An Overview of the U.S. Army Demilitarization Program, the Demilitarization Stockpile, and Factors Bearing on the Program
In 2008, the Department of Defense (DoD) designated the Secretary of the Army as the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition (SMCA; DoD, 2008). Part of SMCA’s mission is to “perform life-cycle management for demilitarization of conventional ammunition for the Department of Defense.”1 Policy and oversight of SMCA’s activities is delegated to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. The designated SMCA executor is the Program Executive Office Ammunition, located at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey (Joint Ordnance Commanders Group, 2017). As SMCA, the Army has responsibility for demilitarization of excess,2 obsolete,3 or unserviceable4 munitions for all of the military services. Specifically, responsibility rests with the Office of Product Manager for Demilitarization, which is subordinate to Project Director, Joint Services (Figure 2.1).
Day-to-day management of the conventional munition demilitarization enterprise is conducted by the product director for demilitarization (PD Demil) based in Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, and execution is coordinated between the Joint Munitions Command (JMC), which owns the seven depots where the conventional munitions stockpile is stored, and the Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM), which makes decisions on the demilitarization of rockets and missiles (Figure 2.1). JMC manages greater than 90 percent by weight of the demilitarization stockpile consisting of “conventional” munitions such as bombs, mines, and artillery projectiles. AMCOM manages the stockpile of rockets and missiles, which make up about 10 percent by weight of the demilitarization stockpile. JMC and AMCOM coordinate to determine the combination of conventional munitions and rockets and missiles that are to be demilitarized in a given year.
Note that only the seven JMC stockpile storage depots shown in Figure 2.1 and commercial facilities under contract with DoD are considered to be part of the conventional munitions demilitarization enterprise. Other JMC installations, including munitions production facilities such as the Radford, Holston, Milan, and Iowa Army Ammunition Plants, are not considered part of the demilitarization enterprise and are not within PD Demil’s managerial purview. However, all of the installations shown in Figure 2.1 have permitted open burning or open detonation (OB or OD) units. In fact, as of March 2017, 35 DoD installations, including storage, manufacturing, research, development, testing, evaluation, and training facilities, had permitted OB or OD units.5
1 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, “Demilitarization Overview for National Academy of Sciences,” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
2 A munition is considered as excess if there is more of the item in inventory than required for current training or operational plan needs. The Army expresses this information in the Total Army Munitions Requirement (TAMR). If there is more of an item in storage than required by the TAMR, the overage is considered excess. Considerable inventory of select munitions may be retained in field service accounts for training needs. Other services have a similar process. As the TAMR changes to reflect new operational and training requirements, the number of munitions deemed to be excess fluctuates. PD Demil told the committee that munitions are being placed into and taken out of the stockpile all the time.
3 A munition is considered obsolete if the weapon system that fired that munition is no longer in service (for example, 8-inch artillery projectiles) or if improved munitions have been developed and fielded in sufficient quantities such that the older munitions are no longer required (one example is new tank projectiles that make existing projectiles obsolete).
4 A munition is considered unserviceable for the Army if it is assigned a condition code other than A-E (A means fully serviceable; E means requiring only a limited expense or effort to restore; and codes continue through the letter N). The Air Force and Navy have separate definitions for what they consider serviceable, but they are still based on condition codes. Condition codes are determined and assigned by Quality Assurance Specialist (Ammunition Surveillance) (QASAS) personnel.
5 J.C. King, director for Munitions and Chemical Matters, HQDA, ODASA(ESOH), “DoD Open Burn and Open Detonation (OB/OD),” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
As of September 30, 2017, the demilitarization stockpile (designated the “B5A account”) consisted of 430,987 tons of materiel, including 402,834 tons of conventional munitions and 28,153 tons of rockets and missiles (Figure 2.2). There are more than 7,000 individual types of munitions in the stockpile, each identified by a unique Department of Defense Identification Code (DODIC). The top 10 DODICs, which comprise 32 percent of the stockpile by weight, are shown in Figure 2.3.
Munitions are typically complex systems that include propellant, fuzing with a detonator, and a casing that holds the high explosives. Some munitions are designed to hold and dispense submunitions that have their own fuzing and explosives. For example, DODIC munitions D563 and D864 (the second and third munitions shown in Figure 2.3), comprising greater than 10 percent of the stockpile, are “dual-purpose improved conventional munitions” with projectiles designed to eject and distribute submunitions for anti-armor and anti-personnel effects. Other components requiring special disposal procedures include depleted uranium and smoke-producing munitions. The Army maintains a Munition Items Disposition Action System (MIDAS) database containing details on the composition of the various munitions. The motivation for the development of MIDAS was to facilitate permitting of OB/OD units as well as to reduce the use of OB/OD through reclamation, recycling, and reuse (R3).6
6 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, “Munitions Items Disposition Action System (MIDAS),” presentation to the committee, December 11, 2017.
Each year, new excess, obsolete, and unserviceable munitions are placed into the demilitarization stockpile. Figures 2.4 and 2.5 show the total inflow (termed “generations” by the Army) of rockets and missiles, and conventional munitions respectively into the stockpile at the end of each fiscal year from FY2008 to FY2017. Rockets and missiles are typically accounted for by number, while the quantity of conventional munitions is typically denominated in tons. Also shown are the quantities that had been expected and planned for in each fiscal year for comparison.
