SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10810]
DESTRUCTION OF THE U.S. CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILEPROGRAM STATUS AND ISSUES
TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
OCTOBER 30, 2003
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TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey, Chairman
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
JEFF MILLER, Florida
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
Thomas Hawley, Professional Staff Member
Jean Reed, Professional Staff Member
Uyen Dinh, Professional Staff Member
William Natter, Professional Staff Member
Curtis Flood, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Thursday, October 30, 2003, Destruction of the U.S. Chemical Weapons StockpileProgram Status and Issues
Thursday, October 30, 2003
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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2003
DESTRUCTION OF THE U.S. CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILEPROGRAM STATUS AND ISSUES
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Meehan, Hon. Martin T., a Representative from Massachusetts, Ranking Member, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
Saxton, Hon. Jim, a Representative from New Jersey, Chairman, Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee
Bolton, Hon. Claude, Jr., Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology)
Conklin, Craig, Chief, Nuclear and Chemical Hazards Branch Preparedness Division, Department of Homeland Security
Hinton, Henry, Jr., Managing Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, General Accounting Office
Parker, Michael, Director, U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency
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Wakefield, Patrick, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense (Chemical Demilitarization and Counterproliferation)
Bolton, Hon. Claude, Jr.
Hinton, Henry, Jr.
Saxton, Hon. Jim
Walden, Greg, A Representative from Oregon
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Documents submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The Chemical Demilitarization Program: Increased Costs for Stockpile and Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Disposal Programs (D-2003-128)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
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DESTRUCTION OF THE U.S. CHEMICAL WEAPONS STOCKPILEPROGRAM STATUS AND ISSUES
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Thursday, October 30, 2003.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:03 a.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Jim Saxton (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JIM SAXTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW JERSEY, CHAIRMAN, TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. SAXTON. Good morning.
Today, the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee meets to review the Department of Defense (DOD) program for destruction of the U.S. stockpile of lethal chemical warfare agents and munitions. We are joined in the hearing by several Members of Congress who have chemical stockpile storage sites in their districts and who are interested in the chemical demilitarization program. I want to welcome those gentlemen.
The U.S. chemical weapons stockpile originally consisted of approximately 31,000 tons of lethal chemical agents in a wide variety of munitions, located at Johnston Atoll in the Pacific southwest of Hawaii and eight sites in the continental United States.
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The fiscal year 1986 Defense Authorization Act requires that the destruction of the stockpile be carried out so as to ensure maximum protection of the environment, the general public and the workers at the storage and demilitarization sites. Destruction of the stockpile began at Johnston Atoll in 1990 and is supposed to be completed by April 29, 2007, in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty.
As of September 24, 2003, approximately 8,220 tonsor 26 percentof the stockpile has been destroyed. Our witnesses today will talk about progress in the chemical demilitarization program, but will also talk about issues related to program execution, management, cost and schedule.
As members of congress, we will hear good news and bad news. The good news will the progress being made in the program as new chemical weapons destruction facilities are brought on line, weapons are destroyed and safety of the public and the environment is increased as the stockpile is reduced.
The bad news will be estimates of increased time to complete the destruction program and the increased program costs and implications for commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty that will result.
The total cost of the program has grown from an estimated $1.7 billion in 1986 when the program was initiated at the direction of Congress to an estimated $25 billion today. The estimated time to complete destruction of the stockpile now extends into the next decade.
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A number of key factors have affected the ability of the Department of Defense and the Army to effectively control the cost and schedule of the chemical stockpile destruction program, many of which are not under the control of either organization. The chemical demilitarization program is very large and complex, and is influenced by a number of offices and entities within and outside the Department of Defense, not the least of which has been Congress.
The issue for Congress and the subcommittee today is to gain an understanding of the progress being made in the chemical weapons destruction program, factors affecting the growth of the program schedule and cost and what might be done to accelerate the completion of the program, both from the standpoint of reducing the cost of the program and ensuring the maximum protection of the public, the personnel involved in destruction of the stockpile and the environment.
Our witnesses today include: Mr. Henry L. Hinton, Jr., from the General Accounting Office; Mr. Patrick Wakefield, Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense in the area of chemical demilitarization and counterproliferation; the Honorable Claude M. Bolton, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisitions, Logistics and Technology; Mr. Michael A. Parker, Director of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency; and Mr. Craig Conklin from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
We want to welcome you gentlemen. And we look forward to your testimony.
But before we begin our witnesses, let me turn to our great ranking member, Mr. Meehan, for his opening statement.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Saxton can be viewed in the hard copy.
STATEMENT OF HON. MARTIN T. MEEHAN, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MASSACHUSETTS, RANKING MEMBER, TERRORISM, UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS AND CAPABILITIES SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I am pleased to be here this morning and to welcome our panelists.
From where I sit, there is much to say in praise of the Chem-Demil program. For example, at Johnston Atoll and Tooele, we have successfully demonstrated incineration technology and destroyed more than 26 percent of the chemical stockpile without the loss of even one single human life. Further, through aggressive exploratory research and development efforts, we have promoted and accepted alternative disposal technologies in response to various environmental concerns. Yet, these highlights cannot receive praise without the mention of many of the downsides of the program.
First, while positive in some light, the alternative technologies have inadvertently contributed to the effort's overall cost growth, a definite downside indeed, as the cost projections are now well above $25 billion. Second, the destruction schedule has slipped and is not expected to reach completion until the year 2014, more than a decade beyond initial projections. Third, while it is true that the 26 percent of the stockpile has been destroyed, more than 23,000 tons of material remain, providing perhaps a potentially rich target for terrorists seeking to wreak havoc on American citizens. And fourth, the current schedule fails to comply with the deadlines set forth in the Chemical Weapons Conventions Treaty.
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While I applaud the programmatic highlights and accomplishments, I remain concerned about the setbacks and persistent challenges. While I recognize that the Russians also are not on schedule to comply with the treaty, and while I also understand that much of the cost growth is simply the result of inflation, I feel compelled to mention that politics, indecisive management and a lack of true commitment to funding has led to the current state with which we now find ourselves.
I am frustrated that other DOD priorities have repeatedly won out in the resource game. And I am frustrated that the Army has transferred program management from one office to the next. And I am frustrated with the political opportunism, both within the Pentagon and throughout our nation's communities, and recognize that its fallout has led to one delay after another, as we attempt to erase this residue of the Cold War and eliminate a possible Achilles heel on our domestic security.
Mr. Chairman, I am eager to listen to today's testimony. I hope that many of my concerns can be addressed. And I stand ready to work with the department to advance this effort in a cost-effective, environmentally friendly manner and hope that today's meeting will shed light on opportunities that may be available in this regard.
Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for calling the panel's attention to this important issue. And I yield back my time.
Mr. SAXTON. I thank the ranking member for a very fine statement.
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Mr. Hinton, you will be our first witness. Before you begin, I would like to ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a report by the Department of Defense, Office of Inspector General, entitled, ''The Chemical Demilitarization Program: Increased Costs for Stockpile and Non-Stockpile Chemical Material Disposal Programs;'' actually, report number D2003128, dated September 4, 2003.
The report discusses the factors that continue to affect the cost and schedule of the chemical stockpile program. And copies of the report are available on the inspector general's website.
Hearing no objection, Mr. Hinton, please, the floor is yours, sir.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HENRY HINTON, JR., MANAGING DIRECTOR, DEFENSE CAPABILITIES AND MANAGEMENT, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE
Mr. HINTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Meehan.
I am pleased to be here this morning to testify on DOD's program to destroy the nation's chemical weapons stockpile. My testimony today addresses four issues, mainly from General Accounting Office (GAO) September 2003 report, in which we concluded: ''Sustained leadership, along with key strategic management tools, is needed to guide DOD's destruction program.''
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That report was requested by the chairmen of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. First, the program has had many schedule delays and its costs keep rising.
In 2001, the program extended the destruction schedule and increased the total cost estimate from $15 billion to about $24 billion. Since then, nearly all sites have experienced delays, stemming from problems such as: plant safety issues; compliance with environmental requirements; unresolved emergency preparedness issues; and funding shortfalls.
Program officials say the delays have raised the cost estimate by an additional $1.4 billion to more than $25 billion today. Based on current schedule slippages, GAO believes that further delays will occur and costs will grow even higher. The program management team needs to develop a risk management plan to mitigate the problems affecting the program schedules, cost and safety issues.
