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Chemical and Biological Defense: Emphasis Remains Insufficient to Resolve Continuing Problems

(Letter Report, 03/29/96, GAO/NSIAD-96-103).

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed U.S. chemical and
biological warfare defense capabilities, focusing on: (1) the chemical
and biological warfare defense problems identified during the Gulf War;
and (2) the preparedness of early-deploying ground forces to survive and
fight in a chemically or biologically contaminated environment.

GAO found that: (1) DOD has taken steps to improve the readiness of U.S.
forces to operate in chemically or biologically contaminated
environments, but equipment, training, and medical shortcomings persist
and could cause needless casualties and a degradation of U.S. combat
capability; (2) during the Gulf War, many early-deploying units did not
have all of the chemical and biological detection, decontamination, and
protective equipment they needed; (3) the services continue to place
lower emphasis on chemical and biological defense activities than or
other high-priority activities; (4) research and development efforts to
improve the detection and decontamination of biological and chemical
agents have progressed slower than planned because of other priorities
and personnel shortages; (5) the Army and Marine Corps have acted to
improve their biological and chemical training, but many problems
encountered during the Gulf War persist; (6) there was little biological
or chemical defense training included in joint training exercises
because regional commanders in chief (CINC) believe that this training
is the responsibility of the individual services and have assigned other
types of training a higher priority; (7) medical units often lack
adequate biological agent vaccine stocks and immunization plans,
appropriate defense equipment, and sufficient instruction on how
equipment is to be used; and (8) the lower emphasis the services give to
chemical and biological defense activities is reflected in the funding,
staffing, monitoring, and mission priority levels dedicated to these

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Chemical and Biological Defense: Emphasis Remains 
             Insufficient to Resolve Continuing Problems
      DATE:  03/29/96
   SUBJECT:  Combat readiness
             Biological warfare
             Chemical warfare
             Defense capabilities
             Military operations
             Military training
             Military materiel
             Military research
             Medical equipment
             Immunization services
IDENTIFIER:  Persian Gulf War
             Desert Storm
             Fox Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaisance Vehicle
             DOD Biological Integrated Detection System
             DOD Automatic Chemical Agent Alarm
             JCS Universal Joint Task List
             JCS Status of Resources and Training System
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================================================================ COVER

Report to Congressional Requesters

March 1996



Chemical and Biological Defense


=============================================================== ABBREV

  CJCS - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
  CINC - commanders in chief
  DOD - Department of Defense
  FDA - Food and Drug Administration
  FORSCOM - U.S.  Forces Command
  IND - Investigational New Drug
  NBC - nuclear, biological, and chemical
  ORE - operational readiness evaluation
  SORTS - Status of Resources and Training System

=============================================================== LETTER


March 29, 1996

The Honorable Herbert H.  Bateman
The Honorable Norman Sisisky
Ranking Minority Member
Subcommittee on Military Readiness
Committee on National Security
House of Representatives

U.S.  forces face an increasing number of potential enemies capable
of waging chemical and biological warfare.  Experiences during the
Gulf War and subsequent Department of Defense (DOD) studies suggest
that U.S.  forces may not be sufficiently prepared to survive and
fight in a chemically or biologically contaminated environment.  In
accordance with the House National Security Committee report on the
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996, we evaluated
U.S.  chemical and biological warfare defense capabilities. 

By using the Gulf War experience as a baseline and applying DOD and
military service readiness standards, we examined the preparedness of
early deploying U.S.  ground forces to survive and fight in a
chemical or biological environment.  Our objectives were to determine
(1) DOD's actions to address chemical and biological warfare defense
problems identified during the Gulf War and (2) the current
preparedness of U.S.  ground forces to operate in a contaminated
environment.  This report summarizes the information we provided to
your staff on February 29, 1996.  In addition, information contained
in this report was summarized in a statement for the record\1
provided to the Subcommittee on Military Research and Development,
House Committee on National Security, on March 12, 1996. 

\1 Chemical and Biological Defense:  Emphasis Remains Insufficient to
Resolve Continuing Problems (GAO/T-NSIAD-96-123, Mar.  12, 1996). 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

