||October 22, 1996
DOD EXPANDS OUTREACH TO AND SEEKS HELP
FROM GULF WAR VETERANS
Deputy Secretary of Defense John P. White announced today a series of actions to reach
out to and seek the help of about 20,000 Gulf War veterans who may have been near
Khamisiyah, Iraq during the period March 4 - 15, 1991. These actions are being undertaken as
part of the ongoing efforts, at the direction of President Clinton and Secretary of Defense Perry,
to conduct a full investigation of any information that could help determine the causes of
illnesses being explained by veterans of the Gulf War.
U.S. troops destroyed large quantities of Iraqi ammunition at Khamisiyah, a sprawling
ammunition storage site in southern Iraq shortly after the Gulf War ended. Evidence that
chemical weapons may have been among the munitions destroyed on 4 and 10 March has
triggered an intensified effort on the part of DoD to reconstruct the events at that time.
Referring to the ongoing extensive investigation of the events at Khamisiyah, White
stated; "The story of Khamisiyah is still incomplete. We are putting the puzzle together, and we
want those who were there to help us fill in the missing pieces. Khamisiyah is a watershed event
in our search for information and understanding of Gulf War illnesses. It is the first event where
we can place American troops in an area where we believe chemical weapons were destroyed.
To our knowledge, service members at that time did not report the symptoms associated with
exposure to chemical agents, but our search for information continues. The possibility that some
individuals could have been exposed at low levels has caused us to review our clinical and
investigative protocols. We want to reassure our veterans that no effort will be spared in
understanding Gulf War veterans illnesses, and no Gulf War veterans will be without the health
care they need."
In August 1996, DoD began contacting 1,168 U.S. service members assigned to units
involved in the March 4, 1991, demolition operations at the Khamisiyah bunker complex. The
veterans were asked to call the DoD Persian Gulf Veterans hotline to report any medical
problems they may be experiencing and provide any information they believe pertinent to this
service incident. To date, the department has been able to contact more than 500 of these
members by phone. The department will send certified letters to the remainder who could not be
contacted by phone.
"Today as one key step in the Department's efforts, we are launching an outreach effort
to about 20,000 Gulf War veterans who were within 31 miles (50 kilometers) of the Khamisiyah
site from March 4 through March 15, 1991. We are going beyond the area in which there were
likely to have been immediate effects from any chemical agent (nerve gas) exposure. Since there
is evidence that chemical weapons were present during the demolition of a bunker and crated
munitions in a pit area, we are asking for help from our people in learning more about what
"At the same time we are asking for our Gulf War veterans to help, we want to assure
them that we take care of our own," said White. "An aggressive health care outreach effort is
being carried out to these 20,000 Gulf War veterans. For any of them who have health concerns,
we are asking that they contact us or the VA so that we can give them a medical evaluation.
In addition, the department is now investigating the possibility of a detonation at the
Khamisiyah complex on 12 March, two days after the demolition reported earlier. It is not
known if the unit logs containing this report are accurate or, if such a demolition occurred, if
chemical munitions were involved.
The department has launched an extensive research effort to understand what happened
during the war, investigating incidents that may have exposed U.S. troops to chemical weapons
or other unknown substances, and assessing the health of Gulf War veterans. DoD is allocating
up to $15 million in new research into the possible effects of low-level exposure to chemical
agents. Additionally, DoD is funding another $12 million for general research on other possible
causes of Gulf War illnesses.
"We are always concerned with the health of our troops -- especially when they are
deployed to unfamiliar environments where they may be exposed to chemical weapons," said
White. "We will continue to investigate incidents that may have exposed our troops to chemical
weapons or to unknown substances, and to assess and provide for the health of our Gulf War
(Editors Note: Additional handouts related to this topic are attached to this release.)