Over the past 5 years, the average number of rockets and missiles added to the stockpile was about 86,600 per year, while the average quantity of conventional munitions added was 53,700 tons per year. While planned-for and actual additions to the stockpile have sometimes diverged substantially in the past, especially in FY2009 when a large number of TOW missile training devices were added to the demilitarization account with little notice, PD Demil believes that in recent years the agreement between the two has improved, and believes that this is not a major concern for the future.7 According to PD Demil, accurate planning with regard to generations of course enables greater efficiency in allocating resources and manpower to execute the demilitarization workload.
Figure 2.6 shows the net demilitarization stockpile of both conventional munitions and rockets and missiles (the latter converted from count by number to tons) remaining at the end of the fiscal years 2008-2017. After reaching a peak at the end of FY2011, the net stockpile has declined by an average of about 5 percent (28,000 tons) per year from FY2011-FY2017.
As mentioned above, the demilitarization stockpile is stored at seven depot locations around the continental United States, as shown in Figure 2.7. These seven sites, along with the associated industrial sites shown in Figure 2.7, are the focus of this report.
Stockpile munitions may be treated at one of the stockpile sites, whether by OB/OD or by an alternative technology, or they may be shipped to a contractor site for treatment with an alternative technology. According to PD Demil, contractor sites are not authorized by the Army to treat munitions by OB/OD.
7Strategic Plan: For the Demilitarization Enterprise, document provided to the committee by J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, via e-mail on May 25, 2018.
Six of the seven stockpile storage sites are government owned and government operated (GOGO). The exception is Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, which is government owned and contractor operated (GOCO). The munition production plants shown above in Figure 2.1, which are not part of the conventional munitions demilitarization program but do conduct OB/OD, are GOCOs. According to the director of public and Congressional affairs, JMC, due in part to the steady encroachment of development and population near these GOCO ammunition plants and the quantity of material they treat by OB, these OB operations have been the focus of more opposition from neighbors and public interest groups than OB operations at the stockpile depots, which burn less material and tend to be more isolated.8
Figure 2.8 shows the annual funding for the Army’s conventional munitions demilitarization program from FY2008 to FY2018.
Overall funding increased from $134 million in FY2008 to about $251 million in FY2018, although funding has been highly variable over the years. The Army projects that the demilitarization stockpile will begin growing again because additions to the stockpile will exceed the quantities that can be demilitarized with the funds provided (DoDIG, 2017). The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (H.R. 5515), in reconciliation as this report was completed, granted the Army request of $158 million for demilitarization activities.9
8 January 16, 2018, telephone interview with J. Barati, director of public and Congressional affairs, JMC, and the committee.
9 H.R.5515 - John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5515.
The demilitarization budget is split roughly half and half between organic operations (Army facilities and personnel) and contractor activities (Figure 2.9). PD Demil stated to the committee that the primary limitation on the quantity of munitions demilitarized is not technological capability or capacity, but rather budget.10 A December 2013 Army Audit Agency report by the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics (G-4) stated that the conventional munitions demilitarization program is considered a lower priority by the Army when compared to other needs, such as readiness and operations (GAO, 2015).
Finding 2-1. According to PD Demil, the primary factor determining the quantity of munitions demilitarized in a given year is the budget, not technological capacity or availability.
Overall demilitarization program funding includes a research, development, testing, and evaluation (RDT&E) program currently averaging about $17 million per year. The decision-making process for ranking research projects in the RDT&E program is discussed further below.
Figure 2.9 shows the funding allocation for various aspects of demilitarization execution plan for FY2017 and FY2018, including conventional munitions versus rockets and missiles, and contractors versus organic facilities.
Before munitions enter the demilitarization stockpile (the B5A account), there is a review process to determine whether they may be used for another purpose or sold, as depicted in Figure 2.10. Some munitions in the demilitarization stockpile can be diverted to other uses rather than being disposed of. For example, some artillery projectiles may be suitable for avalanche control operations. Some small-arms ammunition is sent to law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. And munitions can be given or sold to foreign governments for their use (Hrycak and Crank, 2015).
Formulation of the Army’s annual demilitarization plan begins with the use of a decision-support tool called the Demilitarization Optimizer (Figure 2.11). PD Demil indicates that the optimizer is designed to maximize the stockpile tonnage that can be demilitarized in a given year
10 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, “Clarifications on Demilitarization Policies and Procedures for National Academy of Sciences,” presentation to the committee on October 23, 2017.
given the assigned constraints, such as budget.11 Inputs to the program include mandates such as policies prioritizing the destruction of specific types of munitions and cost data including cost estimates of man-hours per ton. Minimizing cost-per-ton is not an assignable constraint, but rather is the optimization objective. The three most common constraints imposed are (1) Program Objective Memorandum dollars;12 (2) mandates, such as minimum tons that must be treated per location, MIDAS family, or treatment process; and (3) “no-ship” requirements for munitions designated for OB/OD or incineration.13 The no-ship constraints are placed in the optimizer to limit transportation of munitions between installations because transportation is considered a non-value-added activity, in addition to being costly. PD Demil estimates that the average transportation cost is $1,000/ton within the continental United States.14 According to PD Demil, conscious decisions are made to ship assets between organic installations, generally due to lack of capability at the existing site.15 Since alternative treatment technologies cost more than OB/OD per ton, the use of the optimizer alone will not prioritize the substitution of alternatives for OB/OD in the annual demilitarization workload.
