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Department of Defense


NUMBER 6055.9

July 29, 1996

Certified Current as of March 5, 2004


SUBJECT:  DoD Explosives Safety Board (DDESB) and DoD Component Explosives Safety Responsibilities

References: (a)  DoD Directive 6055.9, "DoD Explosives Safety Board (DDESB)," November 25, 1983 (hereby canceled)

(b)  Section 172 of title 10, United States Code

(c)  DoD 6055.9-STD, "DoD Ammunition and Explosives Safety Standards," October 1992

(d)  DoD 5025.1-M, "DoD Directives System Procedures," August 1994

(e)  DoD Directive 6055.13, "Transportation Accident Prevention and Emergency Response Involving Conventional DoD Munitions and Explosives," May 27, 1988 (hereby canceled)

(f)  DoD Directive 8910.1, "Management and Control of Information Requirements," June 11, 1993


This Directive:

1.1.  Reissues reference (a), to update policy and responsibilities for the DDESB (enclosure 1) as a joint activity of the Department of Defense under reference (b).

1.2.  Continues authorization of the publication of reference (c), consistent with reference (d).  In accordance with reference (b) and consistent with the U.S. Attorney General opinion of October 27, 1949, the Board's ammunition and explosives safety standards must be considered binding, but only as minimum safety standards.

1.3.  Redesignates the Secretary of Army as the DoD Executive Agent for DoD emergency response to transportation mishaps involving ammunition and explosives, as previously designated by reference (e).


This Directive applies to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Military Departments, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, and the Defense Agencies (hereafter referred to collectively as "the DoD Components").  The term "Military Services," as used herein, refers to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps.


Terms used in this Directive are defined in enclosure 2.


Consistent with peacetime and wartime operational (ammunition and explosives) requirements, it is DoD policy to:

4.1.  Enhance readiness by providing the maximum possible protection to operational capability, personnel, property, and the environment from the damaging effects of mishaps.

4.2.  Limit exposure to the minimum number of persons, for the minimum time, to the minimum amount of ammunition and explosives consistent with safe and efficient operations.

4.3.  Comply with DoD 6055.9-STD (reference (c)) and with host-nation or North Atlantic Treaty Organization standards, whichever is more stringent, when mandated by international agreements.

4.4.  Implement and maintain an aggressive explosives safety program.

4.5.  Respond promptly to mishaps to protect DoD interests and safeguard the public.

4.6.  Consider and, to the extent practical, comply with applicable environmental requirements.  Resolve inconsistency between ammunition and explosives safety standards and applicable environmental standards.  (If resolution cannot be reached, ammunition and explosives safety standards shall take precedence over environmental standards.)


5.1.  The Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology shall:

5.1.1. Have principal OSD staff responsibility for DDESB activities.

5.1.2.  Appoint the chair from officers in the grade of O-6, or higher, nominated by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned.  The Chair's position shall rotate among the Military Departments every 3 years.

5.1.3.  Designate a knowledgeable official from the Defense Special Weapons Agency and the Defense Logistics Agency who, besides other assigned duties, shall serve as a non-voting member of the DDESB when the business before the DDESB concerns that Agency.

5.1.4.  Provide budgeting and funding support to the DDESB to develop and maintain a DoD explosives safety research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) program.

5.1.5.  Ensure that the Chair, DDESB, shall:  Preside over the DDESB (enclosure 1) and exercise one vote on all matters coming before the Board.  Direct the Secretariat.  Provide impartial and objective advice to the Secretary of Defense and the Heads of the DoD Components on explosives safety matters.  Resolve conflicts within DDESB jurisdiction.  Establish and direct working groups.  Report annually to the Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the Military Departments on the status of explosives safety in the DoD Components.

5.2.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall designate a representative to provide guidance or coordination to the DDESB on joint or coalition issues deemed unique or unusual that are of the Chairman's interest and cannot be resolved by a Unified Combatant Commander.  Representation may be delegated to a Unified Combatant Commander when the issue is unique to that Commander.