UNITS WITHIN 5OKM OF KHAMISIYAH
(4-15 MARCH 91)* [20,867 personnel]
Units associated with the 82nd Airborne Division:
Units associated with the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized):
- Headquarters, 82nd Airborne Division 
- Tactical Command Post (TAC), lst Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division 
- Tactical Operations Center (TOC), 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division 
- lst Battalion, 504th Infantry 
- 2nd Battalion, 504th Infantry 
- lst Battalion, 505th Infantry 
- 2nd Battalion, 505th Infantry 
- 3rd Battalion, 505th Infantry 
- 4th Battalion, 325th Infantry 
- lst Battalion, 319th Field Artillery 
- 3rd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery 
- lst Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry 
- 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor 
- 313th Military Intelligence Battalion 
- 307th Medical Battalion 
- 307th Engineer Battalion 
- 37th Engineer Battalion 
- 450th Civil Affairs Battalion 
* Based on locations reported for battalion-level Unit Identification Codes
(UlCs) derived from the Geographic Information System (GIS) [UIC-based
personnel strengths from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC).]
- Main Command Post, 24th Infantry Division 
- Headquarters, 197th Infantry Brigade 
- 2nd Squadron, 4th Cavalry 
- 24th Signal Battalion 
- 724th Combat Support Battalion 
- lst Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery 
- Headquarters, 36th Engineer Group 
- 3rd Engineer Battalion 
- 5th Engineer Battalion 
- 299th Engineer Battalion 
- 362nd Engineer Company 
Units associated with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault):
- Rear Command Post, 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division 
- Headquarters, 101st Aviation Brigade 
- lst Battalion, 320th Field Artillery 
- 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment 
- Headquarters, 265th Engineer Group 
- Headquarters, 937th Engineer Group 
- 12th Engineer Battalion 
- 46th Engineer Battalion 
- 264th Engineer Company 
- Tactical Command Post (TAC), XV111th Airborne Corps Artillery 
- lst Battalion, 181st Field Artillery 
- lst Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery 
- Headquarters, 513th Military Intelligence Brigade 1197]
- Headquarters, 12th Aviation Brigade 
- 9th Chemical Company 
- 36th Medical Detachment 
- 5th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital 
- 41st Medical Hospital 
- 47th Combat Support Hospital 
- 47th Field Hospital 
MEMORANDUM FOR PERSIAN GULF WAR VETERANS
CONCERNING KHAMISIYAH, IRAQ
The Department of Defense is continuing its wide-ranging investigation of incidents that
might be related to Persian Gulf veterans' illnesses. We are asking for your help in providing us
with important information.
Evidence from an ongoing investigation indicates that chemical weapons were present
when U.S. forces destroyed a series of ammunition storage bunkers and crated munitions in an
open pit area at a complex called "Khamisiyah" or "Tal al-Lahm," about 15 miles southeast of
"An Nasiriyah" in southern Iraq. Our records show that your unit was in the vicinity of
Khamisiyah during the period March 4-15, 1991.
To our knowledge, service members at that time did not report the symptoms associated
with acute exposure to chemical agents (nerve gas), but our search for information continues.
You will soon receive a survey as part of our effort to better understand the events surrounding
the Khamisiyah demolition. We need to hear from you, not only about your experience in the
vicinity of the site, but also about any health problems you think may be a result of your service
during Operation Desert Storm/Operation Desert Shield. Your timely response to the survey will
provide us with critical information. If you have information that you believe would be of
immediate value to us pertaining to the events at Khamisiyah, please call the PERSIAN GULF
INCIDENT HOTLINE at 1-800-472-6719.
If you are experiencing health problems you believe to be a result of your service in
Operation Desert Storm/Operation Desert Shield and you are eligible for health benefits through
the Department of Defense, please call the COMPREHENSIVE CLINICAL EVALUATION
PROGRAM at 1-800-796-9699. If you are eligible for benefits provided by the Department of
Veterans Affairs system, please call the PERSIAN GULF HELPLINE at 1-800-PGW-VETS.
