As the Army’s site project manager for the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF), I have come to appreciate The Hermiston Herald’s diligence in informing our community. However, I must take issue with assertions made in Mr. Lockwood’s column in the Dec. 4 edition. The idea that the U.S. Army Program Manager for Chemical Demilitarization or any of its contractors at the UMCDF are silencing its employees is simply not true.

All organizations working at the UMCDF release information consistent with the Army’s official policy, “maximum disclosure, minimum delay.” While the events of Sept. 11 have complicated executing that philosophy, it remains at the core of public outreach at UMCDF. Throughout our relationship with Mr. Lockwood, we believe we have been forthcoming with him, as we have been with the media in general.

The Washington Demilitarization Company’s policy on the public release of information was written as a tool to keep the company in compliance with its Army contract requiring it to coordinate all outreach activities with us. As the systems contractor, Washington Demilitarization Company is responsible not only for its official statements concerning UMCDF, but also those of its subcontractors.

As the “owner” of the project, the Army has the right to determine who speaks for the project and what is said in the project’s name. This policy helps insure that right is respected. (For the full column, please see the January 1, 2002 issue of the Hermiston Herald, page A-5.)

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