TAB A - Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary

This tab provides a listing of acronyms and abbreviations found in this report.  Additionally, the glossary section provides a definition for a selected technical term not found in common usage.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

AAV assault amphibian vehicle
AOR area of operations
BW biological warfare
CAM chemical agent monitor
CBDCOM (now SBCCOM) US Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command
CEB combat engineer battalion
CSTA Combat Systems Test Activity
CW chemical warfare
CWO chief warrant officer
DoD Department of Defense
DSB Defense Science Board
EOD explosive ordnance disposal
ESB engineer support battalion
GAO General Accounting Office
I MEF I Marine Expeditionary Force
MARCENT Marine Forces Central Command
MARDIV Marine division
MEF Marine Expeditionary Force
MLRS multiple launched rocket system
MM-1 mobile mass spectrometer
MOPP mission oriented protective posture
NBC nuclear, biological, chemical
NBCRS nuclear, biological, chemical reconnaissance system
NCO non-commissioned officer
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology
OPORD operation order
OSAGWI Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses
OSD Office of the Secretary of Defense
PAC Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses
SBCCOM (formerly CBDCOM) Soldier and Biological Chemical Command
UNSCOM United Nations Special Commission on Iraq
US United States
USMC United States Marine Corps
USMCR United States Marine Corps Reserve



Blister agent

A blister agent is a chemical warfare agent that produces local irritation and damage to the skin and mucous membranes, pain and injury to the eyes, reddening and blistering of the 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 and lewisite mixtures (HL). Blister agents are also called vesicants or vesicant agents.[226, 227]

Chemical agent monitor

A CAM is a hand-held, soldier-operated device that is used to monitor chemical warfare agent contamination on soldiers and equipment. The CAM may give false readings when used in enclosed spaces or when sampling near strong vapor sources (e.g., in dense smoke). Some vapors known to give false readings are aromatic vapors (perfumes, food flavorings, some aftershaves, peppermints, cough lozenges, and menthol cigarettes when vapors are exhaled directly into the nozzle), cleaning compounds (disinfectants, methyl salicylate, menthol), smokes and fumes (exhaust from some rocket motors, fumes from some munitions), and some wood preservative treatments (polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs).[228]

Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM)

CBDCOM is a US Army command with a mission to provide research, development, and acquisition for nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC), and obscurant equipment for the US Forces; to act as the Army NBC defense commodity command; to provide management of joint service NBC defense material; to provide US chemical stockpile management and safe storage; to provide installation management; to prepare for and respond to chemical biological emergency events/accidents; provide weapons of mass destruction (chemical or biological) domestic preparedness support; to conduct emergency remediation/restoration actions at chemical sites; to provide successful planning, management, and execution of treaty responsibilities; and to provide demilitarization support. The Chemical and Biological Defense Command merged with the Soldier Support Command to form the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command.[229]

Chemical warfare agent

A chemical warfare agent is a chemical substance used in military operations to kill, seriously injure, or incapacitate through its physiological effects. Excluded are riot control agents, herbicides, smoke, and flame. Included are blood, nerve, blister, choking, and incapacitating agents.[230]


A nerve agent known as GF
Chemical Name: O-Cyclohexyl-methylfluorophosphonate[231]

Detection paper

Detection paper works because certain dyes are soluble in chemical warfare agents. Normally, two dyes and one pH indicator are mixed with cellulose fibers in a paper without special coloring (unbleached). When the paper absorbs a drop of chemical warfare agent, it dissolves one of the pigments. Mustard agent dissolves a red dye and nerve agent a yellow dye. In addition, VX nerve agent causes the indicator to turn to blue—which, together with the yellow, will become green or green-black. Detection paper can thus be used to distinguish between three different types of chemical warfare agents. A disadvantage with the papers is that many other substances can also dissolve the pigments. Consequently, detection papers should not be located in places where drops of solvent, fat, oil, or fuel can fall on them. Drops of water cause no reaction.[232]

Distilled mustard

A blister agent known as HD
Chemical name: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide[233]

Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD)

The detection, identification, on-site evaluation, rendering safe, recovery, and final disposal of unexploded explosive ordnance. It may also include removal of explosive ordnance that has become hazardous by damage or deterioration.[234]

False negative

A false negative occurs when a chemical warfare agent detector falsely indicates that a chemical warfare agent is not present, even though the agent is present at a casualty producing concentration level.[235]

False positive

A false positive occurs when a chemical warfare agent detector falsely indicates the presence of a chemical warfare agent.[236]

Fox Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) Reconnaissance Vehicle

The Fox is a six-wheeled, light armored vehicle designed primarily for reconnaissance of liquid chemical warfare agent hazards. On-board chemical warfare agent detection capabilities include the MM-1 mobile mass spectrometer, which is the primary detection device, the M43A1 chemical agent detector, which is an integral component of the M8 alarm system, and the M256A1 chemical agent detector kit. The Fox is also equipped with two radiation detectors. The Fox does not provide any biological warfare agent detection capability, but it does protect the crew from biological hazards, and it allows the crew to mark areas of potential hazard and safely take samples for laboratories to analyze for biological hazards.[237]

