposed of nearly 4,200 tons of nerve agent by chemical
              neutralization at Tooele Army Depot and Rocky Mountain Arsenal.
              The process was problematic and not very reproducible, making
              automation difficult.

1979          The Army opened the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System at
              Tooele to test and evaluate disposal equipment and processes for
              chemical agents and munitions on a pilot scale.

1981          The Army decided to build the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent
              Disposal System to dispose of its chemical M55 rocket stockpile.

1981-1986     The Army used the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System to test
              and evaluate incineration of chemical agents and energetic
              materiel, and decontamination of metal parts and ton containers.

1982          An Arthur D. Little Corporation study for the Army concluded that
              using incineration, rather than neutralization, to dispose of the
              stockpile would reduce costs.

1982          The Army declared its stockpile of M55 rockets obsolete.

1983          The Army expanded its chemical disposal program to include the M55
              rocket stockpile at Anniston Army Depot, Umatilla Depot Activity,
              and Blue Grass Depot Activity.

1984          The Army expanded its chemical disposal program to include the M55
              rocket stockpile at Pine Bluff Arsenal and Tooele Army Depot.

1984          The National Research Council endorsed the Army's disassembly and
              high-temperature incineration process for disposing of chemical
              agents and munitions. It also recommended that the Army continue
              to store most of the chemical stockpile, dispose of the M55
              rockets, and analyze alternative methods for disposing of the
              remaining chemical stockpile.

1985          The Army began construction of the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent
              Disposal System.

1985          The DOD Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1986 (P.L. 99-145)
              mandated the destruction of the U.S. stockpile of lethal chemical
              agents and munitions. It also required that the disposal
              facilities be cleaned, dismantled, and disposed of according to
              applicable laws and regulations.

1986          The DOD Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1987 (P.L. 99-500)
              prohibited shipments of chemical weapons, components, or agents to
              the Blue Grass Depot Activity for any purpose.

1987          Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System operations were suspended
              as a result of a low-level nerve agent release.

1988          The Army issued the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact
              Statement for the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program. The Army
              selected on-site disposal of the chemical stockpile because it
              posed fewer potential risks than transportation and off-site
              disposal.

1988          The National Defense Act of Fiscal Year 1989 (P.L. 100-456)
              required the Army to complete operational verification testing at
              Johnston Atoll before beginning to systematize similar disposal
              facilities in the continental United States.

1989          The Army started construction of the chemical demilitarization
              facility at Tooele Army Depot.

1990          The Army completed the successful retrograde of all chemical
              munitions stored in Germany to storage facilities at Johnston
              Atoll.

1990          The Army initiated disposal of M55 rockets at Johnston Atoll.

1990          A very small amount of nerve agent leaked through the common stack
              during maintenance activities at Johnston Atoll. The agent release
              was below allowable stack concentration.

1990-1993     The Army completed four operational verification tests of the
              Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System. During the tests,
              the Army destroyed more than 40,000 munitions containing nerve and
              mustard agents. In August 1993, the Secretary of Defense certified
              to the Congress that the Army had successfully completed the
              operational verification tests at Johnston Atoll.

1991          The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1991 (P.L.
              101-510) restricted the use of funds to transport chemical weapons
              to Johnston Atoll except for U.S. munitions discovered in the
              Pacific, prohibited the Army from studying the movement of
              chemical munitions, and established the emergency preparedness
              program.

1991          The Army moved 109 World War II mustard-filled projectiles from
              the Solomon Islands to Johnston Atoll for storage and disposal.

1991          The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1992 and
              1993 (P.L. 102-190) required the Secretary of Defense to develop a
              chemical weapons stockpile safety contingency plan.

1992          The U.S. Army Chemical Materiel Destruction Agency was established
              to consolidate operational responsibility for the destruction of
              chemical warfare capabilities into one office.

1992          The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 (P.L.
              102-484) directed the Army to establish citizens' commissions for
              states with storage sites, if the state's governor requested one.
              It also required the Army to report on (1) disposal alternatives
              to the baseline incineration method and (2) plans for destroying
              U.S. nonstockpile chemical weapons and materiel identified in the
              Chemical Weapons Convention.

