O-113 NATO and the Environmental Impact of Munitions

August 2007
Pierre Archambault (Propulsion Technology)


NATO is strongly committed to the protection of the environment. A number of NATO groups have been addressing the environmental impact of munitions. The environmental impact of a munition during its entire life is covered by two different STANAGs. STANAG 4518 Safe Disposal of Munitions, Design Principles and Requirements, and Safety Assessment addresses the design, demilitarization and disposal aspects, while STANAG 7141 Joint NATO Doctrine for Environmental Protection during NATO Led Military Activities addresses the operational aspect of the munition usage. Although not specifically mentioned in STANAG 4518's title, it is stated numerous times in it that design, demilitarization and disposal should be respectful of the environment. The environmental impact of these STANAGs on munitions throughout their life is described in detail in this paper. In addition, the NATO Maintenance & Supply Agency (NAMSA), which is involved in demilitarizing significant amounts of munitions, takes into consideration the environmental impact of the demilitarization.