Second, because of schedule delays, the United States will not meet the Chemical Weapons Convention's (CWC) deadline of April 2004 to destroy 45 percent of the stockpile. It also risks not meeting the original 2007 deadline to complete destruction of the entire stockpile. Unless the program fixes the problems causing the delays, the United States also risks not meeting the convention's deadline of 2012 if it is extended.
Third, the program has suffered from several longstanding management and organizational issues. The lack of sustained leadership has undercut decisionmaking authority and obscured accountability.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The current program's complex structure, with multiple lines of authority, has left roles and responsibilities unclear. DOD does not have an overarching, comprehensive strategy to guide and integrate its activity and monitor performance, as leading organizations embrace. Without these key elements, Mr. Chairman, DOD and the Army have no assurances of meeting their goal to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile in a safe and timely manner and within cost.
Fourth, some good news. The program has improved emergency preparedness in communities near the destruction sites. The Army and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have helped state and local communities become better prepared to respond to chemical emergencies. However, like the rest of the program, costs of the emergency preparedness in the communities are rising. Some of the states with stockpiles have increased the amounts they are requesting beyond their approved budgets. These requests amount to about $88 million for fiscal years 2004 and 2005.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, GAO recommended in its report that the under secretary for defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, take two actions. One, develop an overall strategy and implementation plan for the program that would: articulate a program mission statement; identify the program's long-term goals and objectives; three, delineate the roles and responsibilities of all DOD and Army offices that are involved; and establish near-term performance measures.
Our second recommendation directed them to implement a risk management approach that anticipates and influences internal and external factors that could adversely impact program performance. DOD concurred with our recommendations and is taking steps to implement them. Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks. I stand ready to address yours and the committee's questions.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Hinton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, sir.
STATEMENT OF PATRICK WAKEFIELD, DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE (CHEMICAL DEMILITARIZATION AND COUNTERPROLIFERATION)
Mr. WAKEFIELD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and distinguished committee members, I wish to thank you for the opportunity to appear before this committee today to discuss the United States Chemical Demilitarization Program. I am Patrick Wakefield, the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Chemical Demilitarization and Threat Reduction.
I am the single focal point within the Office of the Secretary of Defense responsible for the oversight, coordination and integration of the chemical demilitarization program, the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternative Program (ACWA); nuclear, chemical and biological treaties; and the cooperative threat reduction program in the countries that are referred to as the former Soviet Union.
With regard to the chemical demilitarization program mission, my primary goals and objectives are: to ensure that the leadership of the U.S. Chemical Demilitarization Program maintains an enhanced culture of safety within the workplace and to confirm our requirements are clearly communicated to, understood by and acted upon by the contractors and not in conflict with the overall chemical demilitarization weapons program; to increase transparency and openness with the public and the international communities and to work for cooperation from special interest groups in accomplishing our mission; and to meet the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty requirements.
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The mission of the U.S. Chemical Demilitarization Program is to destroy all U.S. chemical warfare-related material, while ensuring maximum protection of the public, personnel involved in the destruction effort and the environment. At first glance, this appears to be a fairly straightforward mission, easily achievable provided reasonable resources and effort.
What I have seen since 1986, when Congress mandated the destruction of our chemical weapons stockpile, is there are many unexpected and substantial challenges that must be overcome while conducting a national-scale chemical weapons destruction program. As the GAO recently highlighted, it is obvious that many of these challenges correspond with program management. The Department has already takenand is in the process of takingadditional steps to rectify program management issues and continue to provide rigorous program oversight.
Recent program changes, today I would like to highlight for you some of the major changes the Department of Defense is implementing with respect to the United States Chemical Demilitarization Program. Earlier this year, the Army consolidated the program manager for chemical demilitarization and its chemical weapons storage mission under the new agency, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, otherwise known as CMA.
The creation of the CMA allows us to streamline our overall efforts with respect to the chemical weapons destruction and will significantly improve our program management in the long term. This will be accomplished by consolidating accountability, simplifying the chain of command, restructuring and combining organizational functions to reduce redundancies and aligning the program under the checks and balances of the acquisition community through the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, with continued oversight by the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
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Additionally, the Department of Defense has now selected destruction technologies for all of our chemical weapons sites. On July 16, 2002, the department selected neutralization followed by bio-treatment as the technology to pilot test the destruction of chemical weapons at the Pueblo, Colorado chemical depot.
On February 3, 2003, the department selected neutralization followed by super critical water oxidation as the technology to pilot test the destruction of chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army depot in Richmond, Kentucky. These chemical weapons destruction sites are currently being managed by the program manager for ACWA as mandated by public law 107248. The GAO recently found that this division of the program management structure, currently bifurcated between the CMA and the program manager for ACWA, is a significant program deficiency. The Department of Defense agrees with the GAO's assertion.
While the department has operated strictly under the tenets of public law requiring the Office of the Secretary of Defense management of the ACWA program, we are looking at further streamlining the management of the chemical demilitarization program through statutory changes. The program manager for ACWA completed his original charter by successfully demonstrating alternatives to the incineration process. And the department now desires his consolidation under CMA. This consolidation would significantly improve the overall management of the chemical demilitarization program by making the executive agent of the program, the Army, responsible for the program in its entirety. We ask for your full support of this proposal. And we can provide you more detailed information upon your request.
Program status, this year, the chemical demilitarization program has entered a critical phase, with the Aberdeen, Maryland and Anniston, Alabama sites operational. Within the next year, we also expect to commence operations at three additional sites: Umatilla, Oregon; Newport, Indiana; and Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Due to unfortunate circumstances, the Army destroyed little chemical agent over the past year-and-a-half. This is a primary cause of why the U.S. had to ask the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in September for an extension to the Chemical Weapons Convention intermediate deadline of 45 percent.
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I am pleased to report that the organization granted our extension request last week. While we are assured of a high degree of confidence that this will occur by December of 2007, we expect to achieve this milestone sooner. We also expect to have to request an extension for the convention's 100 percent destruction deadline in 2006. The convention allows a maximum five year extension of the 100 percent deadline until April of 2012 at the latest.
As the chemical demilitarization program matures over the next few years, the department will be better prepared to determine the specific length of the extension required. Program issues and concerns, within the next several years, our most significant challenge will likely be the result of our success. As we get our chemical weapons destruction sites online, the Army will have to manage simultaneously up to six separate sites, each operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in four separate time zones, destroying multiple agents, with different technologies and different contractors. As you could have surmised, this will be a significant challenge for the Army, though we are confident they will perform this task exceptionally.
Other factors could also present formidable challenges in our chemical weapons destruction program. Although we take every known precaution to prevent them, accidents and safety incidents may occur, sometimes crippling our destruction efforts. We have considerably strengthened our safety program to mitigate any accidents to counter any future risks. We also face continued opposition from special interest groups through litigation. Requirements for the chemical stockpile emergency preparedness program, or CSEPP, continue to grow.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army will continue to validate the states' CSEPP requirements and ensure that they meet the maximum protection criteria codified by U.S. Code 50, Chapter 32, Section 1521. And our environmental permitting and monitoring requirements can influence our program. These regulatory changes introduce improvements which affect baseline costs and schedules, though presently this is a manageable key component of our overall chemical weapons destruction program. Finally, at this critical time, in which many destruction facilities are coming online, effective resource management will be a critical influence over our overall destruction strategy.
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In conclusion, I want to emphasize the department's intention to address the chemical demilitarization program management issues underscores our commitment to strengthening and improving the overall organizational effectiveness. Changes have already begun at the top, with future changes expected to positively impact all aspects and levels of program management. We have many distinctive challenges; however, we are also poised to work each and every issue to bolster our overall efforts in this prominent national security program.
I welcome your comments on all aspects of the program management. I thank you, Mr. Chairman and the committee, for the opportunity to testify today. I look forward to working with you to advance out common goal of the safe and complete destruction of our nation's chemical weapon stockpile.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wakefield can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Wakefield, thank you very much. It is a great statement.
May I just ask, in the interest of time, we will make all of your statements part of the record in their entirety. If you could kind of summarize for us, we would appreciate that.
STATEMENT OF HON. CLAUDE BOLTON, JR., ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE ARMY (ACQUISITION, LOGISTICS AND TECHNOLOGY)
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Secretary BOLTON. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Claude Bolton. And I am grateful to have the opportunity to address this committee.
As the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology and the Army Acquisition Executive, I am responsible to the Acting Secretary of the Army and to the defense acquisition executive for the execution of the chemical demilitarization program. I consider it an honor to serve in this capacity and to lead the program at this critical juncture when operations have just begun or soon will begin at most of the destruction facilities.
Be assured that I am fully committed to successful implementation of the chemical demilitarization program. I am also committed to ensuring that the public, the Congress, the Secretary of the Army and other senior Department of Defense leadership have timely, accurate information about the progress of the program.
