Demil and Disposal Planning for Systems Large & Small
The U.S. Navy recently announced plans to dismantle the ex-Enterprise aircraft carrier, the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, which retired from service in 2012. PMs and PSMs ensure DEMIL and disposal are planned into a system’s design during lifecycle planning. While many other pressing priorities of the day can risk pushing this effort to the backburner, it is a relevant and required step, even when it involves the disposal of an entire nuclear powered aircraft carrier more than 50 years after being put in service. Considerations for such an effort include, but are not limited to costs, minimizing DoD liabilities, environmental concerns, and protecting critical program information and technology. The DoD PSM Guidebook contains helpful information on this process (page 81).
DEMIL, or demilitarization, is the act of rendering a product unusable for, and not restorable to, the purpose for which it was designed or is customarily used.
Disposal is a key effort of the Operations and Support (O&S) phase. At the end of its useful life, a system will be demilitarized and disposed of in accordance with all legal and regulatory requirements and policy relating to safety (including explosives safety), security, and the environment, in accordance with the Product Support Strategy. Disposal planning will include consideration of retirement, disposition, and reclamation. See DoD Instruction 5000.91, the DoD Life Cycle Sustainment Plan Outline and
Making provisions early in lifecycle planning processes for system-unique attributes such as nuclear, chemical, explosive, protected, or other sensitive equipment will better ensure resources are available to properly handle these items during DEMIL and disposal operations. For example, being a nuclear powered carrier, DoD Manual 4160.21 Vol 1 states that Naval Nuclear Power Plant materiel must be processed in accordance with Office of the Chief of Naval Operations Instruction (OPNAVINST) N9210.3, which further details handling requirements.
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For additional insights into these important topics, check out our LOG 0510 System Retirement, Disposition, Reclamation, Demilitarization & Disposal online training course, as well as Disposal and Disposition of Military Systems and DoD Precious Metals Recovery Program ACQuipedia articles.