The Army's Program To Assure the Security and Safety of the Chemical Munitions Stockpile Is Comprehensive and Effective

Gao ID: NSIAD-83-6 July 1, 1983

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's programs to securely and safely maintain the toxic chemical munitions and bulk chemical agency stockpile within the United States.

In 1977, the Army established the Chemical Surety Program to ensure that all toxic chemical agents and related munitions in its custody are maintained in a manner that enhances safety, security, and reliability. GAO found that security efforts related to chemical storage appear to comply with regulations except in the areas of training of augmentation reserve forces and perimeter alarm systems. Achieving and maintaining this compliance has cost millions of dollars. Each site provides multiple layers of protection to prevent unauthorized access. None of the storage sites yet have an operational perimeter alarm system; however, planning for such a concept is in progress and authorization is now being sought to accept the procedures currently being used for annual training exercises. Inspection and monitoring ensure that comprehensive and stringent safety procedures are being followed. Should a chemical accident occur, each site has a detailed plan for evacuation of the local area. For the past 5 years the extent of chemical accidents has been minimal, and all accidents were immediately and thoroughly investigated, none led to serious personal injury, and no chemical contamination was released into the atmosphere. Eventually, all chemical munitions will require disposal which is restricted by law and is costly.

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