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HISTORY

The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Acitivity (CMA) leads the world in chemical weapons destruction with a demonstrated history of safely storing, recovering, assessing and disposing of U.S. chemical weapons and related materials.

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U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity

From World War I to the mid-1960s, the United States produced mustard agents, also known as blister agents. Designed to incapacitate, these agents proved to be lethal with sufficient exposure. Following World War II to the mid-1960's, the United States produced lethal nerve agents (vx and GB or sarin) designed to affect the neuro-muscular system.

From 1953 to 1973, the Army produced the incapacitating agent BZ. From 1982 to 1991, the United States also developed and produced binary chemical weapons in response to Soviet chemical warfare advances. The United States produced these agents to deter other countries from using chemical weapons against U.S. troops.

In 1997, the United States ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Signed by 192 countries, the treaty prohibits development, production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and calls for their destruction, requiring demolition of production facilities and chemical samples. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, located in The Hague, Netherlands, oversees this worldwide initiative. Nationally, the program is monitored by the president, U.S. Congress, and federal, state and independent organizations.

Headquartered in Aberdeen Proving Ground-Edgewood Area in Maryland, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity (CMA) protects the nation's chemical weapons stockpile and safely eliminates stored and recovered materiel through the use of mobile technologies. CMA completed demolition of all of the nation's former chemical weapons production facilities.

For more information about the history of CMA and its accomplishments, view here:

 

End of Stockpile Elimination       

 

CBRN Expertise 


 

Historical photograph of women manufacturing chemical weapons

​In 1941, the War Department (now the Department of Defense) established Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas, to manufacture mustard and lewisite chemical agents and to assemble and load incendiary, pyrotechnic and chemical munitions.

Historical photograph of men field-testing several types of chemical munitions

​During World War I, the U.S. Army field-tested and used several types of chemical munitions. One of these munitions, the World War I Livens drum seen here, most commonly contained the chemicals phosgene (choking agent) and chloropicrin (tear agent).