This past February, the Secretary of the Army transferred the secretariat-level oversight and overall program responsibilities from the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations and Environment to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, the ASA (ALT).
With that transfer, the former program manager for the Chemical Demilitarization Organization was merged with the former Soldier Biological and Chemical Command Storage and Security Organization into, as was indicated earlier, CMA, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, headed by Mr. Mike Parker, who you will hear from next.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This organization is jointly overseen by myself and by the commanding general of the Army Materiel Command. Under the new organizational structure, I retain overall program responsibility and will maintain oversight over all phases of the program.
With that reorganization, I am confident that we are moving forward with an organizational structure that enables us to safely and efficiently rid the Nation of these outdated weapons. In my written statement, you will find a diagram, which outlines the organization structure.
As you are aware, in last year's defense authorization act, it mandated that the program continue to be managed as a major defense acquisition program. Be assured that I intend to follow that direction specifically. And in addition to maintaining emphasis on cost, schedule and performance, as well as safety, I will ensure that Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act has certified personnel to manage the program throughout its life cycle. The mission of the chemical demilitarization program is to destroy all U.S. chemical warfare materiel, while ensuring maximum protection to the public, program personnel and the environment. As pointed out earlier, this is an exciting and successful time for the program.
I am proud to inform you that our first destruction facility on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific successfully destroyed over 2,000 tons of agent, completing its mission in November of 2000. Closure ceremonies for that facility will take place next week. And that will commemorate the end of our mission in the Pacific. In addition, we have three plants in operation, destroying the nation's stockpile of chemical agents and munitions and expect to have three of the remaining five online next year. We have made tremendous strides in community protection in the past few years, ensuring the local communities are fully prepared. Each day that a chemical destruction facility operates, the threat posed to the public by continued storage is reduced.
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Since the chemical demilitarization program began, we have safely destroyed over 26 percent of the nation's stockpile, which originally included over 31,000 tons. Presently, incineration facilities for chemical weapons destruction are operating at Tooele, Utah, Anniston, Alabama and a neutralization facility is in operation at Aberdeen, Maryland. Our incineration facilities at Umatilla, Oregon and Pine Bluff, Arkansas are complete and undergoing systemization. These facilities are scheduled to become operational in calendar year 2004. The Pine Bluff, Arkansas facility was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. We have truly learned from the past. Construction is nearly complete at our neutralization-based facility at Newport, Indiana. The two remaining stockpile sites at Pueblo, Colorado and Blue Grass, Kentucky have selected technologies under the assembled chemical weapons alternatives program.
I would like to reiterate that our paramount objective is to reduce the risk to the communities surrounding the chemical storage areas as safely and as quickly as possible. We are also committed to the United States' obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and will continue to explore any available means to accelerate the destruction of this nation's stockpile safely and effectively.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, I ask for your continued support of this critical national program. That support will demonstrate our commitment to both the communities surrounding our storage sites and our international partners. Thank you for the opportunity to present my statement to you and the members of this committee. And I look forward to responding to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Bolton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Bolton.
Mr. Parker, would you proceed?
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL PARKER, DIRECTOR, U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL MATERIALS AGENCY
Mr. PARKER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Mike Parker, director of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency. As Mr. Bolton stated, I am responsible for the safe storage and disposal of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile and non-stockpile materiel, while providing maximum protection to our workers, the public and the environment.
Within this mission set is the chemical stockpile emergency preparedness program that enhances emergency response capability on our storage installations and, in conjunction with FEMA, supports the off-post emergency response community. Additionally, through the cooperative threat reduction program, CMA provides chemical weapons destruction assistance to Russia.
CMA, while a relatively new organization, will resolve some of the issues raised by the General Accounting Office. CMA has already clarified oversight relationships and removed fragmentation hampering execution of the program within the department's capability. As Mr. Wakefield outlined, there are still some provisions in law, which separate the assembled chemical weapons program from the Chemical Materials Agency program. While those separations do cause some inefficiencies in execution, we do come together under Mr. Wynne for the purposes of the overall execution of the program at the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) level.
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CMA has also, since its formation, invigorated the strategic planning process, developed a risk management plan and established some objective metrics to gauge program performance. Since this program's inception, we have had many successes and overcome many challenges, while continuing to focus on maximum protection to the public, the workers and the environment.
Presently, three disposal facilities are operating: at Deseret Chemical Depot in Utah, Anniston, Alabama and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Operations at our Anniston facility, our newest large-scale plant, are particularly encouraging. This plant has exceeded expectations, processing significantly more M55 rockets than both Johnston Island and Tooele, at the same operational point, while demonstrating an exceptional safety record. Aberdeen has been very successful in introducing a totally new technology, an innovative use of commercial, off-post waste treatment facilities.
We are in the process of optimizing the facility at Aberdeen for full rate production. Again, Aberdeen has demonstrated the continuum of outstanding safety record of our DEMIL facilities, while accelerating the overall destruction schedule at Aberdeen by approximately 2 years.
Of particular note is that all three of these very complex facilities that are online now have successfully met extremely stringent criteria established in the Army surety program, as overseen by the Department of Army Inspector General. The inspector general independently assesses safety, security and accountability necessary to safely process these highly lethal materials. And the facilities have demonstrated the capability to meet this extremely high threshold.
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These overall operational thresholds and independent assessments argue well for the safe startup and operation of three additional facilities at Newport, Indiana, Umatilla, Oregon and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, that we plan to bring on within the next year. The two remaining sitesPueblo, Colorado and Blue Grass, Kentuckyfall under the program manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternative programs, as outlined by Mr. Wakefield. I have a duel hat, as both the director of the Chemical Materials Agency and as the program manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, which does bring an element of unification to the programs, even though they are separated by law.
We take pride in having safely destroyed more than 26 percent of the original U.S. chemical stockpile, as each munition destroyed makes our citizens safer. In the emergency preparedness area, all our storage installations, the on-post portion, have achieved full readiness. And we are in a sustainment phase.
We are working very closely with the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA, state and local emergency management agencies to help our communities around the chemical storage sites to enhance their emergency response capabilities. We are also working very closely with FEMA to address outyear emergency response requirements at the state and local level, to try and bring a more disciplined budget process, so that the requests that we bring forward to Congress will be reflective of the requirements in a better understand and a more fully laid out manner.
Overall, we have not been able to move the destruction process as quickly as we originally envisioned. We have been developing cost and schedule estimates for a new comprehensive acquisition program baseline, which the defense acquisition executive has recently approved in April of this year. This acquisition program baseline places the objective for disposal completion at all sites between 2008 and 2011; the exception being the Blue Grass site, in that the site has recently come under contract and we have yet to be able to fully develop an objective schedule for this site.
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Due to the technical complexities of the chemical disposal operation and constantly evolving regulation, new interpretation of existing regulations, we will always face unforeseen challenges that make cost growth and schedule extensions hard to avoid. The Secretary of Defense has challenged us to bring and take all available measures to move the program forward as quickly as possible, to remove the risk to our public. And we are working very hard to meet this challenge. Full congressional support of the President's budget request will be absolutely essential in maintaining the progress.
The last thing I would like to discuss is compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. The next major milestonethe 45 percent milestoneis in April 2004, with 100 percent destruction milestone in April 2007. The treaty permits extensions approved by the Conference of State Parties to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Our current progress will not meet the 45 percent milestone. And as a result, the U.S. has formally requested an extension of the Chemical Weapons Convention. That extension has been agreed to. And the new date is December 2007. We are very confident in meeting this revised date, while maintaining the safety, our paramount concern, of the workforce, the public and the environment.
Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to address this committee today. And I stand ready to answer any of your questions.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Parker, thank you. Thank you very much.
We will move now to Mr. Conklin.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF CRAIG CONKLIN, CHIEF, NUCLEAR AND CHEMICAL HAZARDS BRANCH PREPAREDNESS DIVISION, EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Mr. CONKLIN. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am Craig Conklin, and I am chief of FEMA's Nuclear and Chemical Hazards Branch, which is responsible for the CSEPP program at FEMA headquarters.
My comments today will focus on: FEMA's roles and responsibilities in the program; recent improvements in community preparedness; and our commitment to the future of the CSEPP program. FEMA's mission is and has always been to protect our citizens from natural disasters and technological hazards. This mission has not changed with our integration into the Department of Homeland Security.