According to the Army, demilitarization decisions about rockets and missiles are made separately using many of the same factors. Rocket and missile motors can pose a stability hazard in long-term storage as the stabilizer in the propellant grain degrades, but would be unlikely to rise to the top of the optimizer list based on gross weight alone. Nevertheless, PD Demil demilitarizes several types of rocket and missile motors each year, in part to remove potentially unstable motors from the stockpile as expeditiously as possible. The annual execution process is depicted in Figure 2.12.
As noted above, the Army’s demilitarization program maintains an RDT&E program of some $17 million per year (FY2017) for the exploration and enhancement of demilitarization technologies. There is a well-defined, multistep procedure for reviewing and selecting RDT&E projects (Figure 2.13) based on specific criteria. Central to the process is an integrated product team that evaluates the proposals quantitatively according to the set of criteria.
11 U.S. Army, “Demil PMR Optimizer Process,” presentation, May 2017.
12 A Program Objective Memorandum is a proposal from the Services and Defense Agencies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) concerning how they plan to allocate resources to accomplish their missions over the next 5 years.
13 U.S. Army, “Demil PMR Optimizer Process,” presentation given in May 2017.
14 This estimate includes shipping costs as well as the costs of removing the items from storage, preparing them for shipping, and then reversing the process on the receiving end. J. McFassel, PD Demil, in an e-mail to the committee on September 6, 2018.
15 May 9, 2018, conference call with J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, the committee, and Jim Myska, study director.
Three categories of criteria are used to prioritize proposed RDT&E projects for funding. Within each category, criteria are given a weighting from 1 to 5 (highest):16
- Financial: This includes degree to which demilitarization cost is reduced compared to the previous method, the total project cost, and return on investment;
- Execution: This includes the total tonnage affected in the stockpile, total length of the project, and the degree to which demilitarization throughput is increased; and,
- Technical: This includes the degree to which the project increases the technology readiness level or manufacturing readiness level of a technology, the degree to which it addresses a capability gap, the degree to which it increases efficiency, and the degree to which it is omnivorous—that is, possesses the ability to demilitarize multiple types of munitions with a single set of equipment or processes.
In FY2017, 21 RDT&E projects were being supported (Table 2.1). Note that all have some degree of maturity; PD Demil stated that it does not fund “science projects” under this program.
There is an indirect connection between the annual demilitarization program plan and the evaluation of RDT&E project proposals. Every 6 months, PD Demil conducts an analysis of the top 400 munitions in the stockpile (by weight), and this document serves as a source document for both the demilitarization optimizer (see Figure 2.10) and the RDT&E program.17 The Army tries to include at least one rocket or missile motor type in the RDT&E projects each year.18 Finding alternatives to OB/OD is not a criterion used in selecting RDT&E projects for funding.
Finding 2-2. Despite the Army’s stated strategic goal of replacing OB/OD with alternative contained treatment technologies, reducing the use of OB/OD is not an explicit criterion used to evaluate projects in PD Demil’s RDT&E program.
Recommendation 2-1. The Army should include the potential to reduce the use of open burning and open detonation as a criterion used to evaluate candidate projects in Office of the Product Director for Demilitarization’s research, development, test, and evaluation program.
16 O. Hrycak, chief engineer, PD Demil, PEO AMMO, Demil 2017, RDTE FY17 Project Selection Process, September.
17 September 27, 2017, conference call with Todd Kimmell, committee chair, Doug Medville, committee vice-chair, Jim Myska, study director, and Greg Eyring, consultant.
18 September 27, 2017, conference call with J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, the committee, and Jim Myska, study director. The number of rocket and missile motors destroyed each year will likely increase when the facility designed for this purpose at Letterkenny Munitions Center comes on line.
The potential for increased scrutiny of OB/OD resulting from the concerns of the public near sites that conduct OB/OD operations and congressional inquiry has been a motivator for use of alternative treatment technologies. Testimony to this committee by public interest groups has confirmed that these groups not only want to see OB/OD phased out, but also want to have a voice in the alternative treatment technologies that are selected.19 Experience has shown that engaging the public can expedite decision processes for technology selection and deployment and improve system designs and operations. In recognition of this, the committee considers public confidence in technologies and technology management as a criterion for the evaluation of alternative technologies in this report, as discussed in Chapter 5.
