Client: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs / Threat Reduction and Arms Control
Mission Area: Science & Technology
Nonproliferation is one of three pillars of the strategy for combating weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that orients defense against WMD to “the left of boom.” One of the more successful treaties in the United States’ nonproliferation portfolio is the Chemical Weapons Convention, which offers a balanced approach that has served to almost completely eliminate an entire WMD class since its entry into force on 29 April 1997. It covers nonproliferation protocols, demilitarization of declared and recovered arsenals, destruction of production facilities, verification protocols, and challenge inspections to ensure treaty compliance over decades.
The Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction and Arms Control, reporting to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Defense Programs, provides policy guidance and management oversight to ensure the Chemical Demilitarization Program accomplishes the Chemical Weapons Convention obligation to destroy 100 percent of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile safely and securely. The complexity and diversity of the program, from legal, environmental, technological, and acquisition-related perspectives, requires unique management and operational analysis to integrate all program components fully. Continuing evolution of Chemical Weapons Convention implementation requires in-depth analysis to assess risks to mission achievement.
For over 20 years, ANSER has ensured effective support to senior leaders to facilitate oversight and decision making by providing the Assistant Secretary with timely and accurate information and analyses. The highly knowledgeable and experienced staff provides institutional knowledge and program management skill to increase the operational efficiency of the office of the Assistant Secretary. ANSER also addresses programmatic challenges by removing barriers to progress and protecting program funding.
With nearly 90 percent of the U.S. stockpile destroyed, efforts are focused on the remaining stockpile, which is split between two sites in Colorado and Kentucky. Both are implementing unique, groundbreaking, and high-hazard destruction technologies. As the program moves into the systemization phase, which ensures that all employees, equipment, and processes are prepared for agent destruction operations, ANSER will monitor activities and assess efforts taken by the program office to prevent or mitigate inherent technical risks. In addition, in that this time of fiscal austerity presents serious financial risks, the team is working to identify, analyze and carefully shepherd funding issues quickly to ensure steady progress of this politically sensitive program. When issues arise, ANSER analysts help the Assistant Secretary address stakeholder concerns by managing outreach to the local community, state, and regional regulators and politicians; congressional members and staffs; senior Department of Defense leadership; interagency partners; and other parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention.