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Chemical and Biological Defense: Observations on Actions Taken to Protect Military Forces
[Technical Report, Congressional Testimony]
Government Accountability Office
Pagination or Media Count:
Between 1996 and 1999, GAO issued many reports and testimonies dealing with various aspects of U.S. forces preparedness for surviving and operating on a chemically or biologically contaminated battlefield. These reports and testimonies are listed in appendix I. In 1996, we reported that DOD was slow in responding to lessons learned from the Gulf War. Problems encountered during this conflict demonstrated that chemical and biological defense equipment and training, and medical factors, needed more emphasis during peacetime in order to meet the demanding requirements of current U.S. strategy for the rapid deployment of forces based in the United States to regional conflicts overseas. We concluded that despite increased DOD emphasis on chemical and biological defense, problems with equipment, training, medical care, and other areas persist and are likely to result in needless casualties and a degradation of U.S. warfighting capability. In 1997 and 1998, we issued reports and testimonies addressing more specific chemical and biological defense topics such as the protection of critical rear-area facilities, defenses against biological agents, and concerns specific to the Northeast Asian theater. These efforts reported that many doctrinal and planning aspects of chemical and biological defense remained largely unaddressed and that biological agent vaccines were insufficient to protect the force. In 1998 and 1999, our work expanded to address topics such as DODs coordination of chemical and biological research and development programs, its strategy for low-level exposures, and implementation of DODs anthrax vaccine program. We reported that existing chemical and biological defense program coordinating mechanisms may not ensure that program gaps and opportunities for collaboration would be addressed, and that the program had not incorporated key Results Acts principles.
[A, Approved For Public Release]