Strategies to Protect the Health of Deployed U.S. Forces: Force Protection and Decontamination

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Since Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Gulf War veterans have expressed concerns that their postdeployment medical symptoms could have been caused by hazardous exposures or other deployment-related factors. Potential exposure to a broad range of CB and other harmful agents was not unique to Gulf operations. Hazardous exposures have been a component of all military operations in this century. Nevertheless, the Gulf War deployment focused national attention on the potential, but uncertain, relationship between the presence of CB agents in theater and symptoms reported by military personnel. Particular attention has been given to the potential long-term health effects of low-level exposures to CB agents.

In the spring of 1996, Deputy Secretary of Defense John White met with the leadership of the National Academies to discuss the DoD's continuing efforts to improve protection of military personnel from adverse health effects during deployments in hostile environments. Although many lessons learned from previous assessments of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm have been reported, prospective analyses are still needed. Strategies to Protect the Health of Deployed U.S. Forces: Force Protection and Decontamination, which addresses the issues of physical protection and decontamination, is one of four initial reports that will be submitted in response to that request.

Specifically, this report includes a review and evaluation of the following areas:

  • the adequacy of current protective equipment and protective measures (as well as equipment in development)
  • the efficacy of current and proposed methods for decontaminating personnel and equipment after exposures to CB agents
  • current policies, doctrine, and training to protect and decontaminate personnel and equipment in future deployments (i.e., major regional conflicts [MRCs], lesser regional conflicts [LRCs], and operations other than war [OOTWs])
  • the impact of equipment and procedures on unit effectiveness and other human performance factors
  • current and projected military capabilities to provide emergency response
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780309067935
  • Publisher: National Academies Press
  • Publication date: 1/14/2000
  • Series: Series
  • Pages: 262

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