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– Lisa Beyer
Bloomberg News
August 27, 2018
2023 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year Winner Announced
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For Immediate Release: Jan. 12, 2024

Media Contacts: Daryl G. Kimball, executive director, (202) 463-8270 ext. 107; Tony Fleming, director for communications, (202) 463-8270 ext. 110

(Washington, D.C.)—Workers and technicians at the U.S. Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky were selected as the 2023 Arms Control Persons of the Year through a recent online contest that engaged thousands of participants from dozens of countries.  

The annual contest is organized by the independent, nongovernmental Arms Control Association. The contest has been held each year since 2007.

Workers at the Blue Grass Army Depot in KentuckyThe workers and technicians at the two chemical stockpile depots were nominated for their successful and safe completion of eliminating the last vestiges of the United States' once-enormous declared stockpile of lethal chemical munitions as required by the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

Under the supervision of the U.S. Army's Office of Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, the last mustard gas munition was destroyed in June at Pueblo; Blue Grass destroyed the last missile loaded with Sarin nerve agent in July. The elimination program cost an estimated $13.5 billion.

“We applaud the highly professional work of all the people involved in the difficult destruction of the last remnants of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile," remarked Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association.

"Their efforts bring to close an important chapter in the decades long global disarmament struggle to verifiably eliminate an entire class of weapons considered so inhumane that their use was condemned more than a century ago," he said.

"The successful work of the people and community watchdogs in and around the Pueblo Chemical Depot and the Blue Grass Army Depot is an important reminder that even after a major treaty, like the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, is concluded, there is hard, behind-the-scenes work to be done in order to ensure full implementation and ongoing compliance,” Kimball added.

A total of nine individuals and groups were nominated by the Arms Control Association staff and board of directors for the annual Arms Control Person(s) of the Year honor. 

"This contest is a reminder of the positive initiatives—some at the grassroots level, some on the international scale—designed to advance disarmament, nuclear security, and international peace, security, and justice,” Kimball said.

Worker and technicians at the U.S. Army’s Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado
 

The runners-up in this year’s contest were the governments of Austria and 27 co-sponsoring states that secured approval in the United Nations' First Committee of the first-ever resolution on lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS), advancing the possibility of binding international regulations on such weapons systems. In response to its adoption, UN Secretary-General António Guterres and International Committee of the Red Cross president Mirjana Spoljaric issued a joint call urging world leaders to launch negotiations on a new legally binding instrument to set clear prohibitions and restrictions for LAWS and to conclude these negotiations by 2026.

Online voting for the 2023 Arms Control Person(s) of the Year contest was open from Dec. 8, 2023, until Jan. 11, 2024.  A list of all of this year's nominees is available at ArmsControl.org/ACPOY/2023.

Previous recent winners of the "Arms Control Person of the Year" include: the Energoatom staff working at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (2022) and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and the Government of Mexico (2021). A complete list of previous winners from previous years is available here.

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