The Public and Congressional Affairs Office that manages public affairs for the seven conventional munitions stockpile sites discussed in this report is attached to, and funded by, the JMC headquarters at Rock Island Arsenal (see Figure 2.1). The director of the Public and Congressional Affairs Office reports to the JMC chief of staff, and the relationship to PD Demil and the Demilitarization Enterprise is informal. This same office, which has a total of eight staff (six government and two contractors), also oversees public affairs at eight other JMC installations, including the Army munitions production plants (Holston, Milan, Radford, and Iowa) that are not considered part of the Demilitarization Enterprise (see Figure 2.1).
The Public and Congressional Affairs Office typically responds to specific calls for assistance by a site commander, Congress, media, or public concerns. Consistent with Army Regulation R 360-1, The Army Public Affairs Program, that office sees its role as providing accurate information to encourage confidence in, and support for, Army activities.20 Specifically with regard to OB/OD, this can involve providing information that is intended to counter negative public perceptions. One example is in the Open Detonation/Open Burning Tactical Communication Plan at Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA):
Educate and influence key stakeholders at the local, state and national level related to the issue of open burning and open
19 In the course of its work the committee engaged with representatives of the California Communities Against Toxics, the CeaseFire Campaign, the Center for Public and Environmental Oversight, and the Environmental Patriots of the New River Valley.
20 January 26, 2018, interview with Justine Barati, director, Public and Congressional Affairs Office, the committee, Jim Myska, study director, and Greg Eyring, consultant.
|Project Type||Project Name||Score||Rank|
|NS||Ammonium Perchlorate Rocket Motor Destruction (ARMD) Facility Multiple Rocket Motor Firing||3.6||1|
|OG||Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) Assessment||3.2||3|
|NS||Reactive Armor Tile Thermal Treatment||3.1||4|
|OG||Area Denial Artillery Munition (ADAM) Cryogenic Processing||2.98||5|
|OG||APE 1236 Rotary Kiln Incinerator (RKI) Feed System Upgrade||2.94||6|
|OG||Copperhead Disassembly and Demilitarization||2.9||7|
|OG||Navy Gun Explosive D Cutting and Washout||2.88||8|
|OG||Riot Analysis of Alternatives (AoA)||2.8||9|
|OG||OB/OD Emission Testing||2.78||10|
|OG||Engine Starter Cartridge Static Firing||2.7||11|
|NS||Cryogenic Demilitarization of Rockeye||2.6||13|
|NS||CS Riot Pilot Scale Thermal Testing||2.6||14|
|NS||Static Fire Emission Characterization||2.4||15|
|OG||Automated Disassembly and Size Reduction of Armor Tiles||2.4||16|
|NS||G826 Grenade Demil||2.1||18|
|OG||Red Phosphorous Demonstration||2.08||19|
|NS||D561 Improved Conventional Munition Demilitarization||1.9||20|
|NS||Bulk Energetic Confined Burn||1.6||21|
NOTE: The process is based on the criteria discussed in the text. NS, new start; OG, ongoing. SOURCE: O. Hrycak, chief engineer, Office of PD Demilitarization, PEO AMMO.
detonation (OB/OD) in an effort to counter current and future misinformation about the OB/OD process. By being transparent, and by more effectively educating local communities and local/state/national leadership, CAAA will build support for all operations at CAAA, including demilitarization effort, specifically, OB/OD (emphasis added).21
Thus, the Public and Congressional Affairs Office is not designed to focus on public engagement or two-way communication. This approach has implications for public acceptance of potential alternative demilitarization technologies, as discussed further in Chapter 9.
The overall structure and capability of the Army demilitarization safety program follows the generally accepted norms and guidelines of many industrial safety and occupational health systems (NSC, 2001). Acute risks associated with the conventional munitions demilitarization safety effort are overseen by the U.S. Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board (DDESB), and this body has an established framework that includes policies, directives, standards, instructions, and approvals.22
The DDESB has established a tiered management system, or policy framework, that has four distinct levels:23
- A policy level as outlined by DoD Directive 6055.09E, “Explosives Safety Management” (DoD, 2017a);
- A program level as outlined by DoD Instruction 6055.16, “Explosives Safety Management Program” (DoD, 2017b);
- DoD Manual 6055.09-M, “Department of Defense Ammunition and Explosives Safety Standards”; and24
- A risk management integration process as documented by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
21 As discussed in J. Barati, director, Public and Congressional Affairs Office, Joint Munitions Command, “Public Engagement by the Joint Munitions Command (JMC),” presentation to the committee, December 11, 2017; and emphasized in the objectives outlined in CAAA, 2016.
22 T. Chiapello, executive director, DDESB, “Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board (DDESB) Organization, Functions, and Approvals,” presentation to the committee on December 11, 2017.
- Instruction 4360.01, which operationalizes explosives safety (CJCSI, 2014).
The DDESB addresses acute risk and limits its overview to aspects of explosives and chemical agent safety. Its approvals include, but are not limited to: hazard classifications, protective construction designs, and site plans, including the operating conditions or operating license.
Through the DoD acquisition process as outlined in DoD Instruction 5000.02, dated January 7, 2015, deliberate checks and balances are in place to ensure that all personnel, military, civilian, and in the surrounding community, will be appropriately protected from harm. As with any hazardous operation, the safety of personnel depends on execution per procedure (including appropriate and adequate training) and the safety leadership and culture.