For decades, the United States has struggled to prevent the
proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. 
Nevertheless, the number of countries that possess nuclear,
biological, or chemical capabilities grows each year.  As a result,
countries possessing these weapons could threaten the interests of
the United States in every possible theater of the world.  The Gulf
War experience exposed (1) weaknesses in the U.S.  forces'
preparedness to defend against chemical or biological agent attacks
and (2) the risks associated with reliance on post-mobilization
activities to overcome deficiencies in chemical and biological
readiness.  Post-conflict studies confirmed that U.S.  forces were
not fully prepared to defend against Iraqi use of chemical or
biological weapons and could have suffered significant casualties had
they been used.  Units and individuals often arrived in theater
without needed equipment, such as protective clothing and adequate
chemical and biological agent detectors.  Active and reserve
component forces required extensive chemical and biological training
before and after arrival in Southwest Asia.  Medical readiness
problems included inadequate equipment and training.  Biological
agent vaccine stocks, and policies and procedures for their use, were
also inadequate.  While post-mobilization and in-theater activities
increased readiness, equipment and training problems persisted to
varying degrees throughout the conflict.  Complacency and the absence
of command emphasis on chemical and biological defense prior to
deployment were among the root causes of this lack of preparedness. 
We previously reported on these problems in May 1991.\2

Since the Gulf War, Congress has expressed concern about the
proliferation of chemical and biological weapons and the readiness of
U.S.  forces to operate in a contaminated environment.  In November
1993, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994
(P.  L.  103-160) directed the Secretary of Defense to take specific
actions designed to improve chemical and biological defense and to
report annually to Congress on the status of these efforts. 

\2 Chemical Warfare:  Soldiers Inadequately Equipped and Trained to
Conduct Chemical Operations (GAO/NSIAD-91-197, May 29, 1991). 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

Units designated for early deployment today continue to face many of
the same problems experienced by U.S.  forces during the Gulf War. 
Activities undertaken by DOD since the war are improving the
readiness of U.S.  forces to operate in a chemically or biologically
contaminated environment.  However, equipment, training, and medical
shortcomings persist and are likely to result in needless casualties
and a degradation of U.S.  war-fighting capability. 

Today, chemical and biological defense activities at all levels (from
the Joint Staff to individual Army and Marine units) tend to continue
to receive a lower level of emphasis than other high-priority
activities, such as performing traditional operational mission tasks. 
This lower emphasis is seen in the funding, staffing, monitoring, and
mission priority given to chemical and biological defense activities. 
Army officials contend that increased operational deployments coupled
with reduced forces and budgetary constraints force commanders to
make decisions regarding which aspects of operational preparedness to
emphasize and those for which they are willing to accept increased
risk.  Thus, many commanders have accepted a level of chemical and
biological defense unpreparedness and believe the resources currently
devoted to this area are appropriate, given other threats and current
budgetary constraints.  Activities to equip, train, and otherwise
prepare U.S.  forces to operate in a contaminated environment have
therefore received insufficient attention to resolve many continuing

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

Although DOD is taking steps to improve the readiness of U.S.  ground
forces to conduct operations in a chemical or biological environment,
serious weaknesses remain.  Many early deploying active and reserve
units do not possess the amount of chemical and biological equipment
required by regulations, and new equipment development and
procurement are often proceeding more slowly than planned.  Many
units are not trained to existing standards, and military medical
capability to prevent and treat casualties on a contaminated
battlefield is very limited. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.1

During the Gulf War, units and individuals often deployed without all
the chemical and biological detection, decontamination, and
protective equipment they needed to operate in a contaminated
environment.  For example, some units did not have sufficient
quantities or the needed sizes of protective clothing, and chemical
detector paper and decontamination kits in some instances had passed
expiration dates by as much as 2 years.  These shortages in turn
caused logistical problems, such as the rapid depletion of theater
equipment reserves, and required extraordinary efforts by
logisticians and transporters to rectify the situation during the
6-month interval between deployment and the initiation of major
combat.  Had chemical or biological weapons been used during this
period, some units might have suffered significant, unnecessary

To prevent this problem from recurring in future conflicts, in 1993
the U.S.  Forces Command (FORSCOM) revised its requirements regarding
the amount of chemical and biological defense equipment early
deploying active and reserve units are required to store on hand.\3
This action was intended to ensure that these units would have
sufficient equipment on hand upon deployment until in-theater
logistical support could be established. 

We found that neither the Army's approximately five active divisions
composing the crisis response force (divisions with mobilization to
deployment requirements of less than 30 days) nor any of the early
deploying Army reserve units we visited were in full compliance with
the new stock level requirements.  All had shortages of various types
of critical equipment.  For example, three of the active divisions
had 50 percent or greater shortages of protective clothing (battle
dress overgarments), and shortages of other critical items (such as
protective boots, gloves, hoods, helmet covers, mask filters, and
decontamination kits) ranged from no shortage to an 84-percent
shortage depending on the unit and the item concerned. 