When you call please indicate that you were near Khamisiyah on these dates. If you desire, the
person answering the telephone will refer you to an appropriate medical facility for medical
evaluation and care. We want to be sure you receive any health care you may need for health
problems related to your service in the Gulf War.
Be assured, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are working together to
bring all necessary resources to bear on this issue. But we can not do it alone. To understand the
events at Khamisiyah and to address the concerns of our Gulf War veterans, we need your help in
We are indebted to each of you for your service to our country during the Persian Gulf
John P. White
Enclosure: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Khamisiyah
Here are the answers to several frequently asked questions relating to the events at Khamisiyah.
Q: What kinds of weapons were destroyed by U.S. forces at Khamisiyah?
A: Khamisiyah was a large Iraqi ammunition storage site. Of the approximately 100 bunkers
destroyed in March 1991, one has been assessed by UNSCOM (United Nations Special
Commission) to have held 122mm rockets containing chemical agents (the nerve agents sarin
and cyclosarin). In addition, rockets containing these nerve agents were found by UNSCOM
inspectors in an open pit near the bunker complex, where U.S. forces also conducted
demolition operations in March, 1991.
Q: What are the effects of these chemical weapons?
A: As you may recall from your training, chemical weapons create serious immediate
symptoms (blurred vision, tightness in the chest, runny nose, dizziness) and, if immediate
treatment is not provided, can incapacitate or kill troops on the battlefield. While research
continues, the best current medical evidence indicates you should not experience long-term
health problems from low level exposure to chemical nerve agents.
Q: Were any such symptoms experienced by our troops during the Gulf War?
A: To our knowledge, service members neither died or reported such immediate symptoms
in connection with Khamisiyah. Soldiers reported possible chemical events during the war,
but we have been unable to confirm any nerve agent exposure from these reports.
Q: What are the long-term health effects of non-lethal exposure to nerve agent?
A: Although they are limited in number, studies of human exposure to nerve agent suggest
that no long-term health effects from low level, short-term exposure to nerve agent are likely,
even when doses are large enough to produce some immediate symptoms. We are stepping
up the research directed toward finding a more definitive answer to this question.
Q: If I, as a Gulf War veteran, experienced no symptoms at the time and studies indicate
there are no long-term health effects, why am I receiving this letter and being asked to call
A: First, we are asking your help in our understanding of the events surrounding
Khamisiyah. Second, we want to be sure you receive any health care you may need for
health problems related to your service in the Gulf War.
GULF WAR VETERANS' ILLNESSES ADMINISTRATION EFFORTS AND LEADERSHIP
On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The United States responded by sending 697,000
troops to the Persian Gulf for what became known as Operation Desert Shield. On January 16,
1991, the campaign to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait, known as Operation Desert Storm,
began. Following this conflict, some Gulf War veterans reported a variety of illnesses and
disabilities. Veterans also reported illnesses in their spouses and children, including birth
defects. The Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services have
engaged in a comprehensive coordinated effort to respond to these concerns and care for our
veterans. Following is a list of actions:
Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses
- May 1995. President Clinton established by Executive Order the Presidential Advisory
Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (PAC). The PAC is charged to provide advice
and recommendations on the following matters: research, coordinating efforts, medical
treatment, outreach, external reviews, risk factors and chemical and biological weapons.
- February 1996. Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses issued its
Interim Report. DoD, VA and HHS provided a coordinated response to the
recommendations contained in the Interim Report.
External Review Efforts
- January 1994. President Clinton established the Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board,
chaired by the Secretaries of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and
the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure effective coordination of the
government's response to Gulf War veterans' illnesses.
- June 1994. The first annual report on the status and results of research activities undertaken
by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government was submitted to Congress. Subsequent
reports were issued in 1995 and 1996.
- August 1995. A Working Plan for Research on Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses was
developed by the Persian Gulf Veterans Coordinating Board.
- October 1996. The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense initiated joint health
professional education programs, including video teleconferences with health providers.
