US Stands By the Chemical Weapons Convention

02.04.20 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

While the Trump Administration has retreated from negotiated arms control agreements in many areas ranging from nuclear weapons to anti-personnel landmines, the US is still committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which generally prohibits the production and use of chemical weapons.

Last week the State Department certified to Congress — as a required condition of continued US participation in the CWC — that the consortium of CWC member countries known as the Australia Group “remains a viable mechanism for limiting the spread of chemical and biological weapons-related materials and technology.”

“Australia Group members continue to maintain controls over the export of toxic chemicals and their precursors, dual-use processing equipment, human, animal, and plant pathogens and toxins with potential biological weapons applications, and dual-use biological equipment…,” wrote Christopher A. Ford, Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-Proliferation.

“The United States remains fully committed to complete destruction of its entire [chemical weapons] stockpile, consistent with the Convention’s imperatives of public safety, environmental protection, and international transparency and oversight,” according to the State Department’s August 2019 report on Arms Control Compliance.

So far, over 90 percent of the total U.S. chemical weapons stockpile has been destroyed, mostly by chemically neutralizing the weapons, but also partly through controlled detonations.

As noted in the latest annual report on the U.S. Chemical Demilitarization Program, there were 19 reported incidents of chemical weapon agents leaking in 2019, though the Army said that no public exposure resulted.

The report said that the Department of Defense “expects to complete destruction operations by December 31, 2023,” which is the deadline set by Congress.

See all publications
Nuclear Weapons
New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship: Creative Perspectives on Rethinking Nuclear Deterrence 

To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.

11.28.23 | 3 min read
read more
Science Policy
Expected Utility Forecasting for Science Funding

Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.

11.20.23 | 11 min read
read more
Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear Notebook: Nuclear Weapons Sharing, 2023

The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]

11.17.23 | 1 min read
read more
Social Innovation
Community School Approach Reaches High of 60%, Reports Latest Pulse Panel

According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.

11.17.23 | 4 min read
read more