Chemical Weapons Disposal Program Passes Cost Review
Friday, June 17, 2011
The U.S. Defense Department program to eliminate chemical weapons stockpiles in Colorado and Kentucky has passed a key cost assessment that enables it to continue operations, the Richmond, Ky., Register reported on Thursday (see GSN, Feb. 4).
The Nunn-McCurdy rule requires Congress to be informed when a Pentagon operation goes 25 percent above original cost estimates. The program must be terminated if the Defense Department does not guarantee the effort is "essential to national security," that no less-expensive options would provide the same capability, that the updated cost projection is "reasonable," and that existing administrative mechanisms are able to limit spending, according to previous reports.
The Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program is overseeing construction and eventual operation of neutralization facilities at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado.
Principal Deputy Defense Undersecretary Frank Kendall stated in a Dec. 16, 2010, letter to lawmakers that
the initiative's program acquisition unit expense was set to surpass its $8 billion baseline assessment by no less than 25 percent.
T he Chemical Destruction Citizen Advisory Board in Kentucky learned of the successful review during a meeting on Tuesday (Bill Robinson, Richmond Register, June 16).
The ACWA program is today expected to require 33 percent more funding than initially anticipated, the Pueblo Chieftain reported.
Spending increases have been connected partly to delays in past years on moving ahead with the project and to the difficulty in assessing expenses of employing the novel chemical agent neutralization systems at the two bases.
The Kentucky depot houses 523 tons of chemical warfare materials, while its Colorado counterpart stores 2,611 tons of mustard blister agent (John Norton, Pueblo Chieftain, June 17).