DoD Recovered Chemical Warfare Material (RCWM) Program

Program Organization

The DoD Recovered Chemical Warfare Materiel (RCWM) Program is comprised of a variety of organizations with distinct responsibilities related to supporting explosives or munitions emergency responses to address known or suspected chemical warfare materiel (CWM), and the cleanup of munitions response sites (MRSs) and other locations known or suspected to contain CWM (referred to as CWM sites) located within the United States.

An overview of the organizations involved (see Figure 1 below) and their responsibilities during explosives or munitions emergencies and planned responses (cleanup) actions at CWM sites is provided below.

Organizational Roles

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, & Environment (ASA(IE&E)) 

DoD Directive 5101.17E, Roles and Responsibilities Associated with the Recovery of Chemical Warfare Material, assigns the Secretary of the Army (SA) as DoD’s Executive Agent (EA) for the RCWM Program. The SA further delegated the SA’s EA responsibilities to the ASA(IE&E).  The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health (DASA(ESOH)) fulfils these responsibilities on the ASA(IE&E)’s behalf.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health (DASA (ESOH)):

As such, DASA(ESOH), on behalf of the ASA(IE&E):

  • Provides senior leadership, policy, guidance, and centralized oversight of the RCWM Program;
  • Ensures cross-functional coordination with senior leadership in the Army, other DoD Components, the RCWM Program Execution Managers and, as appropriate, external stakeholders;
  • Ensures the cost-effective and efficient use of RCWM Program resources;
  • Ensures development and maintenance of an inventory of CWM sites, sites known or suspected to contain chemical agent identification sets (CAIS), and other locations of potential interest;
  • Approves the RCWM Program Annual Work Plan developed by the RCWM Program Integrating Office (IO) in coordination with the DoD Components’ Environmental Program Managers and RCWM Program Execution Organizations;
  • Approves identified requirements for RCWM Program research, development test and evaluation (RDT&E) efforts; and
  • Provides, through the Headquarters of the Department of the Army and the appropriate chain of command, oversight of the Center for Treaty Implementation and Compliance related activities to ensure compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).

RCWM Program Integrating Office (IO)

The RCWM Program IO:

  • Works, on behalf of DASA(ESOH), as the day-to-day integrator of the RCWM Program;
  • Implements, as directed by Office of the DASA(ESOH), direction for formulating and disseminating budgets, guidance, policies, resource allocations, and schedules;
  • Coordinates with RCWM Program Execution Organizations to ensure RCWM Program Support Functions are available to meet requirements;
  • Develops and maintains the CWM Site Inventory of those locations within the United States that are known or suspected to contain CWM or CAIS, and those CWM sites that have already reached the “response complete” milestone under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) and DoD Manual  4715.20;
  • Drafts RCWM Program Work Plan, coordinates submissions, policies, reports and schedules, as appropriate, with the DoD Components, assists in resolving comments, and provides recommendations for approval;
  • Participates in the DoD planning, programming, budgeting and execution process to help ensure adequate funding required for the RCWM Program Support Functions is identified and requested;
  • Monitors the impact of external requirements (e.g., support of Combatant Commands (CCMD), the U.S. Department of State (DoS)) for the RCWM Program Support Functions on the RCWM Program;
  • Assists the DoD EA for the RCWM Program, other RCWM Program organizations, and the DoD Components in communications with external stakeholders (e.g., U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), state and tribal regulatory agencies, and the public);
  • Serves as a subject matter expert for the RWCM Program;
  • Conducts and documents RCWM Program reviews and lessons learned to examine performance against established metrics, evaluates and recommends potential solutions to resolve concerns, and documents achievements;
  • Works with DoD Component organizations to identify technology gaps and develop RDT&E requirements.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) executes certain mission responsibilities for the RCWM Program on behalf of the DoD EA for the RCWM Program and the DoD Components. USACE Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Program responsibilities include the conduct of munitions responses involving CWM or CAIS. USACE’s Military Munitions Support Services encompasses the full spectrum of munitions-related response actions and other activities that USACE conducts to address unexploded ordnance, discarded military munitions, and munitions constituents (MC), including CWM.

