Jeffrey LewisUS to Miss CWC Deadline

USA Today has obtained a set of documents, dated 21 December 2004, stating that construction on CW disposal facilities in CO and KY won’t begin until 2011 — five years after originally planned and too late to meet US obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

A government source told AP on condition of anonymity that the two facilities would receive a combined $31 million per year over the next five years—far less than the combined 110 M they received this year.

The Defense Department operates three incinerators (Tooele, UT; Anniston, AL; Uramilla OR) and a pilot neutralization facility (Aberdeen, MD). The Defense Department plans to begin operating a fourth incinerator in February (Pine Bluff, AR), as well as a second pilot neutralization site (Newport, IN). The to-be delayed facilities at Pueblo, CO and Blue Grass, KY are full-scale neutralization facilities, which are arguably safer than incinerators.

Source: Patrick Wakefield, DOD Chemical Weapons Disposal Program, Quarterly Chemical/Biological Executive Roundtable Breakfast Event #430B, Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA (16 June 2004).

The United States is required to destroy all its CW stockpiles by April 29, 2007 (2012, if we ask for an extension—a skill Bush probably acquired at Yale). GAO concludes the United States cannot meet the original 2007 deadline.

Destruction Targets (% of stockpile), Deadlines and US Compliance

% Deadline US Met
1 April 29, 2000 Setember 1997
20 April 29, 2002 July 2001
45 April 29, 2004 Will Not Meet
100 April 29, 2007 Will Not Meet

Source: Statement of Henry L. Hinton, Jr., Managing Director, Defense Capabilities and Management, Before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, GAO-04-221T (October 30, 2003) p.8.

OMB also rated the Defense Department’s Chemical Weapons Demilitarization program as “ineffective.”

The United States requested an extension for the 2004 deadline in September 2003 and announced its intention “address the extension of the 100 percent deadline at a later date.”

Better get on that


  1. Vince Ybarra (History)

    An interesting article from the Salt Lake Tribune dated January 14, 2005 entitled “Chemical weapons could be shipped to Utah”