A number of incidents25 have occurred during OB/OD and alternative technology operations since 2004 (Table 2.2). During this period, hundreds of thousands of tons of munitions were demilitarized. A majority of the incidents involved workers performing preparation activities or physical operations on the munitions: accidental26 detonation during fuze removal operations, accidental deflagration during cutting and size reduction of rocket motors and removal of energetics, accidental injuries associated with disassembly, handling, and download of submunitions, and accidental detonation during explosives removal are examples. Fewer incidents occurred during OB/OD operations than during contained disposal technology (CDT) operations and RDT&E activities.
Munitions demilitarization by any means requires that the munitions be handled, moved, prepared for OB or for OD, and for alternative technologies and combinations of these technologies, may require some disassembly and other processing steps, prior to energetics destruction in a contained chamber. In general, as the number and complexity of processing steps increases, the potential for accidental detonations, deflagrations, and fires also increases. The need for munitions handling and processing as part of any demilitarization operation will depend on several factors: the munition configuration and its internal components, its shock sensitivity, the degree to which manual vs. automated (robotic) handling and processing is involved, and the number of opportunities for accidents to take place (a greater number of processing steps may result in a higher probability of an accident). Alternative demilitarization technologies that involve more manual operations in handling and preparation than OB/OD are likely to pose greater safety risks, while those that are highly automated may pose reduced safety risks compared with OB/OD, at least to personnel.
In its 2018 Strategic Plan,27 the PD Demil Vision commits the organization “to continuously modernize for safety.” The committee recognizes that both the demilitarization operations and the RDT&E activities are generally hazardous. The committee considers the accidents (incidents) listed in Table 2.2 to be regrettable and preventable. The Army and its contractors have developed safety procedures for current operations, and the committee assumes that these procedures will be developed for alternative technologies. In addition, safety and health are being addressed in the DoD Acquisition work processes. The Army’s safety processes are certified by the American National Standards Institute.
Finding 2-3. The Army demilitarization program appears to have instituted an effective safety management program.
Current demilitarization methods include the following:
- Explosives removal;
- Cutting and resizing;
- Incineration and contained burn;
- Contained detonation; and
Specifics of the demilitarization technologies that fall in these categories are discussed in detail in Chapter 4.
PD Demil presented to the committee four strategic goals of the demilitarization enterprise:
- Efficiently reduce the demilitarization stockpile by maximizing use of the capacity of the organic and commercial industrial base;
- Continuously improve the efficiency and effectiveness of demilitarization capabilities within the enterprise;
25 Use of the term “accident” is discouraged in the safety profession, as it denotes that an incident could not have been prevented. Members of the safety profession prefer the use of the word “incident.” Incident: An unplanned, undesired event that hinders completion of a task and may cause injury, illness, or property damage or some combination of all three in varying degrees from minor to catastrophic. Unplanned and undesired do not mean unable to prevent. Unplanned and undesired also do not mean unable to prepare for. Crisis planning is how people prepare for serious incidents that occur that require response for mitigation. Accident: Definition is often similar to incident, but supports the mindset that it could not have been prevented. An accident is the opposite of the fundamental intentions of a safety program, which is to find hazards, fix hazards, and prevent incidents. By accepting that accidents have no cause, one assumes that they will happen again (Mottel et al., 1995, pp. 201-202).
27Strategic Plan: For the Demilitarization Enterprise, draft document provided to the committee by J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, via e-mail on May 25, 2018.
28 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, “Demilitarization Overview for National Academy of Sciences,” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
|Type of Incident||Serious Injury, Death, or Equipment Damage||Estimated Cost to Government||Organization||Date|
|Accidental detonation of buried submunition during prepping excavation operations on range||Serious injury to one operator||Less than $500,000 to replace excavation equipment||OB/OD Operations||2004|
|Accidental detonation during explosives removal and chemical conversion operations||Moderate to serious damage to process equipment and building||More than $500,000 in equipment and building damage||CDT RDT&E||2005|
|Accidental detonation of explosives during accessing of energetics in preparation for treatment||Moderate to serious damage to equipment and facilities||More than $500,000 in equipment and building damage||CDT Operations||2006|
|Accidental fire during flashing of energetic residues from demilitarized metal components||Moderate to serious damage to equipment and facilities||More than $500,000 in equipment and building damage||CDT RDT&E||2009|
|Accidental injuries associated with the disassembly, downloading, and handling of submunitions during demilitarization processing||Moderate to serious arm, hand, and finger injuries to multiple operators during processing||Unknown cost and lost time to government||CDT Operations||Multiple injuries 2009-2011|
|Accidental deflagration during energetics recovery for reuse operations||Death of two operators; significant damage to facility and equipment||Unknown cost to government||CDT RDT&E||2010|
|Accidental detonation of munitions during removal of energetics using ultrasonics||Moderate to serious damage to equipment and facilities||More than $500,000 in equipment and building damage||CDT RDT&E||2012|
|Accidental deflagration during cutting and size reducing of rocket motors||Significant damage to both equipment and facility requiring replacement of cutting equipment||Unknown cost to government||CDT Operations||2012|
|Accidental detonations of submunitions during fuse removal operations||Moderate damage to both equipment and facilities||Unknown cost to government||CDT Operations||Multiple events 2012-present|
|Accidental detonation of submunition during milling operations to remove explosives||Minor damage to equipment and facilities||Less than $500,000 in equipment damage||CDT RDT&E||2014|
|Accidental premature detonation during range prepping operations||Minor ear injury to two operators due to blast over pressure exposure||Less than $500,000 to update electrical firing equipment on range||OB/OD Operations||2015|
|Accidental deflagration during removal of energetics from red phosphorus munitions||Minor damage to equipment||Less than $100,000 in equipment damage||CDT RDT&E||2016|
|Accidental detonation during thermal treatment of submunitions||Moderate damage to equipment||Less than $500,000 in replacement cost||CDT RDT&E||2017|
SOURCE: Table derived from data provided by US Army Demil to the committee in August 2017.
