The Long Journey to Eliminate the Deadly U.S. Chemical Weapons Stockpile

When the United States ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1997, it took on the legal obligation and the complex technical and engineering task of destroying its massive Cold War-era chemical weapons stockpile, which consisted of some 31,500 tons (63,000,000 pounds) of deadly chemical agents much of which were loaded in various forms of munitions.

After years of delay, all U.S. declared chemical weapons stockpiles were irreversibly and verifiably destroyed in July 2023, two months ahead of the Sept. 2023 deadline set by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). 

The event is a major milestone in disarmament: the United States was the last declared stockpile possessor state to complete its safe and permanent demilitarization of chemical weapons. 

Our webinar featured perspectives from a senior Defense Department official on the long path to successfully eliminate the U.S. chemical arsenal, and the experiences of two local leaders who worked to reshape the government’s original plans for chemical weapons destruction to reduce the risks to local communities where the U.S. stockpiles were once stored.


  • Kingston Reif, deputy assistant secretary of defense for threat reduction and arms control
  • Irene Kornelly, chair of the Colorado Citizens’ Advisory Commission
  • Craig Williams, co-chair of the Kentucky Citizens’ Advisory Commission
  • Daryl Kimball, executive director, Arms Control Association, moderating

The webinar was organized by the Arms Control Association and the Chemical Weapons Convention Coalition.