DoDD 5101.17E, Roles and Responsibilities Associated with the Recovery of Chemical Warfare Material, dated 11 May 2016 with Change 3, May 9 2018, assigns the Secretary of the Army (SA) as the DoD Executive Agent (EA) for the RCWM Program. The SA delegated the EA responsibilities to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment (ASA(IE&E)). The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health (DASA(ESOH)) fulfills these responsibilities on behalf of ASA(IE&E). The consolidation of responsibilities for this Program, under the Army, provides for consistency in DoD’s approach, avoids duplicating programs and aids with the efficient use of limited resources.
The RCWM Program, which maintains critical DoD capabilities (i.e., the RCWM Program Support Functions), provides a wide range of support for the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) as DoD seeks to address locations known or suspected to contain chemical warfare materiel (CWM). Initially, the RCWM Program was intended to focus on the recovery and destruction of buried CWM; however, the Army understood that the intent was to address every situation in which the RCWM Program Support Functions would be required to address recovered CWM, regardless of the circumstances of recovery. As such, the Army recommended and Office of the Secretary of Defense agreed the RCWM Program be expanded to provide a comprehensive approach for addressing recovered CWM, including CWM that are discarded military munitions (DMM) or unexploded ordnance (UXO), munitions and certain materials of interest that contain an unknown liquid fill, contaminated debris or environmental media posing a chemical agent-hazard, and chemical agent identification sets (CAIS). Additionally, on a cost-reimbursable basis, the RCWM Program Support Functions are provided to other DoD programs, and, subject to DoD approval, Combatant Commands and the Department of State.
Secretary of the Army Memorandum: Delegation of Authority for Department of Defense Executive Agent Responsibility for the Recovered Chemical Warfare Material Program Within the United States. February 17, 2021.
Secretary of the Army. Memorandum: Delegation of Authority for Department of Defense Executive Agent Responsibility for Recovery of Chemical Warfare Material Program Within the United States. March 2, 2018.
Secretary of the Army (SA) Memorandum: Designation of Responsibility for Recovery and Destruction of Buried Chemical Warfare Material, dated 20 September 2007 and enclosure: Recovered Chemical Warfare Materiel Program Implementation Plan, dated July 2007.
Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology and Logistics). Memorandum: Final Implementation Plan for the Recovery and Destruction of Buried Chemical Warfare Materiel. March 10, 2010.
National Academy of Science. Systems and Technologies for the Treatment of Non-Stockpile Chemical Warfare Material. 2002.
Guides and Information
Defense Environment, Safety and Occupational Health Network and Information Exchange, 3Rs Explosives Safety Education Web site. Fact Sheet: Chemical Agent Identification Sets. November 2014.
RCWM Program Integrating Office. RCWM Program Installation Guide. March 2018.
Fact Sheet: Explosive Destruction System Overview. February 2023.
Fact Sheet: Single CAIS Access and Neutralization System. 2016.
Fact Sheet: Milestones in U.S. Chemical Weapons Storage and Destruction. February 2021.
Fact Sheet: RCMD Overview. April 2023.
Fact Sheet: Materiel Assessment Review Board (MARB). May 2021.
Relevant Laws and Regulations