United States General Accounting Office Report to Congressional Requesters : September 1990 CHEMICAL WEAPONS . Status of the Arrny’~,~ M687 Bi-na~~ prOgm United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20648 National Security and International Affairs Division B-238454 September 28,199O The Honorable Sam Nunn Chairman, Committee on Armed Services United States Senate The Honorable Daniel K. Inouye Chairman, Subcommittee on Defense Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable Les Aspin Chairman, Committee on Armed Services House of Representatives The Honorable John P. Murtha Chairman, Subcommittee on Defense Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives In an October 1989 report, we recommended that the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations deny the Army’s $47 million fiscal year 1990 request for 155-millimeter (mm) M687 binary chemical pro- jectiles because the canister supplier had been unable to meet delivery schedules and a new chemical production facility needed to produce the projectiles had not been completed.’ Although the requested funds were appropriated, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991 (P.L. 101-189) requires the Secretary of the Army to certify that certain conditions have been met before fiscal year 1990 appropriations can be obligated to produce 155-mm M687 binary chemical munitions. The act also requires us to (1) provide monthly status reports on the contractor’s progress in eliminating the backlog of M-20 and M-21 canister components to be pro- duced in the programs for fiscal years 1986, 1987, and 1988 and (2) pro- vide a final report, within 2 weeks after the Army issues its certification, containing our assessment of the canister supplier’s ability to eliminate the backlog of M20 and M21 component deliveries by October 1, 1990. As required by the act, we have been providing you with monthly status reports since February 1, 1990. ‘Defense Budget: Potential Reductions to DOD’s Fiscal Year 1990 Ammunition Budget (GAO/NSIAD90-23, Oct. 23,1989) Page 1 GAO/NSIAD-90.296 Army’s M687 Bi Program B-233464 M557 point detonating fuze. The metal casings, produced at the Loui- siana Army Ammunition Plant, are comprised of three parts: a steel pro- jectile body, an ogive (i.e., a nose cone) with a burster (explosive), and a steel base. The two steel canisters, each fitted with a polymer liner, are hermetically sealed. One canister, installed in the front of the projectile, is filled with methylphosphonic difluoride (DF). The other, in the rear, contains isopropylamine and isopropyl alcohol (OPA). Each polymer-lined canister has a thin polymer plate and a very thin steel burst disc on one end. When the canisters are installed in the projectile, the burst discs face each other. Upon firing, these canister ends and discs are designed to rupture. The chemicals mix and react during flight to produce a lethal, nonpersistent nerve agent called “GB.” Figure 1 depicts the M687 projectile and its components. Figure 1: M667 Binary Chemical Projectile Burst Discs Steel.Bodv Steel Base M557 Fuse Og’ive M20 DF banister M21 OPA Canister The Marquardt Company is the Army’s contractor for canister compo- nents. Marquardt produces M20 plastic, M20 steel, and M21 components of the M687 projectiles for the Army. The M20 canister components are shipped to the Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas, and the arsenal fills them with the chemical DF. The M21 canisters are filled with OPA by Mar- quardt and shipped to the Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant, near Shreveport, Louisiana, where M687 projectiles are loaded, assembled, and packed with only M21 OPA canisters installed. The M20 DF canisters are packaged, shipped, and stored at a location remote from the projec- tile. This separation of the components ensures protection against ter- rorist activities and against a possible mixing of chemicals during manufacture, transportation, or storage. To prepare the projectile for firing entails removing the M21 OPA canister from the projectile, reas- sembling the canisters in the proper order, and installing the fuze. Page3 In April 1990, Marquardt completed deliveries of all M-20 plastic, M-20 steel, and M-21 components to be produced in the programs for fiscal years 1986 and 1987. However, it has not yet completed deliveries of those components for the fiscal year 1988 program. Our review dis- closed that the delivered components conform to original contract specifications. Marquardt has experienced problems in meeting the original and subse- quently revised contract delivery schedules even though, according to an Army official, the canister supplier had been operating multiple shifts. Table 2 shows the status of the deliveries for the fiscal year 1988 program, as of August 31,199O. Table 2: Percentage of Canister Components Delivered for the Fiscal Percent Year 1998 Program Component delivered M-20 plastlc 64.5 M-20 steel 40.5 M-71 780 Although Marquardt has completed deliveries of the contract quantities for the programs for fiscal years 1986 and 1987 and has delivered a portion of the fiscal year 1988 program, it was