- Implement design for demilitarization for all new and modified conventional ammunition products; and
- Increase the use of contained (“closed”) disposal, resource recovery, and recycling consistent with continuing to ensure minimal exposure of personnel to explosive safety risks.28
These four goals are reaffirmed in a Strategic Plan document provided by PD Demil to the committee in May 2018. With regard to the contained disposal technology portion of goal 4, two metrics are offered:
- “Percentage of annual tonnage of munitions demilitarized using contained disposal technologies. … The metric will be calculated by dividing the total amount of demilitarization conducted using contained disposal technologies at both organic and commercial sites by the total amount of demilitarization executed in a year.” It will be based on reports from the depots and industry contractors, to be monitored by JMC and PD Demil. The Army suggests that a year-by-year increase in this percentage will be considered
- a success, although no specific target percentages or timetables for reaching them are offered.
- “Total configurations in the stockpile for which contained disposal technology exists or is feasible. The source of this metric will be the stockpile analysis conducted by JMC Industrial Capabilities Division. It will focus on configurations associated with the top 400 DODICs in the stockpile by weight.” The Army says that it should show an increase from the previous year, although once again no specific target numbers or timetables for reaching them are offered.29
PD Demil’s Strategic Plan is discussed further in Chapter 9.
Below, with regard to strategic goal 4, the quantities of munitions currently demilitarized by OB/OD versus alternative technologies are discussed, along with the Army’s rationale for making this choice.
Only organic facilities, not contractors, are authorized to conduct OB/OD operations. According to data supplied by PD Demil,30 in FY2016 and FY2017 the average quantity of conventional munitions and rockets and missiles demilitarized was 75,474 tons each year. Over that period, the average quantity demilitarized by OB/OD was 23,203 tons per year, or about 30 percent per year.31 According to DoD, this represents a substantial reduction in the use of OB/OD as a demilitarization method compared to the mid-1980s, when it is estimated to have been used for about 80 percent of munitions, rockets, and missiles.32
Finding 2-4. According to data provided to the committee by PD Demil, the use of OB/OD as demilitarization treatment methods has declined from an estimated 80 percent of demilitarized munitions in the mid-1980s to an average of about 30 percent in recent years.
Only a portion of this decline in the use of OB/OD is due to the use of alternative contained burn or contained detonation technologies; another factor is the increased use of munitions disassembly enabling the recovery and reuse of energetics and other munition components.
According to PD Demil, the top reasons stated by the Army for continued use of OB/OD for certain munitions and rockets and missiles were
- Personnel safety: Safety issues may arise from increased handling required by alternative technologies.
- Characteristics that make treatment in contained systems difficult: These may be a result of the munition’s size, design, or composition, or they may be due to the type of explosive or energetic compounds in the munition.
- Cost-effectiveness: According to Army demilitarization management,33 the direct costs/ton of OB/OD are lower than the costs of contained treatment technologies.
- No on-site alternative treatment capability available: This reason was frequently cited but may be largely a cost issue (packaging, crating, handling, and transporting the munition to a site where alternative treatment is available, or building an alternative treatment capability at a site where it does not presently exist).
- Emergency situations: Munitions that are deemed unstable or incapable of being transported must be treated by OB or OD.34
One example of a munition characteristic that can make treatment in contained systems challenging is shaped charges that are designed to penetrate armor plating with an explosively formed jet of hot gases and molten metal created by the detonation of the specially shaped explosive. As such, even though they may have a relatively small net explosive weight, shaped charges detonating in a contained detonation or incineration chamber or vessel are likely to damage the chamber or containment vessel and render it inoperable. Similarly, munitions with a large net explosive weight are not suitable for disposal in currently available alternative technologies without size reduction because they exceed the net explosive weight containment capability of the incineration chamber or explosive containment vessel. Note that munitions may be placed in this category due to the large size of their propellant systems as well as their high-explosive main charge.
According to one estimate, OB/OD operations cost $750/ton,35 while contained disposal operations cost from $2,000/-
29Strategic Plan: For the Demilitarization Enterprise, draft document provided to the committee by J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, via e-mail on May 25, 2018.
30 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, “Demilitarization Overview for National Academy of Sciences,” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
31 When calculating the 30 percent, rockets and missiles that were demilitarized by static fire were grouped with those open burned.
