Funds for demilitarization drop more than 30 percent.
The war on terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act and U.S. armed forces' efforts to improve their ability to fight similar wars in the future are cuffing into the Pentagon's program of scrapping its stockpiles of obsolete, unwanted and dangerous conventional ammunition.
As the services have struggled to modernize their weapons systems, funding for disposal of obsolete munitions--known as demilitarization de·mil·i·ta·rize
tr.v. de·mil·i·ta·rized, de·mil·i·ta·riz·ing, de·mil·i·ta·riz·es
1. To eliminate the military character of.
2. , or demil for short--has declined. Funds for conventional demil have dropped from a peak of $106 million per year in 1995 to $73 million in 2002, said James Q. Wheeler, director of the U.S. Arm/s Defense Ammunition Center. Now, with a war on, funding apparently is headed even lower.
"In fiscal year 2003, it's projected to be $50 million," he told National Defense. "That's going to be a tremendous challenge for us."
Wheeler's center--located at the McAlister Army Ammunition Plant, near Tulsa, Okla.--conducts munitions-related training and research for all of the armed services The Constitution authorizes Congress to raise, support, and regulate armed services for the national defense. The President of the United States is commander in chief of all the branches of the services and has ultimate control over most military matters. .
Currently, the stockpile of conventional ammunition includes more than 453,000 tons of outdated bullets, bombs, artillery shells, torpedoes and missiles, he said. Much of the material in the stockpile today was manufactured as long ago as World War II. Large portions of it are unstable and must be handled, stored and discarded with care, he said.
War materiel, especially weapons and ammunition. Often used in the plural.
tr.v. mu·ni·tioned, mu·ni·tion·ing, mu·ni·tions
To supply with munitions. are consigned to the stockpile as they are replaced by more technologically advanced versions, Wheeler explained. The process has picked up speed since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent shrinkage of the services, he noted.
"Since 1985, the Army has demilitarized more than 1 million tons of conventional ammunition," Wheeler explained. But during that same period, "almost 1.7 million tons have entered the demilitarization stockpile."
Within the next decade, "the forecast is that nearly 1 million tactical missiles will require demilitarization," Wheeler said. Additionally, he said, increased numbers of strategic rocker motors and nuclear weapons may need to be dismantled.
These munitions come from all military services and other government agencies, such as the Energy Department, which is responsible for dismantling nuclear weapons, Wheeler explained. The Army, selected as the Defense Department's manager of conventional ammunition, is responsible for disposing of obsolete non-nuclear items, he noted.
This effort is managed by the Army Material Command's deputy chief of staff for ammunition, in Alexandria, Va., with a ream at the Operations Support Command, in Rock Island, Ill., running day-to-day operations, Wheeler said.
Conventional demil activities are conducted primarily at a dozen or so Army ammunition plants, depots and arsenals around the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .
Until recently, most of the work was done by the services.
The traditional way of disposing of munitions was by open burning or open detonation. Known as OB/OD OB/OD Open Burn/Open Detonation (demolition of unsereviceable and obsolete munitions) , this method consists of burning or exploding old ammunition in open sites designated for the purpose.
In recent years, however, OB/OD--which involves release of toxic fumes fumes
odorous gases and other volatile materials; inhalation of irritating fumes causes coughing and, if sufficiently severe, irreversible pulmonary edema. into the atmosphere--has come into conflict with increasingly strict federal environmental, health and safety regulations, Wheeler pointed out.
Also, outright destruction of obsolete munitions increasingly is seen as wasteful, because many of them contain valuable materials that can be recycled. Recyclable materials in ammunition include lead projectiles, brass cartridges and even explosives--known in the industry as energetics--such as gunpowder and TNT TNT: see trinitrotoluene.
in full trinitrotoluene
Pale yellow, solid organic compound made by adding nitrate (−NO2) groups to toluene. .
With this in mind, the Army in 1995 began to move away from open burning and detonation toward a program of resource recovery and recycling--known as "R3" or "R cubed"--as the primary way of disposing of ammunition. The R-cubed process rakes ammunition (the resource), disassembles it, retains valuable components (recovery) and finds new uses for those parts (recycling).