- October 1996. The Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense began
developing a "risk communication" plan on Persian Gulf veterans' illnesses to ensure that all
communications with Gulf War veterans are effective in conveying health information.
Medical Care Efforts
- May 1993. VA established the Persian Gulf Expert Scientific Panel to advise the Secretary
of Veterans Affairs on Persian Gulf War veteran-related issues. The panel was subsequently
chartered as a formal advisory committee.
- June 1993. Following the development of an interagency agreement between DoD and VA
to contract with the Medical Follow-up Agency (MFUA) of the National Academy of
Sciences, a contract was signed to conduct epidemiological assessments and studies.
- April 1994. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a Technology Assessment
Workshop and issued a statement: The Persian Gulf Experience and Health.
- May 1994. DoD contracted with Harrison C. Spencer, Jr., MD, Dean, Tulane University
School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, to review all aspects of unexplained illnesses
among Persian Gulf veterans and to facilitate discussions on epidemiology and tropical
- June 1994. A report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Persian Gulf War Health
Effects was released that addressed the possible exposure of U.S. troops to
chemical/biological agents and related concerns.
- December 1994. The First Report by the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Committee on DoD
Persian Gulf Syndrome Comprehensive Clinical Examination Program (CCEP) was
published. DoD responded to the recommendations.
- January 1995. The First Report by the IOM's Committee to Review the Health
Consequences of Service During the Persian Gulf War published its initial findings and
recommendations for Immediate Actions was published. VA and DoD responded to the
- August 1995. A Second Report by the IOM's Committee on DoD Persian Gulf Syndrome
CCEP was published. DoD responded to the recommendations.
- January 1996. The Third Report by the IOM's Committee on DoD Persian Gulf Syndrome
CCEP was published. DoD responded to the recommendations.
- September 1996. At the direction of Congress, the General Accounting Office was tasked to
analyze the Department of Defense's medical record keeping system as it specifically relates
to illnesses that might have been contracted by those serving in the Persian Gulf.
- October 1996. The Second and Final Report by IOM's Committee to Review the Health
Consequences of Service During the Persian Gulf War was issued. VA and DoD are
reviewing the recommendations.
- October 1996. The Department of Defense requested that the IOM provide recommendations
for possible modification to the CCEP with respect to low-level exposure to chemical agents.
- October 1996. The Deputy Secretary of Defense requested a review by the National
Academy of Sciences of issues around the causes of Persian Gulf veterans' illnesses and
future force protection efforts.
- August 1992. The Department of Veterans Affairs established the Persian Gulf War
Veterans Health Registry to obtain information including medical data relating to the health
of Gulf War veterans and to allow for outreach to individuals in the registry.
- August 1992. The Department of Defense established a medical reporting system for Gulf
- August 1992. VA established three referral centers to provide a network of specialists for
Gulf War veterans with difficult to diagnose illnesses. A fourth center was established in
- October 1992. DoD's Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine is tasked to
construct a registry for Gulf War veterans.
- June 1994. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs launched an effort to provide
standardized health examinations and care to Gulf War veterans with health concerns
(Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program (CCEP)).
- January 1996. Based on "lessons learned" in the Gulf War, the Department of Defense
refined their guidelines for medical surveillance during deployments. Changes include
improvements to the collection of data on health and environmental issues and potential
exposures and strengthening the training provided to deploying troops regarding health risks
and potential exposures.
- April 1996. VA initiated a new program to provide medical examinations to the spouses and
children of Gulf War veterans.
- October 1996. The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs developed an enhanced
education program for health care providers.
Benefits and Compensation Efforts
- April 1992. The Department of Veterans Affairs printed posters encouraging Gulf War
veterans to contact the nearest VA medical center for a medical examination, information,
and assistance. Later that year posters were widely distributed to VA offices, veterans'
organizations and other interested parties.
