In recent years, accidental explosions at arms storage facilities in Cyprus, Russia, Turkmenistan, and elsewhere have highlighted significant potential risks to surrounding communities from poorly maintained, improperly stored, or inadequately guarded conventional weapons and munitions, as captured in a new State Department report.
“Dangerous Depots: The Growing Humanitarian Problem Posed by Aging and Poorly Maintained Munitions Storage Sites” tracks accidental detonations at foreign military storage sites in recent years. The report, produced by Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement documents State Department efforts in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency, to promote security by helping countries safely dispose of aging arms and munitions and improve stockpile management, two key steps toward preventing future accidents as well as reducing potential proliferation risks.
Since 2001, the United States has partnered with more than 50 countries to promote safe disposal of surplus and aging weapons and munitions, including 1.5 million small arms and light weapons, more than 90,000 tons of munitions, and more than 32,900 man-portable air defense systems. In addition, U.S. experts have worked with partners to improve stockpile management practices. When requested, we have also deployed our Quick Reaction Force of civilian technical experts to help partner countries mitigate risks from potentially dangerous depots and safely remove and dispose of materials following incidents at these facilities.
The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of conventional weapons destruction. Since 1993, the United States has promoted peace and security through more than $1.9 billion in 81 countries for removal of landmines and other explosive remnants of war, and the safe disposal of small arms, light weapons, and ammunition. For more information, please visit the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement’s Web page at www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.