Disposing of explosive material
(body) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - (LLNL) A research organaisatin operated by the University of California under a contract with the US Department of Energy. at Berkley and the Indian Head Indian Head, town (1991 pop. 1,827), SE Sask., Canada, E of Regina. In a wheat-growing region, it has flour mills and grain elevators. A dominion experimental and forestry farm is in the town. Division of the Navy Surface Warfare That portion of maritime warfare in which operations are conducted to destroy or neutralize enemy naval surface forces and merchant vessels. Also called SUW. Center, in Maryland, researchers have developed a molten salt Molten salt may refer to:
This procedure neutralizes explosive wastes by immersing them in a molten-salt bath at about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, converting organic parts of the waste into non-hazardous steam, carbon dioxide carbon dioxide, chemical compound, CO2, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is about one and one-half times as dense as air under ordinary conditions of temperature and pressure. and nitrogen. Inorganic parts, such as metal, remain in the bath, where they can be removed for later recycling.
Livermore has built molten-salt facilities for the Energy Department in Richland, Wash.; the Alt Force at Eglin Alt Force Base, Fla., and the Army in Korea. Another such unit is scheduled to open sometime this year at the Blue Grass Army Depot Blue Grass Army Depot is a chemical weapon and standard munitions storage facility located at Richmond, Kentucky, operated by the United States Army. It stores a small stockpile of chemical agents, comprising 523 tons of nerve agents GB (sarin) and VX, and mustard gas, or about two in Kentucky.
General Atomics General Atomics is a nuclear physics and defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, California. Among other things, it is the manufacturer of the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). , of San Diego, has come up with a munitions-disposal process called cryofracture. It involves cooling the munition in liquid nitrogen, until the casing becomes brittle and can be cracked open in a hydraulic press. The explosives then can be removed for disposal or recycling. Thousands of explosives have been cryofractured at the Army's Dugway Proving Ground Dugway Proving Ground (DPG) is a US Army facility located approximately 85 miles (140 km) southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah in southern Tooele County. It encompasses 801,505 acres (3,243.576 km², or 1,252. , in Utah. A $6 million cryofracrure plant, under construction at McAlister, is scheduled for completion in 2004.
As such technologies emerge, recycling of munitions is growing, Wheeler said. A decade ago, 87 percent of surplus ammunition was destroyed, he noted. Now, 68 percent is recycled. The Army eventually plans to recycle 75 percent.
In 2001, Congress directed the Army to study the feasibility and costs of eliminating OB/OD altogether. The study found that nearly 95 percent of all OB/OD could be replaced with an 18 percent cost increase, Wheeler said. To do away with all open burning and detonation would increase costs by 32 percent, he noted.
As recycling increases, the Army is relying more and more upon private contractors to do the work, Wheeler explained. A total of 55 percent of the demilitarization budget now is paid to contractors.
Developing technologies to recycle ammunition and other explosive material takes more time available in the usual one-year contract, Wheeler said. Thus, the Army has begun awarding simplified, five-year compacts, known as "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity," or IDIQ IDIQ Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (contracting/procurement) contracts. Since 1999, the Army has awarded a flurry of such contracts to two teams, one headed by General Dynamics Ordnance Systems, of Burlington, Vt., and another led by PB/Nammo Demil LLC (Logical Link Control) See "LANs" under data link protocol.
LLC - Logical Link Control , of New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of , a partnership of U.S. and Nordic companies.
In 2001, General Dynamics won a $9.8 million job in March, followed by one for $11.7 million in August. Simultaneously, PB/Nammo received awards for $10.7 million and $9.8 million.
The work is for the demilitarization of nine families of conventional ammunition, including pyrotechnics pyrotechnics (pī'rōtĕk`nĭks, pī'rə–), technology of making and using fireworks. Gunpowder was used in fireworks by the Chinese as early as the 9th cent. , bombs, high-explosive cartridges, improved conventional munitions Munitions characterized by the delivery of two or more antipersonnel or antimateriel and/or antiarmor submunitions by a warhead or projectile. , bulk propellants, fuzes and small-caliber ammunition.
Both General Dynamics and PB/Nammo have assembled reams of subcontractors to complete the jobs.
The General Dynamics team includes: General Atomics; Arrow Tech, of South Burlington, Vt.; Hitech, in Camden, Ark; ICI (language) ICI - An extensible, interpretated language by Tim Long with syntax similar to C. ICI adds high-level garbage-collected associative data structures, exception handling, sets, regular expressions, and dynamic arrays. , in Joplin, Mo.; Primex, of Marion, Ill.; TPL 1. TPL - Table Producing Language. "The Bureau of Labor Statistics Table Producing Language (TPL)", R.C. Mendelssohn, Proc ACM Annual Conf (1974).