With respect to the CSEPP program, FEMA's mission is to provide maximum protection to the citizens living in the communities around these facilities. FEMA and the Army have defined ''maximum protection'' as the avoidance of fatalities to the maximum extent practicable. This means that the efficacy of any protective measure must be considered in light of the benefit and cost associated with both the design and implementation of that protective measure. Under the existing memorandum of understanding with the Army, FEMA is responsible and accountable for all off-site emergency preparedness activities.
First, we validate requests and activities and administer off-post CSEPP funds to support them. We support state and local officials in developing response plans. Third, we develop, deliver and evaluate training. Fourth, we provide technical assistance. And fifth and last, we develop programs for evaluating off-site readiness capability.
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In 1993, the Army and FEMA established national program benchmarks, which we use to measure the program performance. These benchmarks serve as a basis for funding decisions, establishment of program priorities and all the primary means by which we manage program performance. FEMA and Army personnel, working closely together with state and county officials, have resolved most of the remaining critical emergency preparedness issues off-site. For example, in June of last year, Oregon Governor Kitzhaber certified that the emergency plans for the communities around the Umatilla Chemical Depot were adequate and fully operational, thus allowing the Army to proceed with test burns.
In Alabama, we successfully addressed the critical preparedness issues of overpressurization of schools, protection of special needs populations and notifications of citizens living near the facility. We must continue to work closely with our state, county, tribal nation partners to ensure that these outstanding issues are addressed and to ensure that a high level of preparedness is maintained throughout the life of the program at each site.
The success that we have experienced in the last year-and-a-half is directly related to the outstanding collaboration and cooperation among FEMA headquarters and regional staff and the Army's new Chemical Materials Agency and its predecessor organization and the off-site communities.
FEMA is fully committed to ensuring that this level of collaboration and cooperation continues. And we will be updating our memorandum of understanding to codify that. The CSEPP program is effectively accomplishing its mission. Nearly all systems are in place and operational. Plans and procedures have been developed and exercised. And public education activities are reaching their intended targets.
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Soon, all of these sites will reach the sustainment phase, the phase at which all program benchmarks will have been met. We will need to work just as hard, however, to ensure that these systems stay operational, the plans and procedures stay up to date and the public is kept informed of activities at the sites.
In conclusion, FEMA is firmly committed to ensuring the successful implementation of the CSEPP program and protecting the health and safety of our citizens. The maximum protection standard is the most stringent requirement of any emergency preparedness program or directive. But we are confident that the federal, state and local emergency management community is up to the challenge.
We are extremely thankful to the communities for their commitment and dedication to this important work and pledge to work with them until the risk of a chemical stockpile incident no longer exists. We look forward to that day, when the last chemical weapon and warfare agent is destroyed. Thank you again for allowing me the time to address this committee today. And I look forward to your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Conklin can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Conklin, thank you very much also. Those are all great statements.
Let me just begin by asking unanimous consent for the statement of Mr. Walden of Oregon and questions that he has for the record be entered in the record at the close of today's hearing.
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Mr. Parker, Secretary Bolton and Mr. Wakefield, if you could take a crack at answering this question for us? In the 13 years since the beginning of the pilot plant operations in Johnston Atoll, the Department of Defense and the Army have spent approximately $6 billion to destroy approximately 26 percent of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile, which originally amounted to over 31,000 tons of chemical agents and munitions.
Current estimates are that 9 years and very close to $20 billion additional will be needed to complete destruction of the stockpile. And the time and cost required to do so could increase as requirements are defined for destruction of the stockpile at Blue Grass, Kentucky, using neutralization technology demonstrated at the assembled chemical weapons assessment and as a result of the factors affecting program costs and schedules cited by GAO and DOD inspector general in their reports.
This is a lot of money. If the number turns out to be $20 billion, that is $2.2 billion a year. And of course, we have lots of uses to which we can put this amount of dollars.
So it prompts me to ask: what measures are the Department of Defense and the Army considering that might reduce the cost and shorten the time required to complete the destruction of the stockpile? And in addition, are there any additional measures which would require action by Congress in order to help you to accomplish these goals of shortening the time and lessening the number of dollars that are required?
Why don't we start with Mr. Parker on this one?
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Mr. PARKER. Always like to start with an easy one like this, Mr. Saxton. That is a very challenging question. It is a very challenging program. And the history of the program does speak to the challenges and why the program has experienced the cost and schedule growth that is has. Having said that, we have learned from our experience at Johnston Island and Tooele.
The overall lifecycle cost estimates are adjusted accordingly. We put in place, within those schedule risk and cost risk, recognizing a high level of uncertainty in the program, we put in place risk mitigation measures to address some of the known risk and experience probable risk and develop mitigation programs to try to contain the cost and the schedule growth in the future.
We have taken measuresas demonstrated at Newport, Indiana and Aberdeen, Marylandto pursue what we call ''speedy neutralization,'' which has rapidly accelerated those two sites, as far as the ability to destroy the agent. While our primary thrust was the safety aspect in accelerating disposal at those two sites, it did offer an opportunity to reduce overall program costs by a couple of hundred million dollars.
We are constantly on the look for these kinds of opportunities. One, I might note, is an initiative that came out of Mr. Wakefield's office to once again look at what we can do from a program standpoint, the programmatic side and the technical side, to reduce cost and schedule. Also, I think out of that same effort, and Mr. Wakefield, I am sure, will address it more, are actions that we might ask the Congress to take that would create opportunities to accelerate the program, to reduce the risk to the public, but also might offer some opportunity for cost savings as well.
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Mr. WAKEFIELD. Mr. Chairman, as Mr. Parker indicated, after 9/11, it became exceedingly important for the department not only to look at the safe and secure destruction of the existing stockpile, but also the additional enhanced security. That, indeed, took place.
While at the same time, we looked back at the stockpile sites and determined that the accelerated destruction at the Aberdeen, Maryland site as well as the Newport, Indiana site were not imprudent steps. Indeed, as you know, they have taken place now. We are not satisfied. And it really goes back to the heart of your concern, which is: how do you continue to contain costs or indeed, in fact, reduce costs?
We have conducted in an informal sense what I would refer to as an accelerated destruction, what we call working WIPT, integrated product team, which brings together the full depth and breadth of a number of people, with their skills and talents, to continue to look upon the entire spectrum of the program, to look for efficiencies and effectiveness. We also use a group within the Department of Defense, which is a cost analysis improvement group, to indeed look at both the schedule issues, the cost issues and operational aspects, to look at efficiencies and define what they are. We do this in a cooperative manner, rather than a punitive manner, with the program manger, because that is a key to the success of trying to implement any number of them.
Specific issues, in terms of what we may ask the Congress, we are not ready for, or, if you will, fully prepared at this time, because the work, if you will, is still in progress. But I will assure you that we looked at the entire program. And we looked across everything from just simple process changes to what are laws that we may indeed to seek through the administration, to the Congress, to ask for improvements to help the program in and of itself. But these are still work in progress at this point and not fully characterized at this time.
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Mr. SAXTON. Have you identified anything that Congress needs to do to help contain costs?
Mr. WAKEFIELD. Not right now, at this specific time. I think our greatest issue that we have with cost and trying to contain issues seems to be the CSEPP program.
That seems to be, I would refer to, probably the most challenging area. The largest reason is because, of that particular program, the department, as you know, years in advance prepares budgets, reevaluates those budgets and then ultimately submits them as part of the President's submission to the Congress as his budget.
The problem we have is in the year of execution, when requirements come about. And that is where the troublesome issues occur. And we have to juggle the resources across that. Thus far, they have been manageable. But they do intend to be challenging issues.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Bolton, what do you think?
Secretary BOLTON. Well, Mr. Chairman, as I had noted in my testimony, I took this program over from another assistant secretary a few months ago. When I first took this position, over a year-and-a-half, almost 2 years ago, I was approached to take this program over. And I resisted. I looked at the history. I saw a number of things that the GAO has already pointed out in their report. And I resisted until I was assured that were I to take the leadership of this, that we could put some things in place. The chemical demilitarization program needs to be run as a program.
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It needs to have a streamlined management. It needs to have a clear focus. It needs to have goals and objectives. And it needs to measure each and every one of those. Once I had those assurances, I took the responsibility. My task has been, since I took that responsibility, to baseline this program: one, to put an organizational structure together that makes sense; next, to put a plan together that says, within that organizational structure that you saw in my testimony, what the heck goes on in each one of those boxes.
Who is doing what? Where is the accountability? Where is the responsibility? What do all those lines mean? And how does that get us toward the goal, which is to safely and quickly get rid of outdated weapons, such as these? And I am pleased to say that we are making progress; not as fast as I would like, but we are making progress. That will allow us to get a handle on the cost.
