Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program Review

NSIAD-95-66R: Published: Jan 12, 1995. Publicly Released: Jan 12, 1995.

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GAO reviewed the test results and operations of the Army's prototype chemical weapons incinerator. GAO noted that the: (1) Army's life-cycle budget estimate is understated by $113 million and is likely to increase by as much as $348 million because of operational unknowns; and (2) Army is planning to spend about $17.7 million to procure dunnage incinerator equipment that has not been fully tested and for which alternative options are being considered.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Army reevaluated factors affecting cost and schedule projections and issued a revised life-cycle cost estimate and disposal schedule on April 15, 1996. The Army estimates that the program will cost $12.4 billion and take until December 2004 to complete. This is a continuous process on the part of the Army. The Army plans to issue revised cost and schedule estimates reflecting actual disposal experience at the Johnston Atoll and Tooele disposal facilities in March 1997.

    Recommendation: Because cost estimates to destroy the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile continue to increase and the current $11-billion estimate is understated, the Secretary of the Army should develop revised program cost estimates and schedules that accurately reflect actual experience demonstrated during sustained 24-hour-per-day operations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Army believes that the dunnage incinerator meets its requirement to process both agent-contaminated and noncontaminated dunnage and postponement of its acquisition is not warranted. As a result, the Army does not intend to act on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: Because cost estimates to destroy the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile continue to increase and the current $11-billion estimate is understated, the Secretary of the Army should postpone acquisition of dunnage incineration equipment until alternative waste management practices are fully evaluated, and the operational effectiveness and need for the current equipment are demonstrated.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Army

 

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