Both sides of the U.S. Congress plan to spend $596 million in fiscal 2015 to help eliminate remaining Cold War chemical arms, the Richmond Register reports.
A veteran analyst aired the figure on Wednesday at a meeting of the Kentucky-based Chemical Demilitarization Citizens' Advisory Commission. The United States intends to chemically neutralize most of the remaining warfare agents held at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado.
Craig Williams, co-chairman of the oversight commission, said he believes the funding level for chemical-weapons destruction would ultimately carry through to the final appropriations legislation, though the Senate and House may differ over other segments of their competing bills.
Meanwhile, workers have finished more than four-fifths of the construction of a plant to destroy chemicals held at the Kentucky depot, site project manager Jeff Brubaker told meeting participants.
Lt. Col. Christopher Grice, head of the Blue Grass Army Depot's chemical activity, said technicians decided against unpacking a pair of problematic chemical-loaded rockets slated for dismantlement. The two weapons are now housed in additional packaging with similar munitions, which are expected to eventually be processed directly by the destruction facility.