It will also allow us to put a strategy together that tells us how we can address the cost areas, whether that is working with the technology, working with communities, working through the CSEPP program, what is the overall comprehensive strategy to address each of those? Without those, as noted by the GAO, we are going to have a difficult time.
The other is to use outside agencies to help us. One, obviously, is the GAO. Now that is the request of Congress, not mine. But I am heartened by particularly the reports that I have seen, particularly the later one that Mr. Hinton reported to you earlier.
I have also asked and we have used the Defense Contract Management Agency, to take a look at each one of our sites, from their point of view. And they have given me reports, along with the Army Inspector General (IG), which does our surety inspections, and perhaps later on, the Army Audit Agency (AAA) and everyone to come in and say, ''This is the structure. This is where we are going. Does it make sense? How do we measure this and get on with it?''
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Our metrics eventually, I hope, will boil down to: how many tons are we disposing of over time? How much is it costing us to get rid of a ton of this material? Most importantly and paramount is: what is our safety record? And how do we benchmark that?
Now fortunately, on the latter, we have done exceptionally well. No one has lost life or limb as a result of us doing this job. And we are going to make that absolutely number one as we press forward.
That said, to get back to your point, if we do not bring this all together in a comprehensive program, with a strategy, with a vision, then I will be up here next year and the year after, or my successors, after I am fired, trying to explain why we did not make it.
Mr. SAXTON. Well, we hope you make it.
Secretary BOLTON. Thank you, sir. [Laughter.]
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Hinton, from a GAO perspective, what do you think?
Mr. HINTON. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to report that the department has been very receptive to the recommendations that we have made. I want to call to your attention that our recommendations were directed to the Under Secretary for the Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, to come up with a strategy and an implementation plan.
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The reason for that is that there are a lot of parts that have to be tied together. And I think that is very important, that one has a full appreciation and an understanding of what the game plan is, as Secretary Bolton just pointed out.
A second area that I think is very important too is our recommendation that called for a risk management approach. And let me, if I could, explain that, talk about a few steps. And I think it will kind of go to the heart of your question here of the things that you can do. A risk management approach allows a program to proactively, and when I use the word ''proactively'', I mean anticipate and influence issues that could adversely affect it. And when I look back over the history of the program, we have seen a lot. We have seen plant safety issues. We have seen problems in environmental permitting, the public concerns about emergency preparedness. We have seen funding shortfalls. So from a historical point of view, there are a lot of issues, looking forward, which we now know is a very critical junction, where moving forward, that it is important to recognize and proactively address these types of risk.
A risk management approach has five steps to it. Very simply stated: the first is to identify those issues that could pose a risk to the program; second, to analyze the risks that are identified and prioritize them; third, to create a program to address them; and fourthly, to track and validate the steps that you put in place to address them and see if they are working; and fifth, review and monitor the outcome. And it is dynamic. And the other thing that I think is very important to the two key recommendations that we made, both about the strategy, to have an implementation plan, to have a risk management approach, these are tools for oversightoversight by Secretary Bolton, oversight by the Secretary of Defense and oversight by the Congress.
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I think it would facilitate your oversight of the progress that is occurring and whether we are getting these costs and the schedules under control, as well as dealing with all the safety issues that come up.
Mr. SAXTON. A broad spectrum of issues, aren't there?
Mr. HINTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Meehan?
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This is for any of the panelists that want to take a shot at it. The chemical weapons stockpile destruction program initially required the Army to eliminate our stockpile of lethal chemical agents and munitions by September of 2004. I think the original estimate was at a cost of $1.7 billion.
Now the latest estimate that was said for the cost of the destruction is more than $25 billion and will not be completed until at least 2014, 7 years later than the requirement set forth in the Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty. What does that say about our commitment to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, both domestically and internationally?
And I wonder what kind of example it sets for the international community, particularly in light of the fact that we invaded Iraq primarily with the goal of eliminating the threat of weapons of mass destruction. And I am wondering if the panelists could comment on that?
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Secretary BOLTON. Since I am relatively new at this, let me say, Mr. Meehan, that I had some similar concerns when I took a look at where we started, how much the original estimates were and where we are today. And so obviously, one of the first things I asked for was: tell me how much this thing is really going to cost. And we are going through that now.
My understanding, and there are folks who have been involved with this for many, many years and will obviously have additional comments, was that we thought this was going to be relatively straightforward. We have the munitions and the chemicals located in one particular area. We are not going to transport over the roads; we will build a facility and we will destroy it. And we will do it safely.
Perhaps we were a bit naive. From the standpoint of safety, which is absolutely number one, we do not want to harm anyone as a result of these chemicals. Other issues came into play. Couple that with changing concerns on the environment, and rightfully so, which impacted the program, and the lack of, as the GAO has already pointed out, an overarching strategy as to: how do you get ahead of this? How do you make sure that yes, there are going to be changes? There will be changes next year, 5 years from now on the environment. What is your strategy for coping with that in a timely basis? And then an attention to cost, how much is it really costing you to do this? And so that has allowed all of this to grow.
With regard to other countries, we know a number of the other countries are having problems in meeting the convention. And they actually lag the United States. I think, from my point of view, what it tells me is that while it is taking us longer, perhaps too long, in some eyes, while it has cost more, perhaps too much, in some eyes, we have done it extremely well, better than anybody else in the world. And we have done it safely.
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And I think we are coming together, after understanding the issues better, with a program that makes sense now. That may not be an answer that is appealing to members here, but that is the way I see it. And perhaps others have other comments on it.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you.
Mr. PARKER. Mr. Meehan, I might add that the $1.7 billion program that was initially envisioned was a subset of what the program is today. It involved less than the total U.S. stockpile. Subsequent to establishing that program, what we call a non-stockpile program has been added; that is, the munitions that have been buried, farmer production facilities, facilities that supplied various components that were integral in manufacturing chemical munitions have been added to the program. The chemical stockpile emergency preparedness program has been added.
All of these factors have changed the scope dramatically, as well as, as Mr. Bolton said, we learned some hard and brutal lessons along the way that this is much more difficult than we had envisioned. But I think the Nation being willing to commit $25 billion, which as Mr. Saxton said, is real money, I think demonstrates to the world that we are very, very serious about disposing of our chemical weapons and doing it in a manner that is safe and protective of our public, and committed to rid these, at least our portions of the weapons, from the world.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HINTON. Mr. Meehan, I would just add that, under the convention, I think there is a shared responsibility to get rid of these weapons. And while it may have taken us longer and it is very costly, there are a lot of lessons that have been learned.
And to the extent that those lessons can be documented, those experiences can be documented, I think they provide good technical assistance to the international partners under the convention as they go forward, because they do not have the luxury of all the resources that maybe the United States has in this program. And it might help them get that job done. Just to offer that.
Mr. MEEHAN. Do we provide that to the rest of the world, to the rest of the countries in the world?
Mr. WAKEFIELD. Mr. Meehan, my particular role as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chem-Demil and Threat Reduction, I have the nuclear, chemical and biological treaties and the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which is the elimination of the weapons of mass destruction from the former Soviet Union.
In that particular role, we indeed fund the Russian Federation for the destruction of their chemical weapons at the Schuchye facility and are, in fact, rebaselining that particular program as well. The very knowledge that the United States has gained over these last couple of decades is, indeed, provided to them.
We actually go to Mr. Parker's organization and we draw upon his talents to help define that program and to characterize it, to implement that as well. I might add as, over the last couple of decades, on this particular program, it is exceedingly important to recognize that the program started out as a research and develop program, prototyping a facility at Johnston Island.
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Obviously, we learned an enormous amount at that particular facility, which has been translated across the spectrum to the other ones. During that particular time as well, the Congress had insisted and in law to look at alternative technologies, thereby defining the technologies that took place at the Maryland Aberdeen site, as well as the Newport, Indiana site.
Equally important, as I had mentioned in my testimony, we also had, by congressional direction, to look at alternatives to assembled chemical weapons. Mike Parker, in his role, indeed did that and did a fine job with all the program managers there. Each of these equally add both time and cost to the program, as you have heard him say, recharacterizing it. At the time the program cost was originally defined, it was not possible to foresee the number of issue that one would have to address.
Obviously, through time, technology improves; therefore, sensitivity of that analysis and the monitoring of the environmental envelope at these particular places equally change as well. They all add to increased cost. They all add to increased schedule.
Through a very deliberative process in the Department of Defense, we go through the recharacterization of those costs and include those in future programs, as well as the President's budget. But we do indeed, in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, we do offer information on technologies, as is appropriate, as we pass that through obviously the State Department appropriately. But it is important to recognize, when the United States put its 45 percent request in, there was no challenge to the leadership of the United States, the commitment of the United States, nor the commitment of the Department of Defense to destroy its chemical weapons.
