United States Government Accountability Office Washington United States
Following the 1991 Persian Gulf War, research and investigations into the causes of servicemembers unexplained illnesses were hampered by a lack of servicemember health and deployment data, including inadequate occupational and environmental exposure data. In 1997, the Department of Defense DOD developed a military-wide health surveillance framework that includes occupational and environmental health surveillance OEHSthe regular collection and reporting of occupational and environmental health hazard data by the military services. This testimony is based on GAOs report, entitled Defense Health Care Improvements Needed in Occupational and Environmental Health Surveillance during Deployment to Address Immediate and Long-term Health Issues GAO-05-632. The testimony presents findings about how the deployed military services have implemented DODs policies for collecting and reporting OEHS data for Operation Iraqi Freedom OIF and the efforts under way to use OEHS reports to address both immediate and long-term health issues of servicemembers deployed in support of OIF.