Psychological and Behavioral Responses to a Chemical and Biological Warfare Environment: Final Recommendations [open pdf - 1MB]
In this present world climate, chemical and biological warfare (CBW) is a realistic threat to U.S. Air Force personnel. Medical care for conventional and chemical casualties in the CBW environment requires individual protection, group protection, and decontamination as well as supply and patient transfer through contaminated areas. CBW stirs terror in individuals both because of the particular psychological fears it arouses and the tremendous difficulties presented by the need to continue to operate after an attack. Recommendations derived from CBW research cover the issues of command (e.g., maintenance of communications and morale, and command policy in the face of mass casualties), medical care (e.g., alcohol use as a risk factor in CBW environment, low dose exposures, internal SCPS-M management, and unique stressors of the CBW environment), performance (e.g., group responses to contamination and isolation effects on performance), and training (e.g., unit reconstitution following heavy losses, grief leadership, buddy care, development of first aid capability within squadrons, crews, and work units, maintenance of cohesion in flying and ground crews, and training for commanders in command posts). These recommendations should serve as the basis for the development of command policy, training scenarios, medical command and medical care procedures and the direction of future research in this area.