The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection
Hawthorne Army Depot Webpage

     With the end of the Cold War, the nation's need for a large conventional munitions stockpile decreased. A 1993 study recommended a tiered approach with a smaller, safer, better quality stockpile with a reduced workforce and fewer storage installations. Much of Oregon's Umatilla Army ordnance on site Depot, Arizona's Navajo Army Depot, and New Mexico's Fort Wingate operations were moved to Hawthorne.

     Since the major peacetime use of conventional ammunition is for training, the plan that resulted from the study divided the continental United States into east, central and west regions. Each region received a Tier I facility to reduce transportation costs for training ammunition.

     Tier I facilities store ammunition for training and the first 30 days of war reserve ammunition. Tier II facilities store war reserve ammunition to be used after the first 30 days. They are partially staffed in peacetime, but would increase staffing when needed. Tier III, or caretaker, facilities store ammunition excess to the Defense Department's needs. Under 1995 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC-95) decisions, two facilities were to close and the ammunition mission of the third (Sierra Army Depot) would be reduced to demilitarization only.

     HWAD is listed as a Tier II, or caretaker, ammunition facility. HWAD is also is considered the Army's premiere resource recovery and recycling center of conventional ammunition. The HWAD contains over 2,600 buildings or structures, of which 2,200 are explosive storage magazines. The Western Area Demilitarization Facility Recyling on site

(WADF), perhaps the most versatile conventional ammunition demilitarization facility ever constructed, was built at Hawthorne between 1974 and 1982 at a cost of $80 million. The 160 acre complex consists of nine production buildings and six support buildings with the capability to perform various remotely operated ammunition breakdown operations followed by meltout or washout/ steamout explosive removal operations. Deactivation and decontamination operations are conducted in either the RF-9 rotary kiln furnace, a refractory lined flashing furnace, or a hot gas decontamination chamber for large items.

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