2. TPL - Fleming Nielson. A concurrent functional language.
3. , in Albuquerque, N.M.; ESE ESE
Noun 1. ESE - the compass point midway between east and southeast
east southeast , in Salt Lake City; Alliant Techsystems, in Hopldns, Minn., and EBV EBV Epstein-Barr virus.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
A virus in the herpes family that causes mononucleosis. , from Germany.
PB/Nammo's subcontractors include the Army's McAlester plant, plus: Crane Army Ammunition Activity, in Crane, Ind.; Tooele Ammunition Depot, in Tooele, Utah; El Dorado Engineering Inc., in Salt Lake City Indiana Ordnance Works, in Charlestown, Ind.; and QuantiTech Inc., in Huntsville, Ala.
Although McAlisrer is a subcontractor in the PB/Nammo team, officials at the Army plant last year complained to the Defense Department inspector general that the service was contracting our demil work, while the capacity for such work at its own ammunition plants is underused. At the end of 2000, "the unused industrial capacity of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant was 86 percent," according to an audit by the inspector general.
Some of the contracts required ammunition to be shipped from the service's storage facilities in the United States to contractor locations in Germany, Norway and Sweden, Army officials complained.
The audit of three Army facilities--McAlister; Rock Island Arsenal The Rock Island Arsenal comprises 946 acres (3.8 km²), located on Arsenal Island in the Mississippi River between Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island, Illinois. The island was originally established as a government site in 1816 - with the building of Fort Armstrong. , Ill., and Watervliet Arsenal, N.Y.-found that a recent pilot program encouraging such plants to sell products and services to contractors who provide weapons systems to the military services "has been only minimally successful."
From 1998, when the program began, to January of 2001, the three facilities received only 12 contracts, valued at $6 million, according to the audit. One of these was a five-year, $5.2 million job awarded to McAlister.
Nevertheless, the auditors recommended that the pilot program be extended. They noted that Congress and the Army have been making efforts to improve the program.
Also, the report said: "Overall, the pilot program is beneficial to [the Defense Department] and the military industrial base. "The [department] benefits, because the pilot program eliminates an impediment to obtaining work for the Army industrial facilities. The military industrial base benefits, because it can contract or partner directly with an Army industrial facility for needed articles and services."
Any increased work for the plants, the report noted, would use idle capacity, reduce overhead costs overhead costs
see fixed costs. and result in lower prices to customers. "More importantly, the added work would aid the retention of critical manufacturing skills that are being lost because of the lack of work at the industrial facilities," the report said.
The war on terrorism is a major new complication for the demil program. For one thing, money is being poured into paying for the war, rather than routine defense operations, such as demil.
Another concern, after the terrorist attacks of last fall, is the security of the stockpiles, said Wheeler. It is hard to protect, because it is huge and spread out all over the country he said.
"The size of the stockpile is about the same as the all of the ammunition that we shipped to the Gulf War," he said. "It is a drain on our pipeline. It's a vulnerability to our force protection and a constant strain on our resources. It's a challenge that isn't going to go away."
Current Stokpiles of Obsolete Conventional Munitions Type Tons Bulk high-explosives 2,264 Bulk propellants and black powder 11,123 Demolition materials 2,368 Depleted uranium 7,235 Fuzzes 10,725 Guided missiles, tactical 24,752 Hexachlorolethane 481 High-explosive bombs 49,070 High-explosive cartridges 44,230 High-explosive components/devices 4,420 High-explosive "D" 32,790 High-explosive depth charges and underwater munitions 16,136 High-explosive grenades 652 High-explosive improved conventional munitions/cluster bomb units and submunitions 90,188 High-explosive land mines 3,033 High-explosive projectiles and warheads 24,204 High-explosive rockets 1,158 Incendiary/thermite 1,867 Inert 10,966 Large rocket motors 65 Miscellaneous and incinerable munitions and components 7,308 Propellant charges and increments 55,489 Propellant munitions/components 25,874 Pyrotechnics/illumination/ non-frag/tracers 10,589 Small-caliber ammunition 4,265 Smoke (hexachlorolethane, colored, sulfur trioxide in chlorosulfonic acid, red phosphorous) 667 Smoke (Riot Control) 1,586 Smoke (white phosphorous or plasticized white phosphorous) 6,814 Spotting dyes 300 Torpedoes 2,221 Variety of unidentifiable ammunition and components 165 TOTAL 453,005 Source: Defense Ammunition Center