USACE Chemical Warfare Materiel Design Center

USACE’s Huntsville Engineering and Support Center (USAESC), CWM design center executes projects involving CWM per applicable environmental regulations and policies. USACE’s CWM Design Center is the only USACE Design Center authorized to execute CWM response actions. For additional information, see USACE’s Engineering Pamphlet (EP) 75-1-3, Recovered Chemical Warfare Materiel (RCWM Response Process).

U.S. Army Materiel Command (AMC)

AMC executes mission responsibility for:

  • Assessment of CWM to determine its chemical agent fill;
  • Assessment, as appropriate, of munitions and certain material of interest to determine whether the fill is a chemical agent;
  • Destruction of such munitions and certain materials of interest determined to be RCWM;
  • Disposition of any hazardous waste resulting from the destruction of RCWM;
  • Sustainment and maintenance of required crews and equipment; and
  • RCWM Program management activities related to these functions.

AMC Chemical Materials Activity (CMA) Recovered Chemical Materiel Directorate (RCMD)

Chemical Materials Activity Recovered Chemical Warfare Materiel Directorate (CMA RCMD):

  • Plans, manages, and executes:
    • The assessment of munitions and certain materials of interest that contain an unknown liquid fill; and
    • The destruction of RCWM and certain CAIS in support of explosives or munitions emergency responses, and planned munitions responses;
  • Coordinates with the RCWM Program IO and, when required, with the DoD EA for the RCWM Program, the DoD Component Environmental Restoration Program managers and other RCWM Program executors;
  • Convenes and co-chairs the Material Assessment Review Board (MARB), and maintains a database of information concerning MARB determinations and recommendations;
  • Provides a National Inventory Control Point for RCWM;
  • Develops programmatic cost estimates for provision of the RCWM Program Support Functions;
  • Executes RDT&E in support of the RCWM Program; and
  • Sustains implementation of CWC treaty requirements and related reporting.

U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM)

FORSCOM prepares conventional forces to provide a sustained flow of trained and ready land power to CCMD in defense of the Nation at home and abroad. FORSCOM maintains a cadre of specialists to address various contingencies that may occur including encounters with CWM.

FORSCOM 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Command

The 20thCBRNE Command has a full-time focus on combating weapons of mass destruction, countering CBRNE threats and defeating improvised explosive devices. Among other functions, the 20th CBRNE Command’s CBRNE Analytical & Remediation Activity supports the RCWM Program on a reimbursable basis by providing technical expertise support for explosives or munitions emergency responses that involve munitions and certain materials of interest that contain an unknown liquid fill and supporting provision of the RCWM Program Support Functions.

U.S. Army Futures Command (AFC)

AFC’s Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Historical Office

The CCDC History Office

  • Provides subject matter expertise related to the history of the U.S. chemical warfare program;
  • Conducts or oversees archival research for the RCWM Program;
  • Acquires and preserves knowledge about the U.S. chemical warfare program by ensuring that documents, oral interviews, visual images, and other source materials pertaining to historically significant developments and events are placed in the historical research collection;
  • Advances knowledge through research to provide historical perspective and support to decision-making, military problem-solving, and materiel research and development; and
  • Disseminates the collected knowledge through printed, electronic, and multimedia formats that focus on historical themes and events.

Chemical Biological Center (CBC)

AFC’s CCDC Chemical Biological Center (CBC) provides the RCWM Program a variety of support, on a reimbursable basis, including:

  • Supporting planned responses at CWM sites;
  • Providing automated continuous monitoring systems to provide near real-time detection of airborne contaminants to ensure worker safety air monitoring;
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of decontamination efforts; and
  • Supporting CWM responses by managing and operating RCMD’s Explosive Destruction System (EDS) for the destruction of RCWM.

Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD)

Various OSD organizations are involved in overseeing the RCWM Program.  Among these organizations are:

DoD Component Defense Environmental Restoration Programs (DERP)

Each DoD Component maintains an Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) under DERP. These programs implement the requirements under 10 United States Code (U.S.C.), CHAPTER 160—Environmental Restoration (sections 2700-2711) and the delegated Presidential authorities in sections 9601-9675 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.).

The DoD Components execute munitions responses per CERCLA and the National Contingency Plan. Most responses to address military munitions, including CWM, fall under DoD’s Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP), one of three parts of DoD DERP. The RCWM Program supports the DoD Services in meeting their ERP obligations.

DoD Manual 4715.20, Defense Environmental Restoration Program provides additional information and DoD policies governing DERP.