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Joint Munitions Command (JMC)
Active 2003 - present
Country United States
Type Major Subordinate Command of the United States Army Materiel Command (AMC)
Role Operate a nationwide network of facilities where conventional ammunition is produced and stored.
Size Employs 20 military, over 5800 civilians and 8300 contractor personnel
Colors red, yellow, white, black, blue
Brigadier General Larry Wyche

The Pine Bluff Arsenal (PBA) is a US Army installation located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. PBA is one of the six Army installations in the United States that store chemical weapons.[1] PBA supplies specialized production, storage, maintenance and distribution of readiness products, and delivers technical services to the Armed Forces and Homeland Security. PBA also designs, manufactures and refurbishes smoke, riot control, and incendiary munitions, as well as chemical/biological defense operations items. It serves as a technology center for illuminating and infrared munitions and is also the only place in the Northern Hemisphere where white phosphorus munitions are filled. Its Homeland Security mission includes first-responder equipment training and surveillance of prepositioned equipment.



Capabilities of the center include: chemical defense and test equipment; individual and collective chemical protection and decontamination systems; chemical materiel surveillance program; machining, fabrication and assembly; specialty ammunition production; less than lethal ammunition production; and quality assurance and joint logistics services.


PBA was established in November 1941 for the manufacture of incendiary grenades and bombs. It was originally named the Chemical Warfare Arsenal but was renamed four months later.[2] The mission expanded to include production and storage of pyrotechnic, riot control, and chemical-filled munitions. At the height of World War II, the plant expanded from making magnesium and thermite incendiary munitions to a chemical warfare manufacturing facility as well, producing lethal gases and chemical compounds installed in artillery shells and specifically designed bombs.[3]

In an incident after WWII, several captured German rockets containing mustard agents were accidentally launched into the surrounding countryside.[citation needed]

Biological weapons operations were conducted at PBA from 1953 to 1969;[2] but operations ceased when President Nixon banned biological weapons after public outcry over Agent Orange.[3] Between 1954 and 1967, at least seven different biological agents were produced at the facility. All agents were destroyed between 1971 and 1973.[4]

Pine Bluff Arsenal was also the home for the Binary Chemical Weapons Facility. The facility was to create the two toxic agents - QL and DF - that would combine to form VX as well as build the bombs to deliver the nerve agent. Construction of the facility began in the mid-1980s and was mothballed prior to completion in the early 1990s as part of the chemical weapons treaties.[5][6]

The Associated Press reported a leak in a container of white phosphorus was suspected to have ignited the fire that destroyed a warehouse at the Pine Bluff Arsenal on June 6, 2005. White smoke from the fire was seen as far away as six miles. When the fire was extinguished, approximately 19 hours later, officials reported the fire destroyed more than 7,500 canisters of white phosphorus. In the same article the AP reported. "The Pine Bluff Arsenal is home to 12 percent of the nation's chemical weapons stockpile, and destruction of nerve and mustard gas weapons began recently."[7][8]


PBA is housed on 13,493 acres (54.60 km2; 21.083 sq mi) with 665 buildings, 271 igloos and storage capacity of 2,090,563 square feet (190,000 m2). Additionally, PBA has more than 5,000 acres (20 km2; 7.8 sq mi) of developable land.


  1. ^ [ Summary of PBA from the US Army Chemical Materials Agency website
  2. ^ a b Pine Bluff Chemical Activity (PBCA)
  3. ^ a b Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture, Pine Bluff Arsenal
  4. ^ Larsen, Jeff; Wirtz, James J.; Croddy, Eric. Weapons of Mass Destruction: An Encyclopedia of Worldwide Policy, Technology, and History (2 volume set). ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1851094903, 9781851094905. 
  5. ^ [ Pine Bluff Integrated Binary Production Facilities demolition Fact Sheet]
  6. ^ Binary Chemical Weapons information at the Army Chemical Material Agency
  7. ^ Pine Bluff Arsenal Fact Sheet
  8. ^ Leak Suspected Cause in Arkansas Arsenal Fire

External links

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Joint Munitions Command website". This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Pine Bluff Arsenal website".

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