ANSER | ANSER Support to Chemical Weapons Stockpile Destruction at the Pueblo Chemical Depot
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ANSER Support to Chemical Weapons Stockpile Destruction at the Pueblo Chemical Depot

Client: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction and Arms Control

In 1985, Congress directed the Department of Defense to dispose of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile. It became a matter of international importance in 1997 when the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the United States had ratified, entered into force. The Chemical Weapons Convention was the first disarmament agreement negotiated within a multilateral framework that provided for eliminating an entire category of weapons of mass destruction under universally applied international control. The Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction and Arms Control (DASD(TRAC)) is responsible for U.S. compliance and has supervised the destruction of more than 30,000 tons of chemical weapons, distributed over nine sites (eight states and Johnston Island in the Pacific), all while successfully administering two separate major defense acquisition programs.

For nearly twenty five years, ANSER has provided timely and accurate information and analyses to support senior DASD(TRAC) leadership decision making and oversight of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile disposal.  To date, seven of the nine destruction facilities have completed their missions, and nearly ninety percent of the total U.S. stockpile has been destroyed. The remaining ten percent of the U.S. stockpile is located at two facilities: one in Pueblo, Colorado and the other in Richmond, Kentucky.

Starting chemical agent destruction operations at a first-of-a-kind facility poses inherent challenges requiring the resolution of technical issues, treaty and regulatory requirements, and stakeholder concerns.  ANSER assists the DASD(TRAC) by ensuring open issues are resolved and providing needed information to facilitate a recommendation to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to approve the start of operations.

In March 2015, the Department of Defense began small-scale destruction of the Pueblo stockpile using the U.S. Army’s Explosive Destruction System. The ANSER team assisted in the successful start of destruction operations by ensuring all safety, security, environmental, and operational readiness requirements were met. The team worked directly with the program leadership responsible for destruction operations in Pueblo to inform Congress and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons of the startup and to secure approval from the Defense Acquisition Executive to commence operations.

The Department will begin operation of the full-scale Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant later this year. ANSER will continue to fulfill a critically important task by identifying problem areas early and developing strategies to address them so that the Office of the DASD(TRAC) is armed with the right information at the right time to facilitate the safe and timely start of operations. ANSER’s highly knowledgeable and experienced staff provide institutional knowledge and program management skills that increase the operational efficiency of the DASD(TRAC) office. The team’s communication skills and ability to develop key interagency relationships have yielded critical information and ensured that client expectations are anticipated and exceeded.

“The ANSER team’s critical analyses of the full scope of detailed program management data has been indispensable in giving OSD senior leaders the insights needed to guide, and actually accelerate, the nation’s $10.6B chemical demilitarization program and to communicate effectively with key stakeholders, including the international community.” – Mr. John Burnham, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Threat Reduction and Arms Control

ANSER Projects, Science & Technology