Fragmentary Order An abbreviated form of an operation order, usually issued on a day-to-day basis, which eliminates the need for restating information contained in a basic operation order. A fragmentary order may be issued in sections.[238]

A G-series nerve agent known as sarin
Chemical name: Isopropyl methyl phosphonofluoridate[239]


A G-series nerve agent known as cyclosarin
Chemical Name: O-Cyclohexyl-methylfluorophosphonate[240]

G-series nerve agents

G-series nerve agents are lethal chemical warfare agents that work by inhibiting the proper functioning of the cholinesterase enzymes needed for the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the body. These agents affect the functioning of all bodily systems, including the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and muscles. The G-series nerve agents include tabun (GA), sarin (GB), soman (GD), and cyclosarin (GF). The normal sequence of symptoms is a running nose, tightness of the chest, dimness of vision and pinpointing of the eye pupils, difficulty breathing, drooling and excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, cramps, involuntary defecation and urination, twitching, jerking and staggering, headache, confusion, drowsiness, and coma. Cessation of breathing and death follow.[241]


A World Wide Web site maintained by the Office of the Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses (


A blister agent known as distilled mustard
Chemical name: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide[242]


A blister agent that is a mustard-lewisite mixture
Chemical names: HD: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
L: Dichloro-(2-chlorovinyl)arsine[243]

HN (-1, -2, & -3)

A blister agent known as nitrogen mustard
Chemical names: HN-1: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) ethylamine
HN-2: Bis-(2-chloroethyl)methylamine
HN-3: Tris-(2-chloroethyl) amine[244]


A blister agent known as sulfur-mustard/sesqui-mustard Chemical names: HD: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
Q: 1,2-Bis (2-chloroethylthio) ethane[245]

H-series blister agents

A series of persistent blister agents that includes levinstein (sulfur) mustards (H), distilled mustard (HD), nitrogen mustards (HN), a mustard-lewisite mixture (HL), a mustard T mixture (HT), a sulfur-mustard/sesqui-mustard mixture (HQ), and sesqui-mustard (Q).[246,247]


A blister agent known as mustard-t mixture
Chemical name: HD: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
T: Bis [2(2-chloroethylthio) ethyl] ether[248]


A hydrocarbon is an organic compound containing only carbon and hydrogen and often occurring in petroleum, natural gas, coal, and bitumens.[249]

Incapacitating agent

An incapacitating agent is a chemical warfare agent that produces a temporary disabling condition (physiological or psychological) that persists for hours to days after exposure has ceased.[250]


An interferent is a substance that, when present with a chemical warfare agent at or above the minimum detectable level, causes a false negative when otherwise a true positive would have resulted.[251]


A blister agent known as lewisite
Chemical Name: Dichloro-(2-chlorovinyl)arsine[252]

M17 "Sanator," lightweight decontaminating system

The M17 lightweight decontaminating system consists of a pumper and heating unit, an accessory kit, and a water storage tank. This equipment is designed to draw water from 30 feet away and nine feet below pump level and deliver it at controlled temperatures. The rubberized-fabric self-supporting tank has a fill capability of 1,580 gallons, is independent of outside power, and provides a showering capability for up to 12 people at a time.[253]

M256 chemical warfare agent detector kit

In the field, the M256-series chemical warfare agent detector kit is simply referred to as the M256 kit. The M256 kit is a portable, expendable item capable of detecting and identifying 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 to determine if it is safe to unmask. The M256A1 kit has replaced the M256 kit. The only difference between the two kits is that the M256A1 kit will detect lower levels of nerve agent. US forces used both the M256 kit and the M256A1 kit 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 is performed in smoke from burning debris.[254]

M258A1 Individual Decontamination Kit

The M258A1 kit’s primary function is to decontaminate the skin when contaminated by liquid chemical warfare agents. The kit contains six packets. Three packets are marked DECON 1 WIPE. Each contains a gauze pad soaked with a decontamination solution. The other three packets are marked DECON 2 WIPE. Each contains a gauze pad and glass ampoules filled with decontamination solution. The decontamination solutions in decon wipe 1 and decon wipe 2 react with chemical warfare agents to neutralize them.[255]

M9 chemical warfare agent detector paper

M9 chemical warfare agent detector paper is used to detect the presence of liquid chemical warfare agents. Battlefield uses include applying M9 paper to vehicles, chemical protective clothing, and other mission essential equipment. When a liquid chemical warfare agent comes in contact with the paper, the dye in the paper reacts with the chemical warfare agent to form pink, red, red-brown, or red-purple spots or streaks.

M9 paper responds to some common battlefield interferents. Among them are petroleum products, brake fluid, aircraft cleaning compound, insect repellent, sand color camouflage stick, smoke, defoliant, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), and scuffs of dirt or mud. The M9 paper will not respond to chemical warfare agents when wet and will give false positive indications when abraded against a rough surface. Heat may cause M9 paper to turn red and cause false positive readings.[256]

Median Lethal Dosage

Median Lethal Dosage (LCt50) is the dosage of nerve agent vapor that is lethal to 50 percent of exposed, unprotected personnel.[257]

Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP)

Mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) is a flexible system used to direct the wearing of chemical protective garments and mask—a system that balances mission requirements with the chemical warfare agent threat. Wearing chemical protective garments and mask provides soldiers protection against most known chemical warfare agents, biological agents, and toxins.

