ABSTRACT

Chemical and Biological Defense: DoD Needs to Clarify Expectations in Medical Readiness, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs, and International Relations, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 559KB]

Public assessments by Department of Defense (DoD) officials have emphasized the seriousness of the military threat from chemical and biological (CB) weapons. However, neither DoD nor the services have systematically examined the adequacy of the current specialty mix of medical personnel for CB defense. Although some of the services have begun to review the adequacy of staffing of deployable medical units that would manage the consequences of chemical warfare scenarios, they have not done so for biological warfare scenarios. Joint protocols for treating CB casualties have recently been completed, but the services have not yet agreed on which health care providers should provide treatment. Relatively few military health care providers are trained to a standard of proficiency in providing care to CB casualties. The service surgeons general have begun integrating chemical and a few biological scenarios into their medical exercises, but no realistic field exercise of medical support for CB warfare had been concluded. DOD and the services have not fully addressed weaknesses and gaps in modeling, planning, training, tracking, or proficiency testing for the treatment of CB casualties. The resulting medical structure has not been rigorously tested for its capacity to deliver the required medical support. As a result, medical readiness for CB scenarios cannot be ensured.

Report Number:
GAO-02-38
Publisher:
Date:
2001-10-19
Copyright:
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Government Accountability Office (GAO): http://www.gao.gov/
Format:
pdf
Media Type:
application/pdf
URL:
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