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Munitions Response


The Munitions Response Program (MRP) seeks to identify and respond to munitions and explosives of concern (MEC), material potentially presenting an explosive hazard (MPPEH), and munitions constituents (MC) that present a hazard and/or risk to human health and the environment. Munitions response (MR) actions are conducted following established safety and quality protocols in order to mitigate unacceptable hazards and/or risks. 

Jump to Resources to access Policies & Guidance, Publications, Related Sites, and Tools 



A munitions response site (MRS) is defined as a discrete location that is known to require a MR action. MEC is defined as unexploded ordnance (UXO), discarded munitions material (DMM), and MC present in high enough concentrations to pose an explosive hazard. MC in lower concentrations is not considered MEC. MPPEH is defined as material that, prior to determination of its explosives safety status, potentially contains explosives or munitions (e.g., munitions containers and packaging material; munitions debris remaining after munitions use, demilitarization, or disposal; and range-related debris); or potentially contains a high enough concentration of explosives such that the material presents an explosive hazard (e.g., equipment, drainage systems, holding tanks, piping, or ventilation ducts that were associated with munitions production, demilitarization, or disposal operations). More information on the cleanup of MEC, MPPEH, and MCs under the MRP can be found in Chapter 12 of the Department of the Navy (DON) Environmental Restoration Program Manual (2018). The Manual describes specific differences in the investigative and response actions at MRSs compared to traditional chemical contamination sites.

Explosives Safety

The conduct of response actions where MEC/MPPEH are involved require adherence to explosives safety standards to protect personnel and real property. These policies are developed, monitored and distributed through the Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board (DDESB). The Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity (NOSSA) and Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) are responsible for implementation of these policies with the Navy and Marine Corps, respectively. Explosives safety for MEC projects is enforced through the preparation and adherence to an Explosives Safety Submittal (ESS). More information on ESS requirements can be found in Chapter 12 of the Department of the Navy (DON) Environmental Restoration Program Manual (2018).

Detection, Removal, and Treatment Technologies

The detection, removal, and treatment of MEC/MPPEH requires the use of specialized technologies for terrestrial and underwater sites. For terrestrial sites, there is a broad range of commercially-available instruments, as well advanced geophysical classification (AGC) technologies capable of distinguishing between MEC/MPPEH and non-munitions materials such as scrap metal. Terrestrial detection technologies generally fall into two categories, analog and digital.  Analog methods rely on the operator to manually observe, interpret, and report instrument output. Analog methods are susceptible to multiple points of error and the results are difficult to review for quality assurance (QA)/quality control (QC) purposes. Analog methods should only be used when no other viable alternative exists (e.g., surface sweep during site preparation or steep/inaccessible slopes). Digital methods utilize geo-referenced recording techniques that rely on automated systems for observation, interpretation, and reporting of instrument output. QA/QC of digital methods lends itself to the generation of transparent and traceable data products, which can be compared to established standards of quality. Click here to view a list of detection technologies and remedial options/technologies applicable to terrestrial MRSs. More information on AGC can be found in the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) Geophysical Classification for Munitions Response. To ensure data quality, an accredited contractor must be used (see DoD Advanced Geophysical Classification (AGC) Accreditation Program). Compared to terrestrial technologies which are fairly mature, underwater detection is still evolving. Click here to view a list of detection and remedial options/technologies applicable to underwater MRSs. More technology-related information can be found in in Chapter 12 of the DON Environmental Restoration Program Manual.

Phase Considerations

The MRP follows the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) process. However, there are some unique aspects when addressing MEC/MPPEH. NAVFAC has prepared a series of statement of work templates for key phases in the CERCLA process including the Preliminary Assessment (PA), Site Inspection (SI), Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS), as well as Removal Actions. More information on key considerations at MRSs for each CERCLA phase can be found in in Chapter 12 of the DON Environmental Restoration Program Manual.