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They recognized the status because I gave that to them personally, the status of each of the facilities and the sincerity of the Department of Defense and the United States to move forward on this program.
Mr. MEEHAN. Well, Mr. Wakefield, a GAO report released in May of 2000 stated that effective management of this program has been impeded by complex management structure and lack of internal coordination. What have the Army and the Defense Department, which overlap in their oversight responsibilities, done to specifically address the concerns addressed in the GAO report in May of 2000?
Mr. WAKEFIELD. As you have heard from Mr. Hinton earlier, we agreed, I signed the letter personally, we agreed in total with what the GAO findings were. Our efforts, through the restructuring and you have heard Mr. Bolton and Mr. Parker as well, we took those to heart. We took them sincerely. And we are working on them on a day-by-day basis.
I am delighted to report to the Congress that I have a very rich and rewarding relationship with Mr. Parker. We talk probably more than anybody in the entire department, as well as with Mr. Bolton's staff. These are just the very simple steps that take place all the time. We go through a very rigorous process on a more formal basis in a couple of weeks where we get together actually and go over issues in very specific terms.
I report up to my boss, no less than at least once, if not twice a week, on the status of the actions of the facilities and where they are at and how we may indeed improve our performance on that. I would tell you that I think, as a team, we are working together well, trying to tackle the tough issues because we recognize there are tough issues, and at the same time, reward the folks that are there.
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As the GAO had indicated, I will phrase a global or strategic plan as necessary and important. We agreed in totality with that. We have taken steps to look at independent firms to assist us in, in fact, doing that. We have not made a final determination as to which firm we would use to help us complete that document. But we are working on it. And we are trying to meet indeed the timelines they have laid out.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you.
Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Meehan. In the interest of giving every member an opportunity to ask their questions, we will move to the five-minute rule at this time and begin with Mr. Turner.
Mr. TURNER OF OHIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SAXTON. Who has an intent interest in this subject. And I know firsthand.
Mr. TURNER OF OHIO. That is right.
Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for your hosting this hearing so that this important issue of the United States' commitment to our treaty obligations and also our commitment for the disposal of these weapons systems is reviewed, both in looking at the aspect of the resources that we apply, the processes that we are undertaking and the needs for us to do this in an environmentally safe manner.
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I appreciate the chairman inviting me and others who are impacted by this to this committee hearing. I am not a member of this committee, as others who have also been invited whose communities are impacted.
We had the opportunity October 22nd to have a field hearing with the National Security Subcommittee on this issue and its impact on my community, Dayton, Ohio. And Mr. Parker, you were there and testified concerning the Parsons and Permafix proposal for the disposal of hydrolysate in the Dayton, Ohio community.
In your written testimony, on page seven, you begin to address the issue of the disposal of these materials in Dayton, Ohio. And what you report is that Parsons has issued a stop work order to Permafix and is beginning efforts to terminate the contract. Your testimony in Dayton on October 22nd was that this contract will be terminated, that the Army is consenting to that, and that the denial of the permit by the county would not be challenged by the Army. Is that a consistent statement with your testimony?
Mr. PARKER. Yes, as you mentioned, that was the testimony on the 22nd and that is where we stand today. Just as an update, per Parsons, advice from Parsons, they have reached terms with Permafix. The termination for convenience is in the process of being legal review in both corporate entities and should be signed here in the next couple of days.
Mr. TURNER OF OHIO. Is there any action that the Army needs to do to get approval for that to occur?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PARKER. The contracting officer has already provided advice to Parsons, agreeing with that course of action. So that documentation in concurrence is already in place.
Mr. TURNER OF OHIO. So the Army has already issued the documentation necessary? Or has this been . . .
Mr. PARKER. Yes.
Mr. TURNER OF OHIO. Okay. Could you please provide a copy of that to me for my office?
Mr. PARKER. Yes.
Mr. TURNER OF OHIO. I would appreciate it.
Secretary Bolton, I am assuming that your testimony would not be different or in conflict with Mr. Parker's concerning the Dayton, Ohio facility?
Secretary BOLTON. Mr. Turner, that assumption is correct.
Mr. TURNER OF OHIO. We are all very interested in obviously the process of the disposal of these materials, the destruction of these weapons occurring as quickly as possible. One of the most important aspects that is a thread that goes through each of the testimony that we have before us is the concept of public outreach.
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Certainly, we have seen in the Dayton, Ohio example that delay breeds mistrust and that any appearance of a lack of commitment on the part of the Army for public outreach or for public acceptance of this process can undermine the Army's overall goals of its timetable. I just want to encourage you, Secretary Bolton, as you look at these issues with other communities, to make certain that the processes of public outreach occur quickly. Because I do believe that in the process in Dayton, Ohio, that very costly delays resulted in some credibility being lost to the Army throughout the process. And I know that you are taking into consideration very important issues of the safety of communities, the need to destroy these weapons and the resulting materials as you go through the process. And I certainly wish you great success in that process.
Secretary BOLTON. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you very much.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to ask, looking through your opening statements, you know, if we did not have all five of you here and just took selected statements, you would come away with different impressions of where the program is at. And I am going to ask you all to clarify it.
First, Mr. Bolton and Mr. Wakefield; Mr. Bolton, in your opening statement, you say in your written statement, ''This is an exciting and successful time for the program. We have three plants in operation, destroying the nation's stockpile of chemical agents and munitions and expect to have three of our five remaining sites operational by the end of next year. Each day a chemical destruction facility operates, the threat posed the public by continued storage is reduced.''
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That sounds very upbeat. Then I read Mr. Wakefield's statement, which he read. He said, ''Due to unfortunate circumstances, the Army destroyed little chemical agent over the past year-and-a-half.''
Now, you know, we have a reporter over here who is going to report to the people of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. If they took one of these statements, they would say, ''This is great, an exciting and successful time for the program.'' The other one says, ''unfortunate circumstances.'' And GAO is sitting in the middle, and they have to ask him. I mean, did we have unfortunate circumstances? Or did we have an exciting and successful past 18 months? What is the answer, Mr. Wakefield and Mr. Bolton? Are you in agreement or disagreement?
Secretary BOLTON. I think it is kind of feeling which part of the elephant that you are on. I think it is exciting simply from the standpoint of where we are going in the future.
We have three sites already in operation. Three of the five remaining will be operational over the next year. We are doing it safely. And we are disposing of material. And I will let Mr. Wakefield answer the other. We did have stoppage at one plant. And we had to do that in order to upgrade it.
Dr. SNYDER. So you agree with Mr. Wakefield's comment that . . .
Secretary BOLTON. Oh, yeah.
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Dr. SNYDER. . . . due to unfortunate circumstances, we have destroyed little chemical agent over the last year? So when we talk about it being an exciting and successful time, we are looking ahead to the party, not at what has happened in the last . . .
Secretary BOLTON. That is absolutely correct.
Dr. SNYDER. All right.
Secretary BOLTON. Yes, sir.
Dr. SNYDER. Also, Mr. Bolton, in your statement about chemical weapons, it says, ''We are also committed to meeting the United States' obligation under the Chemical Weapons Convention and will continue to explore available means to accelerate the destruction of the nation's stockpile safely.''
I mean, I think a fair reading of that would say, okay, we are on track. And yet, it is obviously clear that we are behind, that we are having to ask for extensions. It is not clear that we are going to make the deadline. I mean, these seem to be again, they seem to be in conflict, if you were just the average reader. And there are a whole lot of people in these communities that are average readers that are trying to figure out what this means.
These statements seem to be in conflict. I do not think I need a response on that one because we have already acknowledged we have had to get extensions. And we will probably have to get other extensions. And it is not clear that we are going to meet the 100 percent deadline. Is that a fair statement, Mr. Wakefield? That it is not clear we will meet the 100 percent deadline?
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Mr. WAKEFIELD. In terms of looking at the calendar year 2007, we will not make the 100 percent destruction deadline.
Dr. SNYDER. We will not.
Mr. WAKEFIELD. We have informed the international organization of that. And we will take those steps, as provided by the convention, and properly provide our extension request, based on the solid information we will have as time matures forward.
Dr. SNYDER. Then just a third example, and this may be unfair, but in Mr. Bolton's statement, he uses the construction of the Pine Bluff facility as an example of how we are ahead of schedule. But then, Mr. Hinton, in your statement, you point out that because of diversion of money, that the Pine Bluff program is 6 months behind schedule.