5.3.  The Commanders of the Unified Combatant Commands shall, through respective Service components, ensure explosives safety is integrated into the planning process.  At the request of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, provide a representative to the DDESB to advise the Board, as required.

5.4.  The Secretaries of the Military Departments shall:

5.4.1.  As directed by Section 172 of 10 U.S.C. (reference (b)), select a member and an alternate member of the Board with experience in ammunition and explosives management and/or explosive ordnance disposal.  The alternate shall act for the member if absent, with plenary powers.  The Secretary of the Navy shall select qualified representatives for both the Navy and the Marine Corps.  Each Service shall have one vote on all matters coming before the Board.

5.4.2.  Assign one qualified (see subparagraph 5.4.1., above) officer in grade O-6 (the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force) to the DDESB Secretariat.  Additionally, the Secretary of the Navy shall assign a like qualified officer from the Marine Corps to the DDESB Secretariat.

5.4.3.  Ensure that actions are taken to correct DDESB survey findings.

5.4.4.  Consistent with DoD Directive 8910.1 (reference (f)), provide the DDESB with information and support necessary to discharge its assigned responsibilities and functions.

5.4.5.  Develop and maintain a comprehensive and effective explosives safety program.

5.4.6.  Develop and maintain an explosives safety RDT&E program.  Coordinate programs with the other Military Departments and the DDESB.

5.4.7.  Ensure that ammunition and explosives safety site plans are submitted, as specified in DoD 6055.9-STD (reference (c)) and appropriate Service regulations.

5.4.8.  Certify that new site and general construction plans that provide less than the prescribed level of safety are essential because of operational necessity or other compelling reason.

5.4.9.  Develop and implement ammunition and explosives safety standards consistent with reference (c), when no DoD standards exist.

5.4.10.  Inform the DDESB of conflicts between explosives safety, ammunition life-cycle and environmental security requirements.

5.4.11.  Report ammunition and explosives mishaps, in accordance with reference (c).

5.4.12.  Ensure that assigned final ammunition and explosives hazard classifications are submitted for review in accordance with DoD Component regulations.

5.4.13.  Submit to the DDESB plans for the removal of unexploded ordnance or explosives when land known or suspected to contain such items is considered for lease, transfer outside the Department of Defense, or disposal.

5.4.14.  Support working groups when requested by the Chair, DDESB.

5.4.15.  Expeditiously inform their respective Unified Combatant Commands of any ammunition and explosives situation or condition that could impact on the command's warfighting capability, while concurrently taking all appropriate measures to alleviate or mitigate such hazards.

5.5.  The Secretary of the Army shall:

5.5.1.  Provide administrative support for the DDESB to include budgeting, funding, civilian personnel, security, and any other required administrative services.

5.5.2.  Serve as the DoD Executive Agent for emergency response to transportation mishaps involving ammunition and explosives; develop command and control procedures; and maintain the DoD coordination center using the Defense Transportation Tracking System as the DoD focal point for initial notification of accidents involving ammunition and explosives.

5.5.3.  Submit clearance plans for formerly used defense sites (FUDS) where unexploded ordnance or explosives exist, or are suspected to exist, in accordance with DoD 6055.9-STD (reference (c)).

5.5.4.  Establish procedures, personnel qualifications, and training to ensure the safe commercial movement of ammunition and explosives and the prevention of mishaps.  Take timely actions following a mishap by a commercial carrier involving the transportation of DoD ammunition and explosives.

5.6.  The Commander in Chief, Transportation Command, shall:

5.6.1.  Designate a knowledgeable official who, in addition to other assigned duties, shall serve as a nonvoting, advisory member when the business before the DDESB concerns the U.S. Transportation Command.

