Chemical Warfare:

DOD's Successful Effort to Remove U.S. Chemical Weapons From Germany

NSIAD-91-105: Published: Feb 13, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) plans and efforts for transporting U.S. chemical weapons from West Germany to Johnston Atoll for storage and eventual disposal, focusing on: (1) the removal plan's technical and operational risk and public safety; (2) moving costs; (3) the move's impact on Johnston Atoll; and (4) DOD efforts to produce an adequate binary chemical weapons stockpile prior to the move.

GAO found that: (1) DOD transferred the retrograde chemical munitions successfully, safely, and on schedule to Johnston Atoll; (2) the Army used special containers that improved retrograde safety but increased overall costs and threatened to jeopardize the mission schedule due to production and funding difficulties; (3) DOD repaired many retrograde shipping containers to meet United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and West German standards; (4) DOD specially modified ready reserve ships for retrograde activities to ensure crew safety and reduce risk; (5) the DOD environmental impact statement on the storage and destruction of chemical munitions at Johnston Atoll met mandated requirements; (6) retrograde activity costs totalled about $53 million and were about 26 percent over budget; (7) chemical munitions storage at Johnston Atoll was safe but failed to meet the Army's preferred guidelines; and (8) DOD reduced binary stockpile requirements due to changing political conditions.

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