1993          The Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System was shut down
              during operation and verification tests when residue explosive
              material generated during the processing of M60 105mm projectiles
              caught fire, causing damage to a conveyor belt and other equipment
              in the explosive containment room.

1993          The Army completed construction and started systemization of the
              Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility.

1993          The Army issued its report on the physical and chemical integrity
              of the chemical stockpile to the Congress.

1993          A mustard leak from a ton container was discovered at Tooele Army
              Depot.

1993          The Army issued an interim survey and analysis report on the
              Nonstockpile Chemical Materiel Program to the Congress.

1994          Approximately 11.6 milligrams of nerve agent were released into
              the atmosphere at the Johnston Atoll facility during a maintenance
              activity on the liquid incinerator.

1994          The National Research Council issued its recommendations for the
              disposal of chemical agents and munitions to the Army.

1994          The Army issued its alternative demilitarization technology report
              to the Congress. The Army recommended the continuation of the
              chemical demilitarization program without deliberate delay and the
              implementation of a two-technology research and development
              program.

1994          The Army issued its M55 rocket stability report to the Congress.
              The report recommended that an enhanced stockpile assessment
              program be initiated to better characterize the state of the M55
              rocket in the stockpile.

1994          The Army initiated the Alternative Technologies Project to develop
              an alternative disposal technology to the baseline incineration
              process for the bulk-only stockpile locations in Maryland and
              Indiana. This research and development effort is conducted in
              conjunction with activities to implement the baseline program.

1994          The U.S. Army Chemical Materiel Destruction Agency was
              redesignated the U.S. Army Chemical Demilitarization and
              Remediation Activity after a merger with the U.S. Army Chemical
              and Biological Defense Command. In addition, the Army restructured
              and centralized its chemical stockpile emergency preparedness
              program to streamline procedures, enhance responsiveness of
              operations, and improve the budgeting process.

1994          The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development and
              Acquisition became the DOD Executive Agent for the Chemical
              Demilitarization Program, replacing the Assistant Secretary of the
              Army for Installations, Logistics, and Environment. The Chemical
              Demilitarization Program was designated a DOD Acquisition Category
              1D Program.

1995          The Army initiated the Enhanced Stockpile Surveillance Program to
              investigate, develop, and support methods to improve monitoring
              and inspection of chemical munitions.

1995          The U.S. Army Chemical Demilitarization and Remediation Activity
              was renamed the Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization.

1995          The Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System surpassed the 1-
              million pounds target and completed the disposal of all M55
              rockets stored on Johnston Atoll. Disposal rates exceeded
              established goals.

1995          A perimeter monitor located about 100 yards from the
              demilitarization building at Johnston Atoll detected a trace level
              of nerve agent. The source of the leak was identified as a door
              gasket in the air filtration system. Temporary air locks were
              erected and the gasket replaced. No one was harmed from this
              event.

1995          The Army awarded the contract for small burial sites and issued
              its implementation plan for the nonstockpile program.

1995          The Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility completed equipment
              systemization testing.

1995          The Army certified to the Congress that all Browder Amendment
              requirements for the award of the Anniston construction contract
              were met.

1996          The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (P.L.
              104-106) directed DOD to conduct an assessment of the Chemical
              Stockpile Disposal Program and options that could be taken to
              reduce program costs.

1996          The Army completed disposal of all Air Force and Navy bombs stored
              on Johnston Atoll ahead of schedule.

1996          The Army awarded the systems contract for the construction,
              operation, and closure of the proposed Anniston Chemical Agent
              Disposal Facility. Construction of the facility is scheduled to
              began after the state of Alabama issues the environmental permits.

1996          The Army started disposal operations at the Tooele Chemical Agent
              Disposal Facility. Shortly after the start, operations were shut
              down for a week after a small amount of agent was detected in a
              sealed vestibule attached to the air filtration system. No agent
              was released to the environment and no one was harmed.

1996          Several hair line cracks were discovered in the concrete floor of
              the Tooele disposal facility's decontamination area. The cracks
              caused a small amount of decontamination solution to leak to an
              electrical room below. No agent was detected and the cracks were
              sealed.

