Homeland Security:

Posthearing Questions Related to the Department of Defense's Management of the Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction Program

GAO-04-362R: Published: Jan 5, 2004. Publicly Released: Jan 5, 2004.

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Pursuant to a request by the Chairman and a Member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, House Committee on Armed Services, GAO responded to post-hearing questions concerning on DOD's Chemical Agents and Munitions Destruction Program.

Our previous work has shown that the division in the program's structure between the ACWA program and the chemical stockpile destruction program has contributed to ineffective coordination and communication, inefficient efforts, and obscured accountability. As long as this separation exists between ACWA and the rest of the program, the management structure will remain complex and difficult to manage. We believe that consolidating these two programs could result in some improvements in program management, provided that the consolidated program also develops and implements an overarching strategy and implementation plan. While consolidation should provide a number of benefits, these benefits will be limited if the program does not successfully develop a roadmap for success. Consolidating the two programs requires amending existing legislation mandating independent management of the ACWA program and directing the program manager for ACWA to manage the chemical demilitarization activities at Blue Grass and Pueblo Depot. The amount of funding provided from the Army to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for enhancing emergency preparedness for the communities surrounding the stockpile at Anniston, Alabama has grown substantially since the $46 million cited in our 1996 report. In 2001, we reported the total amount of funding provided to the state of Alabama had increased to about $108 million--an increase of about $62 million from 1996. However, Alabama was still lacking five critical items that would require additional funding. According to FEMA officials, about another $74 million will have been directly provided to Alabama by the end of fiscal year 2003--for a total of about $182 million for fiscal years 1989-2003. In addition to the funding provided directly to Alabama, FEMA has provided funding for federally managed contracts on behalf of Alabama and to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for collective protection constuction projects in Alabama. According to FEMA, it has provided $63.6 million during fiscal years 1989-2003 for this indirect support which, when added to the direct funding mentioned above, totals about $246 million. This funding support has contributed to improvements in the status of community preparedness in Alabama. However, more funding than what is currently planned for Alabama may be needed to fully correct problems. GAO's work performed since the mid-1990s related to CSEPP managagement issues have shown that, at the federal level, the Army and FEMA have made significant progress in correcting management weaknesses, although there have been setbacks along the way. Since 1996, our work has not specifically focused on management issues related to the Anniston site, however, information concerning Anniston was included in our body of CSEPP work.

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