Chemical Weapons:

Sustained Leadership, Along With Key Strategic Management Tools, Is Needed to Guide DOD's Destruction Program

GAO-03-1031: Published: Sep 5, 2003. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2003.

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Congress expressed concerns about the Chemical Demilitarization Program cost and schedule, and its management structure. In 2001, the program underwent a major reorganization. Following a decade long trend of missed schedule milestones, in September 2001, the Department of Defense (DOD) revised the schedule, which extended planned milestones and increased program cost estimates beyond the 1998 estimate of $15 billion to $24 billion. GAO was asked to (1) examine the effect that recent organization changes have had on program performance and (2) assess the progress DOD and the Army have made in meeting the revised 2001 cost and schedule and Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) deadlines.

The Chemical Demilitarization Program remains in turmoil because a number of long-standing leadership, organizational, and strategic planning issues remain unresolved. The program lacks stable leadership at the upper management levels. For example, the program has had frequent turnover in the leadership providing oversight. Further, recent reorganizations have done little to reduce the complex and fragmented organization of the program. As a result, roles and responsibilities are often unclear and program actions are not always coordinated. Finally, the absence of a comprehensive strategy leaves the program without a clear road map and methods to monitor program performance. Without these key elements, DOD and the Army have no assurance of meeting their goal to destroy the chemical stockpile in a safe and timely manner, and within cost estimates. DOD and the Army have already missed several 2001 milestones and exceeded cost estimates; the Army has raised the program cost estimates by $1.2 billion, with other factors still to be considered. Almost all of the incineration sites will miss the 2001 milestones because of schedule delays due to environmental, safety, community relations, and funding issues. Although neutralization sites have not missed milestones, they have had delays. DOD and the Army have not developed an approach to anticipate and influence issues that could adversely impact program schedules, cost, and safety. Unless DOD and the Army adopt a risk management approach, the program remains at great risk of missing milestones and CWC deadlines. It will also likely incur rising costs and prolong the public's exposure to the chemical stockpile.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: TheChemical Demilitarization Program (CDP) Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 Annual Performance Plan (APP)dated September 2006 applies to the three CDP Major Defense Acquisition Programs: Chem Demil-Chemical Materials Agency (CMA), Chem Demil-CMA Newport, and Chem Demil-Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives and provides short-term goals and objectives for the CMA and the Program Manager ACWA (PM ACWA). The plan for FY 07 includes program-wide objectives, site-specific objectives for the eight U.S. stockpile chemical agent disposal facilities, and specific objectives for the Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Project. The APP is expected to be revised annually to measure progress toward the long-term goals of the program. The Chemical Demilitarization fiscal year 2007 annual performance plan provides the annual performance goals and the CMA Balanced Scorecard contains the progress being made against various program measures. The annual performance plans is also used to generate annual performance results reported in the Office of Management and Budget Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART).

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, to develop an overall strategy and implementation plan for the chemical demilitarization program that would establish near-term performance measures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OSD's Undersecretary of Defense for Acquistion, Technology and Logistics jointly with the Army prepared the Strategic Plan for the Destruction of Lethal Chemical Agents and Munitions dated April 2005 contain the roles and responsibilities of OSD and Army offices and the U.S Army Chemical Materials Agency Management Plan which complements CMA's July 2005 and September 2006 Strategic Plan contains the roles and responsibilities of Chemical Material Agency organizations.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, to develop an overall strategy and implementation plan for the chemical demilitarization program that would delineate the roles and responsibilities of all DOD and Army offices.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OSD's Undersecretary of Defense for Acquistion, Technology and Logistics jointly with the Army prepared the Strategic Plan for the Destruction of Lethal Chemical Agents and Munitions dated April 2005 and the U.S Army Chemical Materials Agency Strategic Plan (orginal dated July 2005 and updated September 2006) contain the program's long term goals and objectives

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, to develop an overall strategy and implementation plan for the chemical demilitarization program that would identify the program's long-term goals and objectives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OSD's Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics jointly with the Army prepared the Strategic Plan for the Destruction of Lethal Chemical Agents and Munitions dated April 2005 and the U.S Army Chemical Materials Agency Strategic Plan (original dated July 2005 and updated September 2006) contain the program's mission statement.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, to develop an overall strategy and implementation plan for the chemical demilitarization program that would articulate a program mission statement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: After several drafts extending over several years, the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency Integrated Risk Management Plan dated May 2006 was approved and establishes the overarching risk management policy and strategy applicable to most elements of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA). The plan responds to Department of Defense requirements for formal risk management processes on major acquisition programs, as well as to external oversight reviews and specific requests from Program Manager for the Elimination of Chemical Weapons and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for the Elimination of Chemical Weapons.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, in conjunction with the Secretary of the Army, to implement a risk management approach that anticipates and influences internal and external factors that could adversely impact program performance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense

 

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