The Department of Defense was directed by Congress through Public Law 99-145 to be the government agency responsible for destruction of the chemical weapons stockpile. To comply with treaty agreements and congressional mandate, destruction of these weapons was to be completed by 2007. An additional five-year extension was exercised allowing the program to meet a 2012 deadline.
The program manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) is responsible for the disposal of the chemical weapons stockpile in Colorado and Kentucky, and currently has a treaty compliance deadline of January 2023.
The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville, is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ agent for facility design and facility construction of chemical demilitarization facilities. The U.S. Army Rock Island Contracting Command, Rock Island, Illinois, is the contracting agency.
Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colorado, and Blue Grass Chemical Activity, Kentucky
Public Law 104-208 established the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) program to evaluate and select candidate alternative technologies to incineration. In July 2002, DOD approved neutralization followed by biotreatment “as the selected technology for the Pueblo facility. A systems contract was awarded in September 2002 to Bechtel National Inc. “Neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation” was selected as the technology for the Blue Grass facility. A systems contract was awarded in June 2003 to the Bechtel-Parsons Blue Grass Joint Venture.
In June 2003, the ACWA program formally changed its name to Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) to better reflect its newly expanded role overseeing the full-scale pilot testing of selected neutralization technologies to destroy the chemical weapons stockpiles in Colorado and Kentucky. Construction at both locations was completed by May 2016. Weapons demilitarization operations began at Pueblo in September 2016 and 250 tons destroyed as of Aug. 1, 2019. Additional construction activities, to provide Static Detonation Chamber Systems (SDCs), are in design at Blue Grass and in construction at Pueblo. The SDCs will supplement destruction of agent filled munitions, in parallel with the main plant operations, in order to successfully achieve the January 2023 International Treaty compliance date.
Bio-Threat Reduction Program
Huntsville Center’s Chemical Warfare Design Center recently completed the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in design and construction management oversight of a Central Reference Laboratory, in Almaty, Kazakhstan — a state-of-the-art laboratory facility, similar to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. They will be examining concerns such as Avian Bird Flu, Swine Fever and plague.
The U.S. has an interest through DTRA in regard to extending foreign aid as well as managing severe bio threat outbreaks before they spread to United States interests both local and distant.
Download the Chemical Demilitarization fact sheet (PDF) HERE.