CMA oversees the secure storage of the Nation’s chemical agent and munitions at chemical depots across the country, ensuring the chemical agents and munitions are safely protected and monitored. To accomplish this, chemical agents and munitions are housed in designated storage areas and specially designed earth-covered magazines, commonly referred to as storage igloos or bunkers located on highly secure military installations where all Department of Defense and Army safety and security regulations are followed.
CMA manages the National Inventory Control Point and National Maintenance Point to ensure that CMA maintains the stockpile in accordance with Army regulatory guidance during storage. The igloos are specially constructed with many security and safety measures and processes, designed for the storage of chemical agents, ammunition and explosives. The igloos help keep chemical agents and munitions secure and protected from natural forces or man-made threats. Among the many security and safety procedures conducted are routine and random around-the-clock patrols to verify the security of chemical agent storage areas.
Crews conduct regular, routine visual inspections of the munitions to ensure that safe storage practices are maintained and the physical condition of the igloo will continue to protect the chemical munitions. When entering an area where chemical munitions are stored, work crews operate under the “two man rule”—a minimum of two specially trained personnel work together inside any area where chemical agent is stored or accessible. Storage sites are also subjected to external inspections conducted on a regular basis by the Technical Secretariat for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Department of Army Inspector General and the U.S. Army Materiel Command.
In addition to inspections, mobile munitions in Real Time Analytical Platforms (RTAP) conduct low level monitoring of the air inside each igloo. Any time a leak is detected, even small vapor leaks, audible and visual alarms prompt immediate action to prevent a release of chemical agent to the environment. Large negative pressure filters are attached to the igloo. The source of the leak is isolated and either corrected or the munition is overpacked in a vapor tight steel container. Overpacked munitions are moved to specially designated igloos and subjected to increased monitoring and inspection.
Security measures include, but are not limited to, restricted access, barriers and high-tech security locks, as well as security checkpoints, site-wide video monitoring and alarm/warning systems. Workers take every precaution to ensure that stored chemical agent and munitions remain safe and secure.
Security and storage personnel undergo rigorous background checks and receive continuous training to ensure that they can safely and efficiently protect and handle stored chemical weapons. Regularly scheduled exercises conducted at each storage site review emergency response procedures and test security and storage personnel, ensuring that they are properly trained and can respond appropriately to any threat to, or unlikely incident/accident involving stored chemical agents and weapons.
Commitment to Safety
CMA is fully committed to the safety of the public, its workforce and the environment. CMA will continue to ensure that chemical agent and muntions stockpiles remain safely and securely stored until they are demilitarized.