- February 1993. VA published and disseminated a newsletter, "Persian Gulf Review," to
provide information for Gulf War veterans and their families concerned about the possible
long-term health consequences of military service in the Persian Gulf War. Eight subsequent
issues of the "review" have been published to date.
- May 1994. VA created room-sized and table-top exhibits to increase public awareness of the
benefits and services available to veterans of the Persian Gulf War efforts.
- May 1994. A memo for Persian Gulf War Veterans from Secretary Perry and Chairman,
Joint Chiefs of Staff, was mailed to all veterans who separated from service following
Persian Gulf Deployment. The letter explained the formation of the Comprehensive Clinical
Evaluation Program to address health concerns related to Persian Gulf deployment.
- June 1994. DoD initiated toll-free telephone hotlines to provide information on the broad
range of services available to Gulf War veterans and their families.
- August 1994. VA prepared and released Persian Gulf veterans' illnesses questions-and-
answers brochure and a report to veterans on Persian Gulf-related research efforts.
- May 1995. DoD established a toll-free Gulf War Incident Reporting Line for all military and
civilian members who served in the Persian Gulf. This line offers veterans the opportunity to
report details of incidents they believe may have led to a medical problem they or others
experienced since returning from the Persian Gulf. The line also accepts calls from health
care providers who have theories requiring further investigation based upon their evaluation
of patients with illnesses possibly related to service in the Persian Gulf War.
- August 1995. DoD established GulfLINK, a web site on DefenseLINK, which contained
information specific to Persian Gulf issues: hotline numbers, reports issued by the
Department regarding the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program, information gleaned
from declassified documents, list of DoD medical facilities offering CCEP examinations.
- October 1995. DoD printed a message on leave and earnings statements for active duty
personnel regarding availability of Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program and Gulf
War Incident Reporting Lines.
- September 1996. DoD enhanced outreach efforts to US personnel in the area of potential
exposure around the Khamisiyah ammunition storage facility in Iraq where US troops
destroyed chemical munitions on two separate occasions in 1991. Phone contact was
initiated with 1,000 troops in the immediate area of the demolition.
- October 1996. DoD alerted health providers in a letter from the Assistant Secretary for
Health Affairs and the Service Surgeons General of the incident in Khamisiyah, Iraq.
- September 1993. DoD instituted a policy to define Persian Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses for
Physical Evaluation Boards (PEB) ratings.
- November 1994. Congress passed and President Clinton signed landmark legislation that
authorizes VA to pay benefits to Gulf War veterans who are disabled but for whom VA
physicians have yet to establish a diagnosis or link to service in the Gulf.
- October 1996. Status report: VA has approved more than 26,000 disability claims for Gulf
War veterans with diagnosed and undiagnosed illnesses.
- March 1995. The Department of Defense established the Senior Level Oversight Panel
chaired by the Deputy Secretary of Defense and consisting of the Director of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, the Principal Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic
Energy, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, the Under Secretary of the
Army, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, and the
Deputy Director for Current Operations of the Joint Staff.
- March 1995. The Department of Defense established the Persian Gulf Investigation Team
(PGIT) to analyze classified and declassified material related to the illnesses of Persian Gulf
War veterans. The team was created to integrate information from operational, intelligence,
medical and research data bases and coordinate with other DoD agencies, the VA, the CIA
and other appropriate non-governmental organizations. PGIT also responds to theories and
queries on the possible causes of Gulf War illnesses provided by a 1-800 line.
- October 1996. The Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the Army Inspector General to
investigate the explosion at Khamisiyah and any other possible similar incidents involving
chemical or biological weapons, building on the efforts of the PGIT.
- October 1996. The Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the Assistant Secretary of Defense
for Intelligence Oversight to investigate the disposition of the classified November 1991
Intelligence Investigation Report regarding the events at Khamisiyah, and subsequent actions
resulting from its dissemination.
Force Protection Efforts
- March 1995. The Department of Defense established a declassification effort encompassing
all DoD records in the research, medical, operational, and intelligence communities that
could relate to possible causes of the Gulf War veterans' illnesses. The Department of the
Army was selected as the Executive Agent.