generally late in com- pleting the deliveries, as shown in table 3. Page 6 GAO/NSIAMl6-!Z96 Army’s MI%37 Binary Program B-226464 In addition, the Army might not be able to use the new facility after it is completed because of difficulties in obtaining a sufficient supply of one of the ingredients, the chemical thionyl chloride, which is needed during the chemical production process, If the chemical cannot be obtained, the Army will not be able to use the new plant. In implementing the June 1, 1990, agreement between the United States Chemical Weapons and the Soviet Union to halt the production of chemical weapons, the Production Is Secretary of Defense has decided to stop producing M687 projectiles Scheduled to Stop either at the end of the fiscal year 1989 contract or when the agreement goes into effect, whichever comes first. The Department of Defense esti- mates that the agreement will go into effect in February or March 1991. Also, the Secretary of Defense has determined that the Army’s fiscal year 1991 budget request of $74.3 million for M687 projectiles is no longer required. The Department of Defense would like to reprogram the $47 million fiscal year 1990 appropriation for other purposes. For example, it would like to use a portion of the funds to place the binary munitions production lines on a standby status for possible future use. To make our assessment, we interviewed program and other officials at Scopeand the U.S. Army Armament Munitions and Chemical Command, Rock Methodology Island, Illinois; the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; the Corps of Engineers at Pine Bluff Arsenal, Arkansas; and the Marquardt Company in Van Nuys, California. We observed the production lines at the Mar- quardt Company, analyzed its production capacities, and toured and determined the status of the new chemical production facility at Pine Bluff Arsenal. We obtained and analyzed data and verified it to source documents on scheduled and actual deliveries of M20 plastic, M20 steel, and M21 components and obtained program cost data. We also obtained and reviewed documents to determine whether the delivered compo- nents conformed to contract specifications. We conducted our review from December 1989 to August 1990 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. As requested, we did not obtain agency comments on this report. How- ever, we discussed the results of our work with Office of the Secretary of Defense and Army officials and have included their comments where appropriate. Page 7 GAO/NSIALW@296 Army’s M687 Binmy Program Ordering Information The first five copies of each GAO report are free. AdI copies are 52 each. Orders should be sent to the fo address, accompanied by a check or money order ma the Superintendent of Documents, when necessary. ( 100 or more copies to he mailed to a single address g discounted 25 percent. U.S. General Accounting Office P. 0. Box 6015 Gaithersburg, MD 20877 Orders may also be placed by calling (202) 275-6241 B-238464 We are sending copies of the report to the Secretaries of Defense and the Army; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other inter- ested parties. Copies will also be made available to others on request. Please contact me at (202) 275-4141 if you or your staff have any ques- tions concerning this report. Other GAO staff members who made major contributions to this report are Henry L. Hinton, Associate Director, Army Issues; Raymond Dunham, Assistant Director, Army Issues; and Antanas Sabaliauskas, Evaluator-in-Charge, Chicago Regional Office. Richard Davis Director, Army Issues (393391) Page 8 GAO/NSW90.296 Army’s MB87 Bit F-rogmn~ B-296464 Table 3: Contract Schedules and Actual Deliveries of Projectile Components as of August 31, 1990 Contract schedules’ Actual deliveries Complete Complete Fiscal year Start deliveries deliveries Start deliveries deliveries M20 plastic 1986 Mar. 1988 Apr. 1989 July 1988 May 1989 1987 Apr. 1989 Nov. 1989 May 1989 Dee 1989 1988 Nov. 1989 July 1990 Dee 1989 b M20 steel 1986 Mar. 1988 Apr 1989 Ott 1988 ~--__ May 1989 1987 Apr. 1989 Nov. .~~~ ___ 1989 May 1989 Mar. 19% 1988 Nov 1989 July 1990 Mar 1990 b M21 1986 Apr 1988 May 1989 Feb 1989 Ott 1989 1987 May 1989 Dee 1989 Ott 1989 Apr 19% 1988 Dec. 1989 Aua. 1990 Am 1990 b ‘The or!gtnal October 1967 contract schedules were rewed I” December 1966 The schedule dates shown in the table are the rewsed schedules except for the start dates for the fiscal year 1966 program, whach reflect origmal contract schedules bMarquardt has not yet completed dellvetles According to an Army official, Marquardt expects to complete deliveries of the components to be produced in the fiscal year 1988 program by the end of November 1990. On the basis of deliveries through August 31, 1990, and considering Marquardt’s current production rates and produc- tion capacity, we believe that Marquardt will not be able to complete the fiscal year 1988 program before January 1991. The Army’s production schedule for filling M20 DF canisters at the Pine The New Chemical Bluff Arsenal requires completing and operating a new facility for pro- Production Plant Has ducing a chemical called “methylphosphonic