And again, you know, how we report to the community, I mean a fair reading of Mr. Bolton, your statement would send a message to Pine Bluff we are ahead of schedule when, in fact, we are not ahead of schedule. I think they have done a good job down there.
I think it is Congress that messed with them on the diversion of money primarily. But are we in agreement that the Pine Bluff program is behind schedule, but for reasons essentially out of their control? Are you, Mr. Hinton and Mr. Bolton, in agreement with that?
Secretary BOLTON. Once again, it is the elephant that we are dealing with. And it depends on which schedule you are referring to. And I do not mean to be splitting hairs here. But there was an original schedule. And there is the schedule we are looking at now.
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My whole intent, when I said earlier that we are going to baseline this, is to put out one schedule, that the GAO and myself and others can look at over time and say: where are we? And so I can report back to you next year, when we come down to the schedule, there is only one schedule we are looking at, not two or three. And therefore, my testimony is based upon one. GAO may have looked at another. And we are all confused.
A long way of saying you are absolutely right. It is conflicting. It is going to be confusing to those who read the testimony. And it is up to people like me to make some changes so it is all consistent.
Dr. SNYDER. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is gratifying to know that you all did not get together and plan your statements ahead of time. That is clear from these. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Dr. Snyder.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us today.
I share the concern of my colleagues and Americans about how long this process is taking and how much it costs. And in order to keep the costs down and make the progress as quick and as safe as possible, we clearly need an organization to make that work. And I am looking, Secretary Bolton, at your statement. And there is a diagram, figure one, that you have submitted. And in it, it says that the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology (ASA(ALT)/AAE) reports to the Defense Acquisition Executive (DAE). And the DSAECW reports to the ASA and has oversight of the director of U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA), who works simultaneously for the ASA(ALT)/AAE and the CGAMC.
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Mr. SAXTON. Thank you for clarifying that. [Laughter.]
Mr. KLINE. It makes me wonder if this is really the most efficient and simplest organization that we could have to get this done. And even without the acronyms, it does appear to be pretty complicated, with coordination and oversight and dual chains or perhaps triple chains.
You expressed some confidence in your statement that this is an organization that will work. And I do not want you to have to refute that claim. But do you think that there is possibly a better way to do this?
And then I would like to ask Mr. Hinton if he has some opinion about this organization as well.
Mr. SAXTON. Before you answer, if I may just announce, we are going to have a series of votes beginning at about 10:30. Those votes will likely last the better part of a half hour. So if we can move through the questions that remain between now and the time we go to vote, it will make all of our days a little easier. So thank you.
Secretary BOLTON. Mr. Kline, first of all, you are absolutely right. Clean sheet of paper, we would write another organization. Given where we were a year ago and given the cultures and the disparate organizations that we were dealing with, this is not a bad first step in trying to consolidate this. I believe in the future there will be some additional changes.
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Now the changes that you see there, and having two lines, there is actually a pointwe call it a transition to operationswhere General Kern, who is the current commanding general for U.S. Army Material Command (AMC), and I will sit down with the team and say, ''Okay. We have finished building this plant. We have finished the systemalization of the plant.''
''We are now ready to start the operation on these particular chemicals. What is going to happen? How are we going to do that? What people are involved?'' And once that goes over, then General Kern, who owns all of these plants, I mean, it is on his books. A lot of the people out there belong to him, on the supporting side.
And so he will have the day-to-day oversight of that, as he does right now. Ultimately, the Secretary wanted one person to point at for all of this. So the Secretary, my boss, does not look at this as, ''Well, I have General Kern over there and Bolton over here.'' He only looks at Bolton. And so it is incumbent upon that dotted line, General Kern and I, to be in each other's pocket on a regular basis. And we are. We were last night, for example.
I mentioned earlier that we are working a plan. The title here says, Chemical Demilitarization Program ''(CDP) Management Plan.'' This is part of a plan.
The plan says what goes on in each one of those boxes, what all those lines are and eventually what the metrics are to see whether or not this organization really functions. What those metrics allows me to grow to the next iteration of this organization.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But right now, it requires the personalities to work very closely together. I am aiming for an organization that works well, regardless of who is sitting in the boxes.
Mr. KLINE. Thank you.
Secretary BOLTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. KLINE. Mr. Hinton, do you have an opinion here?
Mr. HINTON. Mr. Kline, the ultimate responsibility for the organization is going to rest with the Department. GAO has commented about the complex organization in several reports.
Stability of leadership has been an issue over the years. I think the sooner they can get an organization that is streamlined, gets the leadership in place and has a clear strategy, a clear implementation plan with good metrics of how well we are going to be monitoring our progress against the goals, and most importantly, everybody's roles and responsibilities are laid out. And when you talk about this program, it has to bring all the pieces together, not just what is in the Army, but what is outside of the Army, into a comprehensive plan. That is where we have been in terms of our reporting.
Mr. KLINE. Okay. Thank you both.
I hope that the personalities are working out. But I, like you, would much prefer an organization that would work independent of that. And I hope that we move to something that is, in fact, simpler and more streamlined and I will not have to twist my tongue to figure out who is in charge of who. And I see my time is expired.
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Mr. SAXTON. Mike Rogers?
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding these hearings.
To let you know the frame of reference I have, I live about two miles away from the Anniston facility. The threat that that stockpile poses is a very real threat in my life and the life of my family and my community. So I am keenly interested in this subject.
In listening and reviewing your report, your statement, Mr. Hinton, I noticed that you had made a pretty thorough analysis and had some pretty critical remarks about DOD and the Army. Have you made a similar analysis of the CSEPP program? Because I did not see it referenced in your statement.
Mr. HINTON. Yes, we have, Mr. Rogers. We have issued several reports on the CSEPP program over the years, talking about some of the concerns that we have seen, but basically trying to encourage the Army and FEMA to be more proactive in working together as a team with the community and also in dealing with the requirements of the communities to make sure they are addressed.
We have several reports that we have issued, a lot of recommendations. And both departments have pretty much been in agreement with our recommendations and what we have seen as movement to try to improve in that arena. And I recognize that as these sites get ready to become operational, there are going to be new requirements coming out of the communities. And that is going to have to be part of the proactive role that DOD and FEMA play with the communities to make sure all the needs get addressed well.
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Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. I agree. Those analyses, has there been a particular analysis that was specific to the CSEPP program and its role in the Anniston facility?
Mr. HINTON. I believe all of the sites were included in our last report. I will have to check that out. I do not have that with me right now.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. Could you have somebody on your staff forward a copy of that report to my office?
Mr. HINTON. I sure will. I sure will. Be happy to.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. And Mr. Conklin, my experience has been that the facility in Anniston was fully functional and ready to operate long before it went online a couple, 3 months ago. You made a statement earlier that you felt like, at this time, everything was a go, as far as the CSEPP program was concerned, including the special needs program. Is that your understanding now?
Mr. CONKLIN. Yes, sir. We believe things are in good shape down there. That does not mean that everything is finished. There are things that we still need to follow up on.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. For example?
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CONKLIN. For example, on the communications system, we need to make sure that the 800 megahertz system is replaced and operational. These systems have a finite life. And this is going to be true at all of the facilities. So radio systems, alert notification systems, we are going to need to make sure that they maintain their level of operation throughout the life of the program.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. So you have identified the special needs population and you feel comfortable that you can reach out to them and handle any problem that might arise?
Mr. CONKLIN. We feel good at how the county set that up, how Calhoun County set up a program to address those, and the funding that went with it and how they implemented that.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. Do you know offhand what year you started receiving funding or started providing funding for the CSEPP program in the Anniston community?
Mr. CONKLIN. Not right offhand. I would have to go back and check. I have been with the program since June of last year. So I would have to go back and check the records on that.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. Do you know roughly about how much money has been spent on the CSEPP program for the Anniston facility?
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. CONKLIN. Yes, sir, I do. I have a table here. For the State of Alabama, we have spent approximately $177 million for that site.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. Could you provide me an itemization of how much money has been spent and for what? Because my figure is almost double that, that I understand has been spent.
Mr. CONKLIN. Yeah, okay. I will get that information.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. In making preparation for the future, as we go forward with the incineration process, which is now moving forward and at a rate faster than expected, I am pleased to say, how long do you anticipate your program being necessary? And how much more money do you think will be necessary to operate it?
Mr. CONKLIN. Our program will be necessary as long as there are materials stored there or being disposed of.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. And that timeframe is what?
Mr. CONKLIN. The latest information I have, that program could go out to another decade or so. I do not know the exact date, but maybe after the year 2016, 2014, somewhere in that vicinity.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. And what do you project your budgetary needs to be for that period of time?