- October 1996. Status report: DoD has reviewed over 5.2 million pages of operations and
intelligence information, provided 659,000 pages to the Persian Gulf Investigation Team for
further review, and posted over 23,000 pages of operational and intelligence information onto
GulfLINK. The Army expects to meet the mission completion date of December 31, 1996.
- October 1996. DoD is conducting a review of previous classified studies to determine
whether any that relate exposure to chemical or environmental agents are relevant to Gulf
War veterans' illnesses and should be declassified.
- 1991. DoD acquired and fielded a prototype of the Improved Chemical Agent Monitor
(ICAM). ICAM will reduce required maintenance without lessening the monitor's
performance. Initial fielding of the ICAM is scheduled for January 1999.
- 1994. The Department of Defense emphasized "joint service" approaches to chemical
detection research, development, and acquisition. The Joint Service Chemical Miniature
Agent Detector is a two-year old cooperative effort underway to develop a family of
miniature chemical agent detectors for all services that will provide near real-time
information of the presence of chemical agents.
- 1994. DoD is developing the Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Technology (JSLIST), a
next-generation form of individual protective equipment. The JSLIST is as effective as
earlier protective equipment, but it is also more lightweight, durable and cooler than its
predecessor. The contract will be awarded in 1997.
- 1996. DoD is developing the Joint Service Lightweight Stand-off Chemical Agent Detector
(JSLSCAD) to scan a wide field of view and automatically detect nerve or blister agents at a
distance of up to 5 kilometers. The JSLSCAD will be fielded in the fourth quarter of
- 1996. DoD has initiated procurement of over 10,000 Automatic Chemical Agent Detectors
(ACADA). ACADA registers significantly fewer false alarms.
- 1996. DoD modified the Navy's Improved Point Detection System (IPDS) to reliably detect
chemical warfare agents at 90 parts per billion within 30 seconds. The IPDS has also been
modified to reduce the false alarm rate caused by non-toxic agents typically found in a `dirty'
- 1996. DoD is developing the Joint Service Warning and Reporting Network (JWARN), an
integrated, nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) agent detection, warning, and reporting
system capable of interfacing with all NBC sensors and detectors. JWARN will be
interpretable with all service command and control systems, will generate NBC reports, and
electronically transmit all NBC alarms and other relevant data. JWARN will be fielded in
FY2000 with an interim capability deployed in FY99.
Peer Reviewed Research Announcements
Major Department of Veterans Affairs Research Initiatives
- July 1994. The Department of Veterans Affairs established three environmental hazards
research centers to initially focus on the possible effects of environmental exposures of Gulf
War veterans. These centers sponsor and promote research efforts on a wide array of Gulf
War veterans' illnesses.
- October 1994. Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law legislation (PL103-
337, Section 722) which provided for independent and competitively bid, peer reviewed
research on the possible health consequences of service in Southwest Asia during the Persian
Gulf war. A total of $5 million was allocated for this research.
- May 1995. DoD issued a Broad Agency Announcement requesting proposals for
independent research studies from non-federal agencies and academic institutions on possible
causes and treatment of Gulf War veterans' illnesses. The US Army Medical Research and
Materiel Command (USAMRC) released the request for research proposals on behalf of the
DoD, VA, and HHS.
- May 1996. VA issued a request for proposals for a fourth Environmental Hazards Research
Center for Reproductive Outcomes. VA expect to make awards in November 1996.
Pyridostigmine Bromide (PB) Studies
- In addition to the research underway at the VA Environmental Hazards Research Centers,
two large scale Persian Gulf-related research projects are underway at the VA's
Environmental Epidemiology Service.
- The Mortality Rate Follow-up Study is evaluating the overall cause of death for Persian Gulf
veterans who served in the theater of operations. Researchers will compare those results with
the causes of death for veterans who were not deployed to the Persian Gulf region who
served during the Gulf War-era. These rates also will be compared to the death rates of the
total U.S. population.
