TAB A – Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary

This tab lists acronyms and abbreviations found in this report. Additionally, the Glossary defines selected technical terms not found in common usage.

Acronyms and Abbreviations



CAM Chemical Agent Monitor
m meter
mg milligram
NBC nuclear, biological, and chemical
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RADIAC Radioactivity, Detection, Indication, and Computation
US United States
VOS Vehicle Orientation System



A blood agent
Chemical name: hydrogen cyanide[68]

Blister agent

A chemical warfare agent producing local irritation and damage to the skin and mucous membranes; pain and injury to the eyes; reddened blistered skin; and when inhaled, damage to the respiratory tract. Blister agents include mustards (HD, HN, HQ, HT, and Q), arsenicals like lewisite (L), and mustard-lewisite mixtures (HL). Also called vesicants or vesicant agents.[69]

Blood agent

A chemical warfare agent inhaled and absorbed into the blood, carrying the agent to all body tissues, where it interferes with the tissue oxygenation process, especially to the brain. The effect on the brain leads to cessation of respiration followed by cardiovascular collapse. Examples of blood agents are AC and CK.[70]

Chemical warfare agent (CWA)

A chemical substance used in military operations to kill, seriously injure, or incapacitate through its physiological effects, excluding riot control agents, herbicides, smoke, and flame and including blood, nerve, blister, choking, and incapacitating agents.[71]


A substance that, when present in the absence of a chemical warfare agent or the presence of chemical agent at the blank level causes a false positive when otherwise a true negative would have resulted.[72]


A riot control agent
Chemical Name: O-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile[73]


A nerve agent: GF
Chemical Name: O-Cyclohexyl-methylphosphonofluoridate[74]

Distilled Mustard

A blister agent: HD
Chemical name: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide[75]


A G-series nerve agent: tabun
Chemical name: Ethyl N,N-dimethylphosphoroamidocyanidate[76]


A G-series nerve agent: sarin
Chemical name: Isopropyl methyl phosphonofluoridate[77]


A G-series nerve: soman
Chemical name: Pinacolyl methyl phosphonofluoridate[78]


A G-series nerve agent: cyclosarin
Chemical Name: O-Cyclohexyl-methylphosphonofluoridate[79]

G-series nerve agents

Lethal chemical warfare agents that work by inhibiting the proper functioning of the cholinesterase enzymes needed to transmit nerve impulses throughout the body. These agents affect the functioning of all bodily systems, including the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and muscles. G-series nerve agents include tabun (GA), sarin (GB), soman (GD), and cyclosarin (GF). The normal sequence of symptoms from a vapor exposure is a runny nose, tightness of the chest, dimmed vision and pinpointed eye pupils, difficulty breathing, drooling and excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, cramps, involuntary defecation and urination, twitching, jerking and staggering, headache, confusion, drowsiness, and coma. Breathing ceases; death follows.[80]



A World Wide Web site maintained by the Office of the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical Readiness, and Military Deployments (


A blister agent: distilled mustard
Chemical name: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide[81]


A blister agent mixture of mustard and lewisite
Chemical names: HD: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
L: Dichloro-(2-chlorovinyl)arsine[82]


A blister agent mixture of sulfur-mustard and sesqui-mustard
Chemical names: HD: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
Q: 1, 2-Bis-(2-chloroethylthio) ethane[83]


An organic compound containing only carbon and hydrogen and usually occurring in petroleum, natural gas, coal, and bitumens [asphalts, pitch, etc.].[84]


A blister agent: lewisite
Chemical Name: Dichloro-(2-chlorovinyl)arsine[85]

M256 Chemical Warfare Agent Detector Kit

Called the "M256" in the field, the kit is a portable, expendable item capable of detecting and identifying less-than-hazardous concentrations of blister, blood, and nerve agents. The M256 kit is used after a chemical warfare agent warning to test for and confirm the presence and type of chemical warfare agent, and determine if it is safe to unmask. The M256A1 replacement detects smaller amounts of nerve agent. US forces used both the M256 and the M256A1 during the Gulf War. Some smokes, high temperatures, standard US decontamination solution number two (DS2), and petroleum products may cause false readings. Results may be inaccurate when sampling in smoke from burning debris.[86]

M8A1 chemical alarm alarm

An automatic chemical agent detection and warning system designed to detect the presence of nerve agent vapors or inhalable aerosols at less-than-hazardous concentrations. The system is composed of the M43A1 Detector and the M42 Alarm. The M8A1 automatically signals the presence of the nerve agent in the air with both an audible and visible warning. The US military fielded the M8A1 to replace the wet chemical M8 detector, simultaneously eliminating the M229 refill kit, the logistic burden, and associated costs. The M8A1 operates in a fixed, portable, or vehicle-mounted configuration.[87] [link to M8 information paper]

Nerve agents

Nerve agents are highly toxic and among the deadliest of chemical warfare agents. Nerve agents may be absorbed through any body surface; the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, and through the gastrointestinal tract when ingested with food or water. They affect the nervous and the respiratory systems and various body functions. Nerve agents include the G-series and V-series chemical warfare agents such as G-agents Tabun (GA), Sarin (GB), Soman (GD), and GF. A V-agent is VX.[88]

Riot control agent

A chemical that produces transient effects that disappear within minutes after exposure and rarely require medical treatment. Riot control agents are effective in quelling civil disturbances.[89]


A nerve agent: GB
Chemical name: Isoproyl methylphosphonofluoridate[90]

Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM)

Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, SBCCOM has a broad research, development and acquisition mission to ensure the decisive edge and maximum protection for the United States. SBCCOM develops, acquires, and sustains soldier, soldier support, and nuclear, biological, and chemical defense technology, systems, and services. SBCCOM also provides for safe storage, treaty compliance, and destruction of chemical materiel.[91]


A nerve agent: GD
Chemical name: Pinacolyl methyl phosphonofluoridate[92]


A nerve agent: GA
Chemical name: Ethyl N, N-dimethylphosphoroamidocyanidate[93]

V-series agents

Persistent, highly toxic nerve agents developed in the mid-1950s and absorbed primarily through the skin. V-series agents are generally persistent, (non-evaporating), odorless liquids.[94] A common V agent is VX.


V-series nerve agent
Chemical name:
O-ethyl-S-(2-iisopropylaminoethyl) methyl phosphonothiolate[95]

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