Munitions and Chemical Directorate

Program Overview

The Munitions and Chemical Matters Directorate establishes and monitors policy and sets strategic direction on environmental, safety and occupational health aspects of explosive and toxic military chemicals. This Directorate supports the Office of the Secretary on environmental responses; munitions and chemical matters related to operational ranges, including range sustainment; historic sea disposal of munitions; and life-cycle munitions management. This Directorate mission is to mitigate risk to human health and safety, including worker safety, and the environment during all phases of these and related operations. The three primary program areas are: Explosives Safety Management, Military Munitions Response, and Chemical Warfare Material (CWM) which includes Recovered CWM (RCWM), and Sea-Disposed CWM.

Program Drivers

On February 12, 1997, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) issued the final version of Military Munitions Rule: Hazardous Waste Identification and Management; Explosives Emergencies; Manifest Exemption for Transport of Hazardous Waste on Right-of-Ways on Contiguous Properties (62 FR 6622) amending 40 CFR Parts 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 265, 266, and 270. The rule identifies when conventional and chemical military munitions become a hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and provides for the safe storage and transport of these wastes. The rule also amends existing regulations regarding emergency responses involving both military and non-military munitions and explosives. In addition, the rule exempts all generators who have contiguous properties divided by public right-of-ways from the RCRA manifest and transporter Hazardous Waste Identification requirements when transporting hazardous waste between or along the border of their contiguous properties. The rule did not finalize provisions regarding the solid waste status of military munitions on closed and transferred ranges.

Program Oversight

The Munitions and Chemical Matters Directorate provides technical advice and guidance to the Office of the Secretary, communicates and coordinates with appropriate organizations and individuals on environmental and safety matters, related to military munitions and chemical warfare material. A major thrust area is the policy, guidance, and oversight of military munitions responses that have or have the potential to include military munitions containing toxic military chemical agents. The Directorate reviews policy and program plans to make sure the Army is capable of responding with the latest available techniques and technology, and ensures programs are consistent with existing domestic and international agreements.

Program Activities

The Munitions and Chemical Matter Directorate does the following activities:

  • Participates in the development of policy and implementation of munitions-related program initiatives under a variety of federal statutes. The Directorate works with numerous agencies to ensure that programs are developed and implemented to identify and meet the emerging issues, including risks to the public, the environment, and workers.
  • Provides authoritative technical advice and policy and procedural recommendations to the Army Secretariat on munitions and chemical warfare material-related matters within environmental, safety and occupational health programs.
  • Originates guidance and oversees the development, implementation and execution of the environmental, safety and occupational health components of Army programs that address explosive and toxic military chemical safety; environmental responses; munitions and chemical matters related to operational ranges, including range sustainment; sea disposal; and life-cycle munitions management.
  • Supports the Army Secretariat in developing changes to Army management philosophy, doctrine and policy for protection of human health and the environment from hazards associate with munitions, including recovered chemical munitions and other chemical warfare material.
  • Manages the Army's 3Rs (Recognize, Retreat, Report) Explosives Safety Education Program.

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