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Striking at the U.S. Army's Strength: Soldiers. The Imperative of Bio-Technology for Force Health Protection

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Carl Von Clausewitz wrote that a blow directed against a center of gravity has the greatest effect. Soldiers, as a powerful hub for transformation, are the Armys metaphorical center of gravity. Soldiers integrate technology, doctrine, and warfighting skills to create the centripetal force that Clausewitz described as necessary to maintain an armed forces balance. Currently, the most lethal weapons that terrorists possess in their arsenal are biological weapons of mass destruction WMD because these weapons strike at the U.S. Armys biological center of gravity--its soldiers. By using bio-WMD, terrorists can achieve an effects-based calamity that, by contaminating and killing soldiers, can degrade the Armys capabilities. The current chemical- biological CB doctrinal framework of contamination avoidance, protection and restoration is inadequate to protect soldiers against emerging biological warfare BW agents. Furthermore, it does not support the Armys transformation vision of increased agility and survivability. It is imperative to research, design, then field a force health protection net for soldiers that emphasizes soldier immunity to BW attacks and can predict soldier survivability. Currently, knowledge gaps exist in technology that can quantify BW exposures, science that defines dose- related physiologic responses, and validated research that analyzes the long-term health effects of either acute or chronic exposures. These gaps prevent appropriate medical resource allocation, hinder policy development, and can lead to operational risks. Current force health protection doctrine and policy that focuses on minimizing exposure to BW agents or defining the agent then implementing appropriate controls, must broaden to include bio-technological advances in order to provide a comprehensive health protection net for deployed service members. This paper will analyze the issues, discuss potential implications, and make recommendations for bio-defense policy. 7

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  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare

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