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Release No: 024-96
January 24, 1996


The Department of Defense today announced newly declassified information on the United States stockpile of chemical weapons awaiting destruction at eight sites in the United States and one site on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Release of the information is another example of U.S. openness in the area of chemical weapons and underscores the U.S. commitment to eliminating chemical weapons worldwide. Declassification of this information will support the planning, execution, and oversight of the destruction of U.S. chemical weapons.

"As President Clinton said in his State of the Union message last year, the United States must lead the charge to eliminate chemical weapons," Secretary of Defense Perry said today. "Prompt ratification and entry into force of the multilateral Chemical Weapons Convention is critical to achieving this objective. Our citizens and those of our friends and allies will be safer in a world in which chemical weapons have been banned. The CWC is vital to our security, and we need it now."

Declassification of this stockpile information is a major step toward reaching the goal of eliminating chemical weapons. Declassification of this information will not compromise the security, emergency procedures, or the environmental and safety standards that currently exist at the stockpile sites. In fact, it will help facilitate the safe and secure destruction of U.S. chemical weapons and preparations for CWC implementation.

The U.S. chemical weapons stockpile consists of 30,599.55 tons of unitary (single component) agent and 680.19 tons of binary components. Specific information on the type and number of items and tonnage stored at each site is shown on the attached stockpile lists. Changes will occur as chemical weapons are destroyed at chemical demilitarization facilities.

Declassifying chemical weapons stockpile information will allow local citizens, citizen's advisory groups, state and federal regulators, contractors, and others involved in the chemical weapons destruction process access to more specific chemical weapons stockpile data. This will both save money and gain efficiencies. For many years this stockpile of chemical weapons served as an effective deterrent to

the use of such weapons by others against our armed forces. With the end of the Cold War and advances in global disarmament, this deterrent stockpile is no longer needed nor does its composition and location require secrecy.

"Providing this information to the public, particularly in the communities where these

weapons are stored, will provide a better basis for informed discussion concerning their current storage and destruction," said Army Maj. Gen. Robert D. Orton, Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

The Army, under Congressional mandate to destroy the stockpile by 2004, has an

operating destruction facility at Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. To date, the Johnston facility has successfully destroyed through incineration more than two million pounds of nerve and mustard agent, which represents approximately one- quarter of the total stockpile of agent stored on the island. More than 72,000 M- 55 rockets, 45,000 projectiles, 3,000 bombs, and 134 one- ton containers have been destroyed there. Another destruction facility will begin operating at Tooele, Utah, in the next few months.

Destruction at the seven other sites is scheduled to begin over the next few years. These

sites are Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.; Anniston Army Depot, Ala.; Blue Grass Army Depot,

Ky.; Newport Army Ammunition Plant, Ind.; Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark.; Pueblo Army Depot

Activity, Colo.; and Umatilla Depot Activity, Ore. In addition to incineration, the Army continues to research and evaluate alternative methods of destruction for the disposal of the chemical agents at the bulk-only stockpile storage sites.

In addition to the chemical weapons stockpile, several sites have other chemical items that are not part of the stockpile. These items contain what are referred to as non-stockpile and chemical defensive research agents. Information on quantities of these items is not classified and is being provided as part of this release to give U.S. citizens a complete picture of the total tonnage of agent in the U.S. chemical weapons inventory.

For more information, contact Bryan Whitman, Department of Defense Public Affairs,

(703) 697- 5131, Capt. Joseph Piek, Army Public Affairs, (703) 697- 7591, Ms. Jan Finegan, Army Materiel Command Public Affairs, (703) 617-0126, or Ms. Suzanne Fournier, Program Manager Chemical Demilitarization Public Affairs, (410) 671-1093.

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