Shortages in on-hand stocks of this equipment were often exacerbated
by poor inventorying and reordering techniques, shelf-life
limitations, and difficulty in maintaining appropriate protective
clothing sizes.  For example, none of the active units we visited had
determined how many and what sizes of chemically protected
overgarments were needed.  FORSCOM officials told us the Army's
predetermined standard formula for the numbers of different clothing
sizes needed by the average unit was often inaccurate, particularly
for support units that are likely to have larger percentages of
female soldiers.  Furthermore, shortages of chemical protective
clothing suits are worsening because most of the active divisions we
visited had at least some of these items on hand with 1995 expiration
dates.  Unit stock levels are also being affected by problems with
the availability of appropriate warehouse space at most of the
installations we visited. 

Army officials at FORSCOM and in the active units we visited were
aware of these shortages.  They said that the operation and
maintenance funds normally used to purchase this equipment had been
consistently diverted by unit commanders to meet other higher
priority requirements such as base operating costs, quality-of-life
considerations, and costs associated with other-than-war deployments
such as those to Haiti and Somalia.  Our review of FORSCOM financial
records showed that while the operation and maintenance account
included funds budgeted for chemical and biological training and
equipment, very little had actually been spent on equipment during
fiscal year 1995 at the FORSCOM units we visited.  Army records were
inadequate to determine for what purposes the diverted funds had been
used except by reviewing individual vouchers.  We did not attempt to
review these because of the time and resources such a review would

Army officials acknowledged that increasing operation and maintenance
funding levels was unlikely to result in increased unit chemical
equipment stocks unless in operation and maintenance funding
increases are specifically designated for this purpose.  Numerous
other activities also dependent on operation and maintenance funding
are being given a higher priority than chemical defense equipment by
all the early deploying active Army divisions we visited.  The cost
of purchasing this equipment is relatively low.  Early deploying
active divisions in the continental United States could meet current
stock requirements for an additional cost of about $15 million. 
However, some may need to acquire additional warehouse storage space
for this equipment.  FORSCOM officials told us that due to a variety
of funding and storage problems, they were considering decreasing
chemical defense equipment contingency stock requirements to the
level needed to support only each early deploying division's ready
brigade and relying on depots to provide the additional equipment
needed on a "just-in-time" basis before deployment. 

FORSCOM officials told us that other potential solutions were also
being considered, such as funding these equipment purchases through
procurement rather than operation and maintenance accounts, or
transferring responsibility for purchasing and storing this material
on Army installations to the Defense Logistics Agency.  It is unclear
to what extent this and other alternatives might be effective in
providing the needed equipment prior to deployment. 

\3 FORSCOM is responsible for training and equipping all Army forces
located in the continental United States.  The revised requirements
are contained in FORSCOM Regulation 700-2 (June 15, 1993). 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.2

At the beginning of the Gulf War, U.S.  forces were vulnerable
because the services lacked such things as (1) effective mobile
systems for detecting and reporting chemical or biological agents;
(2) a decontaminate solution suitable for use in sensitive interior
areas of aircraft, ships, and vehicles; and (3) a suitable method for
decontaminating large areas such as ports and airfields.  Protective
clothing was problematic because it was heavy, bulky, and too hot for
warm climates. 

In response to lessons learned in the Gulf War and subsequent
congressional guidance, DOD has acted to improve the coordination of
chemical and biological doctrine, requirements, research,
development, and acquisition among DOD and the military services. 
During 1994 and 1995, DOD planned and established the Joint Service
Integration and Joint Service Materiel Groups, which are overseen by
a single office within DOD--the Assistant Secretary of Defense
(Atomic Energy/Chemical and Biological Matters).  The Joint Service
Integration Group is to prioritize chemical and biological research
efforts and establish a modernization plan, and the Joint Service
Materiel Group is to develop the research, development, acquisition,
and logistics support plans. 

These groups have begun to implement the requirements of Public Law
103-160.  However, progress has been slower than expected.  At the
time of our review, the Joint Service Integration Group expected to
produce its proposed (1) list of chemical and biological research
priorities and (2) joint service modernization plan and operational
strategy during March 1996.  The Joint Service Materiel Group expects
to deliver its proposed plan to guide chemical and biological
research, development, and acquisition in October 1996.  It is
unclear whether or when DOD will approve these plans.  However,
fiscal year 1998 is the earliest that DOD can begin their formal
implementation if they are quickly approved.  Consolidated research
and modernization plans are important for avoiding duplication among
the services and otherwise achieving the most effective use of
limited resources.  DOD officials told us progress by these groups
has been adversely affected by personnel shortages and other assigned

