Chemical Weapon Stockpile:

Army's Emergency Preparedness Program Has Been Slow to Achieve Results

NSIAD-94-91: Published: Feb 22, 1994. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Army's Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), focusing on: (1) CSEPP progress in improving the emergency preparedness capabilities of communities near chemical weapon storage sites; and (2) the effectiveness of CSEPP management.

GAO found that: (1) communities near chemical weapon storage sites are not prepared to respond to a chemical emergency despite the Army's efforts to provide communities with emergency response capabilities; (2) the Army estimates that CSEPP will cost $696 million through 2003; (3) communities lack guidance for responding to a chemical emergency because the Army has not completely identified the risks to civilian populations of chemical accidents that cross installation boundaries; (4) CSEPP officials estimate that CSEPP guidance will not be completed until March 1994; (5) CSEPP has incurred delays in acquiring and installing essential equipment due to unrealistic plans and schedules and problems in developing state-of-the art systems; (6) CSEPP management weaknesses have contributed to program delays; (7) CSEPP management is complicated by the need to work with various state, local, and federal officials; (8) the Army's overall management approach has not been effective and has resulted in unclear management responsibility, uncoordinated activities, and weak controls over funds; and (9) the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not provided the Army with adequate financial management information to evaluate CSEPP progress.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, the Department of the Army restructured the overall management of CSEPP and established the CSEPP Core Team Office, which includes FEMA and Army staff, in the Office of Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization. In addition, DOD has designated the Army's chemical demilitarization program, including CSEPP, as a major defense acquisition program. The designation requires the Army to: (1) develop a new CSEPP cost and schedule baseline; (2) prepare quarterly CSEPP Defense Acquisition Executive Summaries; and (3) submit annual CSEPP acquisition reports to Congress. The new CSEPP cost and schedule baseline was completed in September 1995. According to CSEPP officials, they will continue to revise and update the cost and schedule baseline when changes occur in the program.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should determine the realism of existing milestones, resource needs, and barriers to achieving goals for each CSEPP initiative. Using this information, the Secretary should establish new baseline milestones for each initiative and require periodic progress reviews by the Army official designated with responsibility for the program.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to the recommendation, the Department of the Army restructured the overall management of CSEPP and established the CSEPP Core Team office, which includes FEMA and Army staff, in the Chemical and Biological Defense Command. The Army also streamlined procedures, took actions to improve responsiveness to the states and counties, and enhanced the budget process.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Army should change CSEPP committee structure to establish a single focal point of accountability within the Army to implement the program and to coordinate with FEMA and other agencies as needed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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