Quality Assurance and Quality Control

QA/QC programs help to ensure work is being performed to a high standard to ensure that hazards and/or risks from MEC/MPPEH are being abated. QA/QC programs for MR actions are implemented through Quality Assurance Program Plans (QAPPs) and Quality Assessment Surveillance Plans (QASPs). A Quality Assessment program is designed to be independent of the contractor or agency executing the response action and is intended to objectively verify the adequacy of the contractor’s QC and response actions. NAVFAC's Statement of Work Template for Quality Assessment at a MRS is available for more information. In addition, NAVFAC has developed a Munitions Response Quality Assessment Spreadsheet to support these activities.



Title and Description

ERP Manual

DON Environmental Restoration Program Manual: Chapter 12 Munitions Response Program (February 2018)
Provides basic information, resources, and tools to properly execute and manage an MR project.

Sediments / MEC

Sediment Dredging in Areas Known or Suspected of Containing Munitions and Explosives of Concern and/or Material Potentially Presenting an Explosive Hazard (August 2020)
This guidance was developed for Department of the Navy (DON) Environmental Restoration Remedial Project Managers (RPMs) who are managing and executing sediment dredging projects in areas known or suspected of containing munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) and/or material potentially presenting an explosive hazard (MPPEH).

Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Guidance

Munitions Response Remedial Investigation / Feasibility Study Guidance (June 2019)
This guidance document includes an overview of the U.S. DON MRP, the regulatory framework governing investigations, and response actions under the MRP.

DoD on Military Munitions Rule

DoD Manual 4715.26 DoD Military Munitions Rule Implementation Procedures (June 2019)
This policy establishes an overarching policy for the management of waste military munitions (WMM) that is consistent among DoD Component: DoDM 47.15.26

Explosives Safety

DESR 6055.09, Edition 1 Defense Explosives Safety Regulation (January 2019)
Establishes explosives safety standards for the Department of Defense, These standards are designed to manage explosives-related risk associated with DoD operations and installations by providing protection criteria to minimize serious injury, loss of life, and damage to property. 

Explosives Safety

NOSSAINST 8020.15E Explosives Safety Review, Oversight, and Verification of Munitions Responses (September 2020)
Assigns responsibility and establishes procedures and reporting requirements to enable the Naval Ordnance Safety and Security Activity to provide effective review, oversight, and verification of the explosives safety aspects of munitions responses

Explosives Safety

MCO 5100.29C; Volume 8 Marine Corps Explosives Safety Management Program (October 2020)
Provides policy and guidance for the implementation and oversight of the Marine Corps’ Explosives Safety Management Program (ESMP) and the corresponding command responsibilities.

Site Priority

Munitions Response Site Prioritization Protocol Primer (June 2007)
Provides a framework for assigning a relative priority to investigate and address each MRS.




Title and Description


Interim Response Measures When Potential Munitions and Explosives of Concern are Discovered: Tech Report (July 2020)
This memorandum provides information on how and when to implement land use controls (LUCs) as interim response measures (prior to a Record of Decision) to address safety in the short term, while long-term actions are planned.


UFP-QAPP Munitions Response QAPP Toolkit Module 1: Remedial Investigation (RI)/Feasibility Study (FS) (April 2020)
Uses an example site to describe a phased process for implementing the RI/FS.


DoD-EPA Advanced Geophysical Classification for Munitions Response Quality Assurance Project Plan (AGC QAPP) (April 2016)
Documents the systematic planning process steps leading to in-situ detection and classification of MEC and other debris using AGC. 


Geophysical System Verification (GSV): A Physics-Based Alternative to Geophysical Prove-Outs for Munitions Response (September 2015)
Describes the evolution from geophysical prove-outs to GSV, outlines key GSV elements, and presents an example hypothetical case study.

Munitions Constituents; Natural Attenuation

Attenuation Pathways for Munitions Constituents in Soils and Groundwater (January 2015)
Provides an understanding of natural and enhanced attenuation processes for MC in soils and groundwater. The report includes MC issues; physical, chemical, and biological attenuation pathways; technology applications; and case studies.