- The National Health Survey of Persian Gulf Veterans and Their Families is designed to
accurately estimate how often symptoms and illnesses affect Persian Gulf veterans and their
families. Study questionnaires were mailed to collect health information from a
representative sample of approximately 15,000 Persian Gulf veterans and similar number of
Gulf-era veterans. This survey is an important tool to better understand how often the
illnesses occur, and how many different types of illnesses occur.
Low-Level Chemical Exposure Studies
- May 1992. DoD launched retrospective studies involving military use of Pyridostigmine
(PB) as a pretreatment for nerve agent poisoning initiated with the FDA to help perform
retrospective evaluation of effects of pyridostigmine use in the Persian Gulf.
- March 1995. DoD initiated a Pyridostigmine Synergistic Toxicity Study to determine
potential toxic interactions when pyridostigmine bromide, permethrin, and DEET are given
concurrently to male rates by gastric lavage. In addition, DoD analyzed concerns about
possible synergism of PB taken by service members during the Gulf War.
- Due December 1996: a DoD study on Male/Female Differential Tolerances to
Oil Well Fire Studies
- August 1996. DoD began to reexamine records for evidence of possible exposure to
chemical or biological agents or other incidents which might be linked to veterans' illnesses.
- September 1996. DoD launching a $15 million research program into the possible effects of
low-level exposure to chemical agents using $10 million directed by Congress and $5 million
committed by the Department of Defense. DoD will continue funding $12 million in DoD
general research on other possible causes of Gulf War Illnesses.
- Due 1988: A DoD study on Chronic Organophophorus Exposure and Cognition.
Depleted Uranium Studies
- January 1992. DoD published a report on the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Actions in
Response to Oil Well Fires.
- September 1992. DoD issued a consensus statement from an expert panel on Petroleum
Toxicity, by Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.
- December 1993. A DoD report on the health consequences of the exposure of Persian Gulf
force members to the fumes of burning oil was submitted to Congress.
- March 1993. DoD released a study by the Armed Forces Radiobiology Institute Report on
Health Risk of Embedded Depleted Uranium.
- June 1995. DoD released a report by the US Army Environmental Policy Institute: Health
and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use.
- Due 1997: a DoD report on Health Risk Assessment of Embedded Depleted Uranium:
Behavior, Physiology, Histology, and Biokinetic Modeling.
Birth Outcome Studies
- Due December 1996: A DoD report on the Risk of Testicular Cancer in US Military
Health Risk Assessment Studies
- July 1993. DoD's Naval Medical Research Center in San Diego, in collaboration with VA
investigators began epidemiological studies comparing Gulf War veterans and control-group
veterans (who served elsewhere) to detect differences in illnesses, hospitalizations, and birth
outcomes in large cohorts of active duty service members. Study results are due later this
- September 1993. The Army conducted a study at William Beaumont Army Medical Center
examined the postulation that emotional stress and exposure to chemicals were risk factors
for spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. Miscarriage rates before and after the Gulf War
deployment were evaluated. The results showed no difference in the rates.
- November 1993. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in conjunction with
the Mississippi State Department of Health showed no increase in birth defects or illnesses
among children born to Persian Gulf veterans in two National Guard units.
- January 1994. DoD conducted an investigation on 6,392 pregnancies occurring at six
selected Army hospitals comparing miscarriage rates for Pre-Desert Storm (1990) and Post-
Desert Storm (1991). Results showed that there was no difference among the populations
(8% for both time periods - which is almost half that experienced in the general population
- June 1994. United States Air Force epidemiologists reviewed pregnancy outcomes among
families of Gulf War veterans assigned to Robins AFB, Georgia. Congenital malformations
and miscarriages in USAF personnel assigned to Robins AFB were at or below those of the
U.S. general population.