1996          The 1997 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 104-201)
              directed DOD to conduct an assessment of alternative technologies
              for the disposal of assembled chemical munitions. The act also
              directed the Secretary of Defense to report on this assessment by
              December 31, 1997.

1996          The 1997 DOD Appropriations Act (P.L. 104-208) provided the Army
              $40 million to conduct a pilot program to identify and demonstrate
              two or more alternatives to the baseline incineration process for
              the disposal of assembled chemical munitions. The act also
              prohibited DOD from obligating any funds for constructing disposal
              facilities at Blue Grass and Pueblo until 180 days after the
              Secretary reports on the alternatives.

1996          The Chemical Weapons Convention was ratified by the 65th country
              needed to make the convention effective. As a result, the
              convention will go into effect April 29, 1997. Through
              ratification, the United States will agree to dispose of its (1)
              unitary chemical weapons stockpile, binary chemical weapons,
              recovered chemical weapons, and former chemical weapon production
              facilities by April 29, 2007, and (2) miscellaneous chemical
              warfare materiel by April 29, 2002.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix V
COMMENTS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF
DEFENSE
========================================================== Appendix IV



(See figure in printed edition.)



(See figure in printed edition.)


MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS REPORT
========================================================== Appendix VI


   NATIONAL SECURITY AND
   INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIVISION,
   WASHINGTON, D.C. 
-------------------------------------------------------- Appendix VI:1

Thomas J.  Howard, Assistant Director
Glenn D.  Furbish, Senior Evaluator
Mark A.  Little, Senior Evaluator
Bonita J.  Page, Evaluator



RELATED GAO PRODUCTS
============================================================ Chapter 1

Chemical Weapons Stockpile:  Emergency Preparedness in Alabama Is
Hampered by Management Weaknesses (GAO/NSIAD-96-150, July 23, 1996). 

Chemical Weapons Disposal:  Issues Related to DOD's Management
(GAO/T-NSIAD-95-185, July 13, 1995). 

Chemical Weapons:  Army's Emergency Preparedness Program Has
Financial Management Weaknesses (GAO/NSIAD-95-94, Mar.  15, 1995). 

Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program Review (GAO/NSIAD-95-66R, Jan. 
12, 1995). 

Chemical Weapons:  Stability of the U.S.  Stockpile (GAO/NSIAD-95-67,
Dec.  22, 1994). 

Chemical Weapons Disposal:  Plans for Nonstockpile Chemical Warfare
Materiel Can Be Improved (GAO/NSIAD-95-55, Dec.  20, 1994). 

Chemical Weapons:  Issues Involving Destruction Technologies
(GAO/T-NSIAD-94-159, Apr.  26, 1994). 

Chemical Weapons Destruction:  Advantages and Disadvantages of
Alternatives to Incineration (GAO/NSIAD-94-123, Mar.  18, 1994). 

Arms Control:  Status of U.S.-Russian Agreements and the Chemical
Weapons Convention (GAO/NSIAD-94-136, Mar.  15, 1994). 

Chemical Weapon Stockpile:  Army's Emergency Preparedness Program Has
Been Slow to Achieve Results (GAO/NSIAD-94-91, Feb.  22, 1994). 

Chemical Weapons Storage:  Communities Are Not Prepared to Respond to
Emergencies (GAO/T-NSIAD-93-18, July 16, 1993). 

Chemical Weapons Destruction:  Issues Affecting Program Cost,
Schedule, and Performance (GAO/NSIAD-93-50, Jan.  21, 1993). 

Chemical Weapons Destruction:  Issues Related to Environmental
Permitting and Testing Experience (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-43, June 16, 1992). 

Chemical Weapons Disposal (GAO/NSIAD-92-219R, May 14, 1992). 

Chemical Weapons:  Stockpile Destruction Cost Growth and Schedule
Slippages Are Likely to Continue (GAO/NSIAD-92-18, Nov.  20, 1991). 

Chemical Warfare:  DOD's Effort to Remove U.S.  Chemical Weapons From
Germany (GAO/NSIAD-91-105, Feb.  13, 1991). 


*** End of document. ***


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