Munitions and Explosives of Concern Hazard Assessment Methodology (October 2008)
Describes the methodology for assessing potential explosive hazards to human receptors at MRSs.

Statement of Work Templates

Quality Assessment Scope of Work

NAVFAC Statement of Work Template (SOW) for Quality Assessment at a Munitions Response Site (Oct 2016)
Describes requirements for developing quality assessment procedures for all munitions response actions.

Removal Action Scope of Work

NAVFAC Statement of Work (SOW) Template for a Removal Action at a Munitions Response Site (May 2010)
Used for the removal action phase where the contractor performs the munitions response actions necessary under a time critical removal action (TCRA), Emergency Removal Action, or non-time critical removal actions (NTCRA) to address the past use of MEC and MC.

RI/FS                  Scope of Work

NAVFAC Statement of Work (SOW) Template for Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) at a Munitions Response Site (March 2010)
Used for the RI/FS where the purpose is to determine the nature and extent of the hazard/threat presented by MEC/MC, to perform an explosives safety hazard assessment and/or MC risk assessment, and to evaluate proposed MEC/MC remedies.

Small Arms RI/FS Scope of Work

NAVFAC Statement of Work (SOW) Template for a Small Arms Range Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) (November 2009)
Used for RI/FS scope development for small arms ranges. It is assumed that neither MEC nor MPPEH, other than expended or unexpended small arms ammunition, will be encountered at small arms ranges. Small arms ammunition is ammunition, without projectiles that contain explosives (other than tracers), that is .50 caliber or smaller, or for shotguns. A small arms range is a range used exclusively for expenditure of small arms ammunition.

SI Scope of Work

NAVFAC Statement of Work (SOW) Template for Site Inspection at Munitions and Explosives of Concern (MEC) Sites (November 2009)
Used for the site inspection (SI) phase of sites contaminated with MEC or MC.  This template assumes subsurface soil sampling may be conducted for MC and other potential site contaminants, but that no intrusive or subsurface investigation will be done for MEC. 

MR Research

RDX, Natural Attenuation

Navy Environmental Sustainability Development to Integration (NESDI) 544: Using Stable-Isotope Labeled Tracers to Validate Natural Attenuation of RDX in Groundwater
Demonstrates a stable isotope tracer approach for determining the mechanisms and in situ rates of RDX attenuation in groundwater.

Munitions Constituents
Unexploded ordnance

NESDI 519: Analysis of the Long Term Fate of Munitions Constituents From Unexploded Ordnance and Discarded Military Munitions on Terrestrial Sites
This document provides a summary of information regarding the nature of munitions constituents (MC) with an emphasis on energetic residues and metals.

Blow-in-Place, Underwater MEC

Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) MR-2648: Modeling a Robust Caisson Structure to Resist Effects from Blow-In-Place (BIP) of Underwater UXO
Simulated the use of a blast shield (e.g., a robust caisson structure) to allow for BIP of underwater munitions.

Mobility, Underwater MEC

Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP) MR-200417: Predicting the Mobility and Burial of Underwater UXO Using the Modified VORTEX Model
Demonstrated the use of the UXO Mobility Model to track the fate of underwater MEC for various coastal environments that could be assessed as mobile or immobile areas.



Title and Description



Visual Sample Plan (VSP)

A software tool that supports the development of a defensible sampling plan based on statistical sampling theory and the statistical analysis of sample results to support confident decision making.

Munitions Response


NAVFAC Munitions Response Quality Assessment Spreadsheet (October 2021)                   

A tool to assess the quality of contractor’s MR actions and to help to ensure that contractual requirements are met. The information includes a series of questions to ask throughout the performance of a project to help improve quality for both traditional MR projects and AGC projects. Supersedes the MR Quality Assessment Spreadsheet from August 2017. 

CSM Checklist 

Conceptual Site Model (CSM) Considerations-Munitions (January 2013)

A CSM checklist for munitions considerations. 

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