- Due 1997. A DoD epidemiologic study utilizing the active birth defect registries of selected
States. Data collection has begun.
- Due 1997. DoD, VA, CDC are conducting large epidemiological studies that will address the
issue of adverse reproductive outcomes among a number of health related topics.
- January 1992. DoD published a summary of Health Risk Assessment of the 11th Armored
- March 1992. DoD released a study on the Indiana outbreak investigation done by Walter
Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR).
- August 1992. DoD released a memo from Area Medical Clinic Director, Dhahran, Saudi
Arabia, reporting no mystery illness in the local population of Saudi and American citizens.
- September 1992. DoD reported that the Army has directed a standing operating procedure
for evaluating afflicted Persian Gulf veterans.
- November 1992. DoD released a report on the Navy Seabee outbreak investigation.
- December 1992. DoD reported that the Navy has directed all units on how to proceed with
the evaluation and reporting of service members with Persian Gulf veterans' illnesses.
- May 1994. DoD issued a Survey of the General Well-being of Gulf War Era Service
Personnel from the States of Pennsylvania and Hawaii.
- October 1994. CDC awarded funds to the Iowa Department of Health to conduct a study to
determine the self-reported health effects of Gulf War military veterans, comparing then with
Iowa veterans of the same era but who did not serve in the Gulf War theater.
- November 1994. The Pennsylvania State Health Department, VA, and DoD requested that
CDC conduct an independent evaluation of a group of Air National Guard Gulf War veterans
for any pattern of unusual illnesses.
- January 1995. DoD released a Comparative Mortality Study among US Military Personnel
Worldwide during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
- Due December 1996: DoD's Persian Gulf Veterans Health Tracking System.
- Due 1998: A DoD study on Acute and Long-Term Impact of Deployment to Southwest Asia
on the Physical and Mental Health of Soldiers and their Families.
- Due 1999. DoD Epidemiologic studies of Morbidity among Gulf War veterans: A Search for
Etiologic Agents and Risk Factors (a group of seven epidemiologic studies).
Department of Defense Persian Gulf War
Veterans' Illnesses Initiatives
||Secretary of Defense and Chairman of Joint Staff sent a letter to service members. DoD has two toll-free lines dedicated to the Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses effort: one for the reporting of medical concerns and the other for incident reports.
||DoD is issuing a memo to those Gulf War Veterans who are within 50 kilometers of Khamisiyah; phone calls and letters are being sent to those individuals who participated in the demolition.
||DoD established the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation Program to provide standardized health exams and ensure care to those who believe themselves ill as a result of their service in the Gulf.
||DoD has prepared its medical care system for additional evaluation and care for Persian Gulf War Veterans. DoD has requested that the Institute of Medicine review our current CCEP protocol for possible modification with respect to low-level exposure to chemical agents.
||DoD has dedicated $12 million in FY96 and $12 million in FY97 for research into the possible cause or causes of Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses.
||DoD has dedicated $15 million in new research into the possible effects of low-level exposure ($10m provided by Congress; $5m by DoD).
||DoD established the Persian Gulf Investigation Team to investigate incidents and hazards that occurred during the Gulf War that might relate to illnesses experienced by our Persian Gulf War Veterans. DoD also established the Senior Level Oversight Panel, chaired by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, to review and oversee all departmental efforts on Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses.
||The Deputy Secretary of Defense directed (1) the Army Inspector General to investigate the explosion at Khamisiyah and any other possible similar incidents involving chemical or biological weapons, building on the efforts of the PGIT and (2) the Assistant to the Secretary for Intelligence Oversight to review the intelligence issues relative to Khamisiyah. (3) the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, review and make recommendations on the Department's efforts to date on Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses and on force protection for the future.
||DoD requested that the Institute of Medicine (National Academy of Sciences) review the Department's clinical and research efforts on Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses.
||The Deputy Secretary of Defense has requested a review by the National Academy of Sciences of issues around the causes of Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses and future force protection efforts.