dichloride” (DC), which is Not &en Proven Out used to produce DF. In January 1988, the Army awarded a contract for a new DCproduction facility at the Pine Bluff Arsenal. According to the Army, $45.1 million has been appropriated for the design, construction, and prove-out of this facility. The Army originally anticipated that the DCproduction facility would be completed in October 1989 and that full-scale production would start in January 1990. However, completion slipped to the end of August 1990, and prove-out and acceptance of the new chemical plant are now sched- uled for the end of October 1990. Page6 B226464 The Congress has appropriated a total of $224.2 million for procuring a classified quantity of 155-mm M687 binary projectiles. Table 1 shows the amounts that have been appropriated for fiscal years 1986 through 1990 and what portion of each appropriation had been obligated and disbursed as of July 31, 1990. Table 1: Funds Appropriated, Obligated, and Disbursed for 155-mm M667 Binary Dollars in milhons Projectiles Fiscal year Appropriated’ Obligated Disbursed 1986 $20 1 -.. $20 1 $20 1 1987 52 3 52 3 45.1 1988 59.3 58 5 41.6 1989 -___ ___.45.5 44 7b 166 1990 47 0 0 0 Total 6224.2 $175.6 $123.4 aThe appropriated amounts shown do not Include the amounts provided for chemical munltlons produc- t1on facllltles. bThe Louisiana Army Ammunltlon Plant has produced metal casings, and Marquardt IS under contract to produce M20 and M21 components Section 171 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991 restricts the obligation of fiscal year 1990 funds for 155-mm binary chemical munitions until 2 weeks after the Secretary of the Army certifies that the following conditions have been met: . Marquardt has demonstrated monthly delivery rates of M20 plastic, M20 steel, and M21 components sufficient to eliminate the production backlog of those components for fiscal year 1986, 1987, and 1988 pro- grams before October 1, 1990. l The delivered components conform to original contract specifications. l Marquardt has sustained those monthly delivery rates for the compo- nents for at least 3 consecutive months. . The new chemical production lines at the Pine Bluff Arsenal have been proven out and formally accepted by the Army. The Army recognized, at the end of June 1990, that Marquardt could not Production Backlog complete deliveries by October 1, 1990, of the undelivered M20 and Has Not Been M21 canister components to be produced for the fiscal year 1988 pro- Eliminated gram. We agree with the Army’s assessment, because Marquardt does not have the capacity to deliver the components at the required rates. Page 4 GAO/NSIALMl-296 Army’s M687 Binary Pmgmm B-226464 We are sending you our final report because the Army recognizes that the canister supplier cannot eliminate the backlog of deliveries by October 1, 1990, and therefore cannot issue the required certification. In addition, the certification process is a moot issue because the Secretary of Defense has decided that the fiscal year 1990 appropriations will not be used to procure M687 binary chemical projectiles. Although the canister supplier-the Marquardt Company, Van Nuys, Results in Brief California-has completed deliveries of the canister components to be produced in the binary chemical munitions programs for fiscal years 1986 and 1987, it has not met the scheduled delivery of compo- nents for the fiscal year 1988 program. Marquardt cannot eliminate the fiscal year 1988 program backlog by October 1, 1990, because it does not have the production capacity to do so. According to an Army official, Marquardt expects to complete the fiscal year 1988 program by the end of November 1990; however, on the basis of the contractor’s current production rates, we estimate that it will not be completed before January 1991. Also, the Army originally anticipated that a new chemical production facility needed to produce chemicals for M687 projectiles would be com- pleted in October 1989 and that full-scale production would start in Jan- uary 1990. However, completion slipped to the end of August 1990, and prove-out and acceptance of the new chemical production facility are now scheduled for the end of October 1990.2 Nevertheless, the Army might not be able to use the new facility after it is completed because of difficulties in obtaining a sufficient supply of a chemical needed during the chemical production process. In any case, the fiscal year 1989 program is expected to be the Army’s last procurement program for M687 projectiles because on June 1, 1990, the United States and the Soviet Union agreed to halt the production of chemical weapons. The 155-mm M687 binary projectile was developed to be used with the Background Army’s most common fire support system, the 155-mm howitzer. The projectile consists of metal casings, M20 and M21 canisters, and the 2“Prove-out” is an Army term used to describe the process of demonstrating a plant’s production capability. Page 2 GAO/NSIAD96-295 Army’s M687 Binary Program
Chemical Weapons: Status of the Army's M687 Binary Program
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-28.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)