Home' Army Acquisition Logistics and Technology Magazine : Army ALT July-September 2012 Contents ASC.ARMY.MIL 45
and Program Manager for chemical
Dean is now working on closing the facili-
ties and helping workers transition, in
some cases, to new employment.
Bert Durrant, who has been a chem-demil
worker since 1979, spent years wear-
ing the protective gear needed to safely
destroy chemical agents and munitions.
"I was involved in research and develop-
ment. Every day was a new experience
with different hurdles, but people put their
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ing that we did this in such a safe manner,
with so few problems," said Durrant, a
longtime CMA Engineering Technician.
Durrant, who helped develop some of the
procedures and regulations involved in
safe destruction of chemical agents, said
that prioritizing safety and managing
costs were always key parts of the calculus.
"We had to research how to do this. When
this started out, we didn't have a lot of
regulators," he explained. Overall, work-
ers attending the ceremony expressed
pride in the chem-demil mission.
"I have an incredible sense of pride work-
ing on this program. I stumbled into this
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ing on this program ever since. I can't
imagine a program that has any more
importance to the safety of our world.
That really resonates with me," said Rob
Malone, an Environmental Scientist and
Site Manager at the Tooele Chemical
Agent Disposal Facility.
As a scientist, Malone explained the value
of the neutralization methods used at the
Aberdeen and Newport facilities. "Mus-
tard and VX agents lent themselves to a
simple chemical reaction that broke the
bonds of the chemical agent, forming
simpler organic compounds," he said.
The "neutralized" or demilitarized waste
materials, once free of dangerous chemi-
cals, were disposed of through standard
commercial procedures, he added.
Malone, who served as the lead environ-
mental scientist at the Johnston Atoll
site 18 years ago, is also familiar with the
more standard "reverse assembly" process
of demilitarization. "We used robotics
to, essentially, take apart the munitions.
Energetics went into one furnace, liquid
agents went into a second furnace, and
then the metal bodies themselves went
into a metal parts furnace," he said.
Malone said site closure and demilitar-
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improved over the years. "We have contin-
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are technically hazardous waste treatment
facilities, so there is a constant interaction
with the state regulatory committee to
build consensus regarding the best meth-
odologies for basically handling the
material we are tasked to dispose of. We
learned to do it better and faster," he said.
Army leaders involved in the effort consis-
tently praise the dedication and resolve of
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were contract employees, and we could
not have done it without them. This is a
tremendous accomplishment by the indi-
vidual workers," Spencer said.
For more information, go to http://www.
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Expert for the Assistant Secretary of the
Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Tech-
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He holds a B.A. in English and political
science from Kenyon College and an M.A.
in comparative literature from Columbia
Some of the U.S. chemical weap-
ons stockpile dates to the World
War I era.
"The Germans used blister agent
and chlorine gas in World War I,"
said Carmen J. Spencer, Deputy
Assistant Secretary of the Army for
Elimination of Chemical Weapons.
"Also, prior to World War II, the
U.S. was aware that Germany was
developing an offensive chemical
weapons program. Our strategy
was always to compile chemical
weapons as a deterrent," he said.
Much attention was paid to
chemical weapon stockpiles and
production after World War II,
with the emergence of the Cold
War era. The Russians have
destroyed 62.5 percent of their
chemical weapons stockpile thus
far, Spencer said.
"Post-World War II, the Russians got
to Berlin and found a large cache
of liquid ner ve gas. The U.S. took
some to analyze, in order to ensure
that all of our protective clothing
and protective masks would pro-
tect U.S. Forces from those ner ve
agents," Spencer explained. "Also,
we knew that in the Cold War
Russia was improving upon their
chemical weapons and building a
vast arsenal of both nerve and blis-
ter agents. The U.S. program was
basically a Cold War relic."
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