"I learned so much about arms control and disarmament at ACA! I learned more about arms control here in four months than I had in all three years at my college."

– Alicia Sanders-Zakre
Intern, Fall 2016
December 16, 2016
Clinton Signs Order for CWC Implementation

Removing the final legal obstacle to full U.S. compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), President Clinton signed an executive order June 25 designating the Department of State as the "National Authority" responsible for coordinating treaty implementation and clearing the way for the submission of the U.S. declaration of the civilian chemical industry. Though Congress passed legislation to implement the CWC in October 1998, a bureaucratic turf battle between the departments of State and Commerce delayed action for the past six months.

The CWC, which entered into force April 29, 1997, requires states-parties to destroy all chemical weapons within 10 years and to declare all treaty-related civilian facilities to the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, the international agency charged with implementing the treaty.

Though the United States has destroyed a greater part of its chemical weapons stockpile than any other state-party, it has been in violation of the treaty for over two years because there has been no national authority to formulate the industry declaration. U.S violation of the CWC has been seen as a serious setback to the otherwise successful treaty, which has been ratified by 126 countries.

Experts and U.S. officials praised the executive order as a positive step but warned that it would be at least several months before the United States was actually brought into compliance with the CWC. The Department of Commerce still must issue the regulations detailing the implementation procedures for civilian facilities, and those regulations must then be opened to public comment for 30 days.