At MOPP Level 0 soldiers carry their protective mask while their remaining MOPP gear must be readily available (e.g., within the work area, fighting position, living space, etc.) At MOPP Level 1, soldiers wear their overgarment and carry the rest of their MOPP gear. At MOPP Level 2, soldiers wear their overgarment and overboots while carrying the mask with hood and gloves. At MOPP Level 3, soldiers wear their overgarment, overboots, and mask with hood, but not the gloves. At MOPP Level 4, soldiers wear all their MOPP gear.[258] Commanders can raise or lower the amount of protection through five levels of MOPP. In addition, commanders, under certain situations, can exercise a mask-only option.[259]

MM-1 mobile mass spectrometer

The MM-1 mobile mass spectrometer is the primary chemical warfare agent detector in the Fox reconnaissance vehicle. During Operation Desert Storm, the MM-1 monitored against a target list of approximately ten selected chemical warfare agents most likely to be present, based on intelligence reports of the suspected chemical warfare agent threat. To speed the initial search, the sampling probe operates at 180 C and the MM-1 looks for only four ion peaks of each detected chemical warfare agent and attempts to match the target list of chemicals against the pattern and ratio of these peaks. If an initial match is made with these four ion peaks at a pre-determined intensity and relationship, the MM-1 sounds an alarm. However, this first alarm does not confirm the presence of a chemical warfare agent, since there are many chemicals that have similar ion peaks and many combinations of chemicals that may yield ion patterns similar to those in the target list. Consequently, the MM-1 can falsely indicate the presence of dangerous chemical warfare agents. To more conclusively determine what chemical is present, the operator must lower the sampling probe temperature to 120 C, re-acquire a sample of the suspected substance, and run a spectrum analysis with the MM-1 against all the detection algorithms stored in the MM-1 chemical library. For more detailed analysis later, the complete ion spectrum of the suspected sample can be printed on a paper tape.[260]

NBC Reports NBC Reports are formatted messages designed to rapidly disseminate key information on NBC threats. Included are the following:
NBC-1 An NBC-1 report is used by the observing units to give basic initial and follow-up data about an NBC-attack. Battalion and higher elements consolidate reports and decide which to forward.
NBC-2 An NBC-2 report is based on two or more NBC-1 reports. It is used to pass evaluated data to units, usually by division level or higher elements.
NBC-3 An NBC-3 report is used to disseminate information on predicted downwind hazard areas based on the analysis of NBC-1 reports. Each unit evaluates the NBC-3 report, determines which of its subordinate units may be affected, and further disseminates the report as required.
NBC-4 An NBC-4 report is used to report possible detection of NBC-hazards determined by monitoring equipment, survey or reconnaissance.
NBC-5 Information from NBC-4 reports is plotted on maps and an NBC-5 report is generated showing areas of contamination. This report is usually disseminated as a map overlay by division level elements.
NBC-6 This report summarizes information concerning a chemical or biological attack(s) and is prepared at battalion level, but only if requested by higher headquarters. It is primarily used as an intelligence tool to help determine future enemy intentions.[261]
Nerve agents

Nerve agents are the most toxic of the chemical warfare agents. Nerve agents enter the body through breathing, by injection, or absorption through the skin. They affect the nervous and the respiratory systems and various body functions. They include the G-series and V-series chemical warfare agents.[262]

Non-persistent agent

A chemical warfare agent that disperses or vaporizes rapidly after release and presents an immediate to short duration hazard. These agents are generally released as aerosols, gases, vapors, liquids, or solids.[263]

Operation order

A directive issued by a commander to subordinate commanders for the purpose of effecting the coordinated execution of an operation.[264]

Persistent agent

A chemical warfare agent that continues to present a hazard for considerable periods after delivery by remaining as a contact hazard and/or by vaporizing very slowly to produce a hazard by inhalation. Generally may be in a solid or liquid state.[265]


A blister agent, known as sesqui-mustard, Q is a more effective chemical warfare vesicant than sulfur mustard (H). It produces symptoms consistent with blister type agents, with about five times stronger skin activity than distilled mustard (HD). The fact that it is in solid form at room temperature with a very low vapor pressure hinders its effective use as a chemical warfare agent. Combining sesqui-mustard (Q) with distilled mustard (HD) to form sulfur-mustard/sesqui-mustard (HQ) helped to eliminate this problem.

Chemical name: Ethylene bis (Z-Chloroethyl) sulfide, or
1,2-Bis (2-chloroethylthio) ethane[266]


A nerve agent known as GB
Chemical name: Isoproyl methylphosphonofluoridate[267]

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.[268]

Task force

A temporary grouping of units, under one commander, formed to carry out a specific operation or mission; a semi-permanent organization of units, under one commander, formed to carry out a continuing specific task.[269]

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