32 J.C. King, director for Munitions and Chemical Matters, HQDA, ODASA(ESOH), “DoD Open Burn and Open Detonation (OB/OD),” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
33 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, and O. Hrycak, chief engineer, PD Demil, PEO AMMO, “Emerging Technologies Addressing Alternatives to Open Burn and Open Detonation,” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
34 J.C. King, director for Munitions and Chemical Matters, HQDA, ODASA(ESOH), “DoD Open Burn and Open Detonation (OB/OD),” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
35 This estimate is based on historical data. According to PD Demil, in FY2018 the cost of treating propelling charges by OB was less than $750/ton. J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, in an e-mail to the committee on September 6, 2018.
ton to $20,000/ton depending on the munition.36 A 2017 DoD report cited average demilitarization costs including all technologies as $2,890/ton (DoDIG, 2017). The costs of OB/OD and alternatives may be more comparable if the full life cycle costs are considered, including clean closure of the OB or OD facility (see further discussion in Chapter 9). However, based on the data above, the operational costs of alternative technologies could be considerably higher than conducting OB/OD in currently permitted units. Another cost consideration mentioned by the Army is that it may not be cost effective to custom-design a contained disposal technology for small quantities of specific types of munitions or rockets and missiles that are considered unique in some capacity.
According to information provided by PD Demil, 74 percent of the stockpile munitions demilitarized in FY2015 included a component that was R3.37 The FY2007 National Defense Authorization Act enabled monies derived from recycling of metals derived from demilitarized munitions to be returned to the demilitarization program to help defray costs. On average, the R3 program collects $5.6 million in proceeds each year.38 The cost-effectiveness of converting energetics derived from munitions or rockets and missiles into commercial products such as charges for the mining industry, fertilizer, or other useful chemicals depends heavily on current market conditions, which can be highly variable. PD Demil identified this as an obstacle to transferring a greater portion of converted energetics to commercial use and generating more money for the demilitarization program.
According to information supplied to the committee by PD Demil, munitions treated by alternative technologies at the organic depots are demilitarized primarily by using meltout or washout to recover the high explosives, or by the ammunition peculiar equipment (APE) 1236 deactivation furnace or APE 1400 rotary kiln incinerator (RKI; for red or white phosphorus munitions). Based on data received from PD Demil from 2012 to 2017, top reasons for choosing alternative technologies at organic facilities include the following:
- Unpredictable results if treated by OB or OD;39
- Risk of OB/OD range contamination by chemicals of concern (e.g., depleted uranium, asbestos, white phosphorus);
- Opportunity for R3 for use as donor charges for OD operations;
- Permit limitations on OB/OD net explosive weight; and
- Risk of uncontrolled distribution of munitions or components from excessive kick-outs40 from the detonation (e.g., some fuzes, submunitions).
PD Demil indicates that some 40 to 50 percent of the Army’s conventional munitions demilitarization budget is spent at contractor facilities and for contractor activities at Army facilities. Since FY2013, more than 100,000 tons of munitions have been treated under commercial contracts by a small number of contractors (Figure 2.7) using various alternative technologies (discussed in Chapter 4).41 Although all of these contractors offer the capability to demilitarize entire munitions, including more complex munitions—for example, projectiles and bombs containing submunitions having shaped charges—other contractors offer more specialized and limited services. All of the contained demilitarization systems feature pollution abatement systems that treat exhaust gases.
In addition to munitions in the demilitarization stockpile (B5A account), various types of contaminated nonmunitions waste materials and nonmunitions explosive-contaminated materials at Army facilities must be treated before final disposal due to their possible contamination with propellants, explosives, or pyrotechnics. Nonmunitions waste materials resulting from the disassembly and demilitarization of conventional munitions may include wooden pallets, wooden boxes, metal banding, ammunition links, ammunition cans, cardboard boxes, or plastic sheeting. Nonmunitions explo-
36 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, and O. Hrycak, chief engineer, PD Demil, PEO AMMO, “Emerging Technologies Addressing Alternatives to Open Burn and Open Detonation,” presentation to the committee on August 22, 2017. Contained demilitarization costs vary greatly from small arms processed in a rotary kiln on the low end, to liquid-fueled missiles having the fuel detanked, treated, and then having the effluents treated as hazardous waste, on the high end. Contained demilitarization costs also involve significantly more labor costs than OB or OD.
37 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, “Demilitarization Overview for National Academy of Sciences,” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
38 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, “Demilitarization Overview for National Academy of Sciences,” presentation to the committee, August 22, 2017.
39 An example would be a situation where burning of a bulk munition may cause a deflagration or detonation of the munition, creating a safety hazard.
40 The term “kick-out” is not defined in DoD Manual 6055.9-M. However, it is a term commonly used to describe whole or partial munitions or still-active energetics that are ejected from the site of a disposal burn or detonation and that still represent a potential explosive or reactive hazard.
