DoDD 5101.17E, Roles and Responsibilities Associated with the Recovery of Chemical Warfare Material, dated 11 May 2016, assigns the Secretary of the Army (SA) as the DoD Executive Agent (EA) for the RCWM Program. The SA delegated the EA responsibilities to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment (ASA(IE&E)). The Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Environment, Safety and Occupational Health (DASA(ESOH)) fulfils these responsibilities on behalf of ASA(IE&E). The consolidation of responsibilities for this Program, under the Army, provides for consistency in DoD’s approach, avoids duplicating programs and aids with the efficient use of limited resources.
The RCWM Program, which maintains critical DoD capabilities (i.e., the RCWM Program Support Functions), provides a wide range of support for the Defense Environmental Restoration Program (DERP) as DoD seeks to address locations known or suspected to contain chemical warfare materiel (CWM). Initially, the RCWM Program was intended to focus on the recovery and destruction of buried CWM; however, the Army understood that the intent was to address every situation in which the RCWM Program Support Functions would be required to address recovered CWM, regardless of the circumstances of recovery. As such, the Army recommended and Office of the Secretary of Defense agreed the RCWM Program be expanded to provide a comprehensive approach for addressing recovered CWM, including CWM that are discarded military munitions (DMM) or unexploded ordnance (UXO), munitions and certain materials of interest that contain an unknown liquid fill, contaminated debris or environmental media posing a chemical agent-hazard, and chemical agent identification sets (CAIS). Additionally, on a cost-reimbursable basis, the RCWM Program Support Functions are provided to other DoD programs, and, subject to DoD approval, Combatant Commands and the Department of State.