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Mr. CONKLIN. From fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2016, looking at about $145 million, based on what we know now.
Mr. ROGERS OF ALABAMA. Okay. Thank you very much.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Rogers.
Mr. Cooper? Mr. Larsen?
Mr. LARSEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I walked in after the testimony. But I do not think it was addressed at all by anyone. And I think when I walked in, Mr. Parker was answering a question. You mentioned chemical non-stockpiles. And I am not sure who to speak to.
I do not know who best to answer it, but I would like to get an understanding of where chemical non-stockpile fits into this, the locating, securing and eliminating the non-stockpiles. How does it fit into the mission here? And what timeline exists for these actions? It is part of the CWC? Or is it a separate activity that we have to undertake as well. And I am not sure who in the hierarchy needs to answer that, but I would like to get an answer.
Mr. PARKER. Mr. Larsen, the non-stockpile program covers a number of areas. It covers recovered chemical munitions. Those are munitions that were buried, for whatever reason, and recovered. And those have been declared under the terms of the treaty. Those munitions need to be disposed of by the 2007 timeframe.
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Other aspects . . .
Mr. LARSEN. Are those included then in the 31,000 or so metric tons that were originally identified?
Mr. PARKER. They are declared in the U.S. that 31,000 tons was what we call the stockpile portion. The non-stockpile portion is also declared under the treaty. It is a very, very small number in tonnage, but a significant challenge, nonetheless, because of the condition of the munitions. The non-stockpile program also covers the former production facilities that were used to make chemical weapons. Those need to be destroyed.
The binary weapons which were a late production of a new class of chemical weapons, they are also being destroyed under the non-stockpile program. There is also the facilities which produced feed materials, feed stock chemicals or munition components for chemical weapons, which are also destroyed under the non-stockpile program.
Mr. LARSEN. Does all this testimony that we have heard today apply then only to the stockpile, chemical stockpile program?
Mr. PARKER. Under the total U.S. chemical munitions program, of which the roughly $24 billion encompasses the lifecycle costs, includes the non-stockpile program as well.
Mr. LARSEN. Okay. Does the identification of the chemical non-stockpile include alsoyou mentioned chemical stockpiles that were buried. But how about those that were dumped in the oceans?
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Mr. PARKER. It is . . .
Mr. LARSEN. Specifically the U.S.
Mr. PARKER. It covers it in the sense that the program . . .
Mr. LARSEN. We know we did it. We can not get to it?
Mr. PARKER. Well, the program had a responsibility to identify all the locations we could where munitions were buried or where they were dumped. As far as within the $24 billion, to go in and recover those munitions that were dumped in the ocean or the totality of munitions that were buried, that is not within the cost. It is only the recovered portion of the munitions are within that cost.
Mr. LARSEN. Is there an effort to try to locate and recover those dumped?
Mr. PARKER. Yes. In fact, this fiscal year, fiscal year 2004, there has been a significant plus-up in the program to identify and characterize burial sites. There are 200 burial sites that have been identified in 38 states. We are now in the process of trying to characterize what is in those individual sites.
Mr. LARSEN. That is good to know. My question was related to the chemicals dumped in the ocean.
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Mr. PARKER. At this point in time, other than identifying where and the quantities, that is the limit.
Mr. LARSEN. Okay. I have a question about the bio-treatment and neutralization and what do you call it, super critical water oxidation at Colorado and Kentucky. My understanding is that the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Program is responsible for that, the neutralization programs there. And do any of you all represent that, can answer a question about that?
Mr. PARKER. That is one of the two hats that I have. One is the director of the Chemical Materials Agency. The other is the program manager for the ACWA program.
Mr. LARSEN. Okay. Are these totally new technologies that we will be using?
Mr. PARKER. The neutralization part is a well-established technology that has been around for many, many years. The treatment, bio-treatment or super critical water oxidation, is a relatively new technology, although we are using it very successfully for mustard agent at Aberdeen Proving Ground for the bio-treatment.
Mr. LARSEN. And the critical water?
Mr. PARKER. Super critical water oxidation is, in and of itself, it is an established technology. Applying it to chemical weapons waste is a new technology, a totally new application.
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Mr. LARSEN. I see my time is up. Just want to make a quick point about that and just to put a marker, if you will, in the record, that we may want to take a look at that to see how things are going, considering this new application of this technology, so that we are not coming back in the future and having this hearing all over again, only having it about the new technologies that we are applying on neutralization.
Mr. PARKER. We will make note of that. And it is covered in the annual report to Congress on the Chem-Demil program. So we do report to the Congress on an annual basis on those kinds of issues.
Mr. LARSEN. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Larsen.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all for being here.
I am sorry I missed some of the testimony, but we had worked on a few questions beforehand and I wanted to just address those. One is in process and one on security. And the process question really goes to the incineration plants and the recognition that a majority of the delays were occurring in the incineration plants, identified for various environmental or community reasons. And in the testimony, it did not appear that there were not other types of delays in the neutralization sites.
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And so I was wondering why there are so many more procedural delays at the incineration sites and why we are not moving toward a more total neutralization process? Perhaps you have already addressed that or a similar issue?
Mr. PARKER. The history of permitting incinerators was rather contentious. And it was difficult. And it took longer than we had originally estimated to obtain operating permitsconstruction and operating permits or RCRA permits, Resource Conservation Recovery Act permits for the incinerators.
The neutralization sites, the four neutralization sites were approached in a slightly different manner, with a much higher level of public involvement and public outreach, as a lesson learned from the incinerator plants which had preceded the neutralization plants. And I think a combination of bringing the public in and get a better understanding of what the technologies were, plus possibly a stronger comfort level with the public with neutralization, led to less contentious permitting. Permitting at the neutralization sites has been more straightforward.
As far as the operational aspects, what we are finding, because the first neutralization site has just come online at Aberdeen Proving Ground in April of this year, bringing on a new technology has been just as challenging as bringing on the first incinerator. So the neutralization technology has its own issues, as far as operational aspects, and is just as challenging as the incinerators were in addressing those new technology issues. As an example, Johnston Island, our first incinerator, was very challenging to bring online.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our newest facility, which we just brought on in August at Anniston, Alabama, an incineration facility, has gone relatively smoothly and has learned from the prior experience at Johnston Island and Tooele, Utah. So I think the issue of one technology being better than the other from an operability standpoint does not bear out in the facts.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. So there were other technologies that were tried or looked at early on?
Mr. PARKER. Well, the program back in the early 1980's, before the decision was made to proceed with the incineration process, looked at a full spectrum of technologies. Per the direction of the Congress, the National Research Council was the oversight body doing independent assessment to advise the Congress and assist the Army in making a technology look.
So the technology was exhaustively looked at before the incineration was picked in the mid1980's. Now technology has progressed over the years and allowed us to pursue neutralization followed by bio-treatment or super critical water oxidation for later application. But at the point of time that the decision was made to proceed with incineration, that was a fully vetted process that looked at a wide spectrum of technologies and made the choice of the best option possible at that point in time.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. Just a question on security. I note that in August, a lab tech in Oregon was able to take home a vial of solution containing serum. The question: are there security breaches that are continuing? And how do we address those issues? Perhaps again you have already talked about that.
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Mr. PARKER. The specific incidence in Oregon was what is called a laboratory standard, which is a highly dilute material, which is not considered a chemical warfare agent. And it is not even considered a risk. It is basically a dilute alcohol solution. It has a few parts per billion of a reference material in it for calibrating instruments.
The individual, nonetheless, should not have been taking it home. It was a breach of operational procedure, rather than a security breach. Having said that, we have instituted a lesson learned out of that, which involved much stricter adherence and supervisory oversight and accountability of these reference materials, treating them almost in the same manner as we treat the actual chemical warfare agent itself, which has a very, very stringent control procedures to maintain security of those materials.
Mr. SAXTON. Ms. Davis, I wonder, if you have any additional questions or if other members have additional questions, perhaps we could submit them in writing for the record?
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you.
Mr. SAXTON. And as you can hear by the bells and buzzers, we are going to have to run off and catch these three votes. So rather than have you sit here for a half an hour, 45 minutes to wait for us to get back, we will say, ''Thank you.''
We will certainly look forward to the progress that you are able to make, both in terms of dollar savings and time shortening. And we look forward to working with you. And we invite you and ask you and hope that when you see something that Congress can do to be helpful, in terms of changing whatever it is that needs to be changed, that you will not hesitate to let us know. Thank you very much. And we appreciate you being here today.
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[Whereupon, at 10:40 a.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]