41 J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, “Clarifications on Demilitarization Policies and Procedures for National Academy of Sciences,” presentation to the committee on October 23, 2017.
sive-contaminated materials generated from demilitarization of conventional munitions may include bulk propellant containers, explosive-contaminated coveralls and gloves, metal fragments, cartridge or projectile bodies, and disassembly equipment. Although the majority of contaminated materials generated and treated at the seven demilitarization sites originate from the conventional munitions demilitarization program, at some demilitarization sites explosive-contaminated materials are also generated due to activities that are unrelated to the conventional munitions demilitarization program. All of these waste-contaminated materials are tracked but are not weighed or counted.42 Hence, the committee was unable to assess the quantity of materials contaminated with propellant, explosives, or pyrotechnics that are being processed at demilitarization stockpile facilities.
Materials that have come in contact with energetics are considered to present an explosive hazard until it has been verified as a material documented as safe. If the Army is unable to certify a material as safe, then it is considered to be a material documented as an explosive hazard. Prior to being released to the public (e.g., as scrap for recycling) or to the Defense Logistic Service Disposition Service sites, this material must be certified as safe through a controlled process consisting of either two, independent, 100 percent visual inspections or treatment designed to remove or destroy any residual explosive or reactive compounds (DoD, 2017c).
Contaminated waste solids are sometimes soaked in fuel oil to facilitate combustion, while contaminated liquids, which may include (but are not limed to) acetone, toluene, hexane, fuel oil, minor amounts of 1,1,1 trichloroethane, cyclohexanone, denatured alcohol, dimethylfloroamide, and methylene chloride, are typically combustible (CAAA, 2016).43
Demilitarization sites conduct burns of nonmunitions waste and explosive-contaminated materials, unrelated to the demilitarization program to support installation-wide housecleaning activities. On average, a demilitarization site will conduct burns of energetic-contaminated materials generated from the conventional munitions demilitarization program 5 or 6 days per month.44
Material documented as an explosive hazard can be transferred to be handled at both private and government facilities outside the facility where they were generated. This requires compliance with DoD regulations, which include proper documentation of chain of custody, their management and disposition in accordance with federal or state hazardous material and hazardous waste regulations, regulations for transportation, training of personnel that releases the materials, and so on (DoD, 2017c). Receiving facilities require proper permits, facilities, and procedures to handle these materials, as well as trained personnel. Hence, materials contaminated with energetics can also be sent to hazardous waste treatment facilities that satisfy these requirements in lieu of OB.
Finding 2-5. Nonmunitions waste materials, including solvents and other organic liquids, positively identified as pyrotechnic, explosive, or propellant-contaminated are treated via OB at some of the stockpile demilitarization sites.
Recommendation 2-2. The Office of the Product Director for Demilitarization should investigate the use of alternative treatment or disposal methods, including commercial treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, for positively identified pyrotechnic, explosive, or propellant-contaminated nonmunitions wastes.
CAAA (Crane Army Ammunition Activity). 2016. Open Detonation Detonation/Open Burning Tactical Communication Plan.
CJSCI (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction). 2014. 4360.01. Explosives Safety and Munitions Risk Management for Joint Operations Planning, Training, and Execution. http://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Library/Instructions/4360_01.pdf?ver=2016-02-05-175039-810.
DoD (U.S. Department of Defense). 2008. Directive 5160.65. Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition (SMCA). http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodd/516065p.pdf?ver=2017-11-16-120801-720.
DoD. 2017a. Directive 6055.09E. Explosives Safety Management. http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodd/605509e_dodd_2016.pdf.
DoD. 2017b. Instruction 6055.16. Explosives Safety Management Program. http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/605516p.pdf?ver=2017-11-14-112331-590.
DoD. 2017c. Instruction 4140.62. Material Potentially Presenting an Explosive Hazard (MPPEH). http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/414062p.pdf?ver=2017-10-18-143048-107.
DoDIG (Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense). 2017. DODIG-2018-052. The Army Demilitarization Program. https://media.defense.gov/2017/Dec/21/2001860132/-1/-1/1/DODIG-2018-052.PDF.
GAO (United States Government Accountability Office). 2015. GAO-15-538. Improved Data and Information Sharing Could Aid in DOD’s Management of Ammunition Categorized for Disposal. https://www.gao.gov/assets/680/671536.pdf.
Hrycak, O. and T.G. Crank. 2015. Ammunition Demilitarization Research Development Technology and Engineering Program Update. Parsippany, N.J.: 2015 Global Demilitarization Symposium.
Joint Ordnance Commanders Group. 2017. Joint Conventional Ammunition Policies and Procedures (JCAPPs). https://www.dau.mil/cop/ammo/DAU%20Sponsored%20Documents/Joint%20Conventional%20Ammunition%20Policies%20and%20Procedures%20October%202017.pdf.
Mottel, W.J., J.F. Long, and D.E. Morrison. 1995. Industrial Safety is Good Business – The DuPont Story. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
NSC (National Safety Council). 2001. Department of Defense Executive Assessment of Safety and Occupational Health Management Systems. Itasca, Ill.: National Safety Council.
42Handling of Energetics Contaminated Non Munitions Wastes, document provided to the committee by J. McFassel, product director for demilitarization, PEO AMMO, via e-mail on May 9, 2018.