5.6.2.  Establish a program to evaluate the safety of commercial carriers of DoD ammunition and explosives, and maintain coordination with the DDESB and the Department of Transportation to ensure its effective implementation.

5.6.3.  Have authority, if dictated by a strategic or other compelling reason, to approve DoD explosives safety waivers for moving ammunition and explosives through commercial aerial and water ports.


The DDESB is authorized and expected to communicate freely with all DoD offices and other U.S. Government, foreign, and private organizations having a mutual interest or responsibility in ammunition and explosives safety matters.  In technical relationships with foreign governments, agencies, or organizations, the Board shall observe such policy and procedural guidance as prescribed by applicable international agreements.


This Directive is effective immediately.

Signed by:  John P. White, Deputy Secretary of Defense

Enclosures - 2

E1.  DDESB Organization and Functions

E2.  Definitions



E1.1.1.  The DDESB shall be composed of the Chair, voting representatives from each Military Service for policy matters, and a permanent civilian and military Secretariat to perform the operations and administrative functions of the Board.  The normal tour of duty for military personnel assigned to the Secretariat is 3 years.

E1.1.2.  The DDESB shall:

E1.1.2.1.  Provide impartial and objective advice to the Secretary of Defense and the DoD Components on explosives safety matters.

E1.1.2.2.  Develop ammunition and explosives safety standards, in accordance with explosives safety management principles.

E1.1.2.3.  Establish joint hazard classification procedures with the DoD Components.

E1.1.2.4.  Maintain liaison with other Federal and State agencies, foreign governments, professional organizations, academia, and industries having mutual interests or responsibilities.

E1.1.2.5.  Keep informed on explosives safety matters.

E1.1.2.6.  Provide assistance on request.

E1.1.2.7.  Serve as the DoD advocate for environmental security, as it relates to explosives safety, and ensure that environmental concerns and regulations are addressed during the development of ammunition and explosives safety standards.  Resolve conflicts between explosives safety standards and environmental standards.

E1.1.2.8.  Review for approval explosives safety site plans.

E1.1.2.9.  Develop and conduct RDT&E programs to validate and improve ammunition and explosives safety standards.  RDT&E programs may be conducted with other Federal and State agencies, foreign governments, professional organizations, academia, or industries.

E1.1.2.10.  Review existing DoD real property and FUDS clean up plans where unexploded ordnance or explosives exist or are suspected to exist.

E1.1.2.11.  Conduct surveys to evaluate compliance with ammunition and explosives safety standards.



E2.1.1.  Ammunition and Explosives.  Includes (but is not necessarily limited to) all items of U.S. titled (owned by the U.S. Government through the DoD Components) ammunition; propellants, liquid and solid; pyrotechnics; high explosives; guided missiles; warheads; devices, and chemical agent substances and components presenting real or potential hazards to life, property, and the environment.  Excluded are wholly inert items and nuclear warheads and devices, except for considerations of storage and stowage compatibility, blast, fire, and nonnuclear fragment hazards associated with the explosives.

E2.1.2.  DoD Explosives Safety Board (DDESB).  The DoD organization charged with promulgation of ammunition and explosives safety policy and standards, and with reporting on the effectiveness of the implementation of such policy and standards.  (See enclosure 1.)

E2.1.3.  Environmental Security.  The result of effective explosives safety management, actions, standards, and criteria that are designed to protect people, equipment, facilities, natural and cultural resources, the public, and environment that because of DoD Operational and Logistics requirements, are associated with, or exposed to, DoD ammunition and explosives-related organizations and activities.

E2.1.4.  Explosives Safety.  A condition where operational capability, personnel, property, and the environment are protected from the unacceptable effects of an ammunition or explosives mishap.

E2.1.5.  Explosives Safety Management.  A process of risk management, consisting of policies, procedures, and engineering controls, that reduces the probability and the consequences of an ammunition or explosives mishap.

E2.1.6.  Mishap.  An accident or an unexpected event involving DoD ammunition and explosives.