DOD's efforts to develop and improve specific equipment have had
mixed results.  The Fox mobile reconnaissance system, fielded during
the Gulf War, features automated sampling, detection, and warning
equipment.  However, due to budgetary constraints, DOD approved the
acquisition of only 103 of the more than 200 Fox systems originally
planned.  Early deploying Army mechanized and armored divisions have
been assigned
6 Fox vehicles each, the Marine Corps has 10, and virtually all the
remainder have been assigned to a chemical company from which they
would be assigned as needed in the event of a conflict.  Our
discussions with Army officials revealed concerns about the adequacy
of assigning only 6 Fox vehicles per division.  They said a total of
103 Fox vehicles might be insufficient to meet needs if chemical
and/or biological weapons are used in two nearly simultaneous
regional conflicts, particularly until the Army's light divisions and
the Marine Corps are equipped with a planned smaller and lighter
version of a reconnaissance system.  In January 1996, DOD also began
to field the Biological Integrated Detection System, a mobile system
for identifying biological agents, and plans to field 38 by September

Other programs designed to address critical battlefield deficiencies
have been slow to resolve problems.  DOD's 1995 Annual Report to
Congress identified 11 chemical and biological defense research goals
it expected to achieve by January 1996.  Of these, five were met on
time.  Of the remaining goals, two will not be achieved by 1997, and
it is unclear when the remainder will be achieved.  An effort ongoing
since 1987 to develop a less corrosive and labor-intensive
decontaminate solution is not expected to be completed until 2002. 
Work initiated in 1978 to develop an Automatic Chemical Agent Alarm
(designed to provide visual, audio, and command-communicated warning
of chemical agents) remains incomplete, and efforts to develop
wide-area warning and decontamination capabilities are not expected
to be achieved until after the year 2000. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.3

Army and Marine Corps regulations require that individuals be able to
detect the presence of chemical agents, quickly put on their
protective suits and masks, decontaminate their skin and personal
equipment, and evaluate casualties and administer first aid.  Units
must be able to set alarms to detect agents, promptly report
hazardous agent attacks to higher headquarters, mark and bypass
contaminated areas, and remove hazardous agents from equipment and
vehicles.  Commanders are required to assess their units'
vulnerability to chemical or biological attacks, determine the level
of protection needed by their forces, implement a warning and
reporting system, employ chemical units to perform reconnaissance and
decontamination operations, and ensure that adequate measures are in
place to evacuate and treat casualties.  Training for these tasks is
accomplished through a variety of live and simulated exercises
conducted at units' home stations and at combat training centers such
as the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, and
the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at 29 Palms, California. 

Since the Gulf War, the services have acted to improve their chemical
and biological training.  They (1) issued policy statements on the
importance of chemical and biological readiness, (2) revised
doctrinal guidance and training regulations, and (3) collocated
chemical defense training for all four services at the Army's
Chemical School, Fort McClellan, Alabama.\4 Commanders were
instructed to ensure that their units were fully trained to standard
to defend and sustain operations against battlefield chemical and
biological hazards.  Further, they were instructed that chemical and
biological training must be fully integrated into unit exercises and
must test the capability of commanders, staffs, and units to perform
their mission under chemical and biological conditions. 

In spite of these efforts, many problems of the type encountered
during the Gulf War remain uncorrected, and U.S.  forces continue to
experience serious training-related weaknesses in their chemical and
biological proficiency.  In a series of studies conducted by the Army
from 1991 to 1995, the Army found serious weaknesses at all levels in
chemical and biological skills.  For example, a 1993 Army Chemical
School study found that a combined arms force of infantry, artillery,
and support units would have extreme difficulty in performing its
mission and suffer needless casualties if forced to operate in a
chemical or biological environment.  The Army concluded that these
weaknesses were due to the force being only marginally trained to
operate in a chemical and biological environment.  Many of these
problems had been identified a decade ago.  For example, the Army
found similar problems in three other studies of mechanized and
armored units conducted by the Chemical School in 1986, 1987, and

Our analysis of Army readiness evaluations, trend data, and lessons
learned completed from 1991 to 1995 also showed serious problems.  At
the individual, unit, and commander level, the evaluations showed a
wide variety of problems in performing basic tasks critical to
surviving and operating in a chemical or biological environment. 
These problems included (1) inability to properly don protective
masks, (2) improper deployment of detection equipment, (3) inability
to administer first-aid to chemical or biological casualties, (4)
inadequate planning on the evacuation of casualties exposed to
chemical or biological agents, and (5) failure to integrate chemical
and biological issues into operational plans.  More detailed
information on these problems is contained in appendixes I and II. 

Our work showed that the Marine Corps also continued to be affected
by many of the same problems experienced during the Gulf War.  Marine
Corps 1993 trendline data from its combat training center at 29
Palms, California, showed that (1) submission of chemical and
biological warning reports were not timely, (2) units and individuals
were inexperienced with detection equipment, and (3) units did not
properly respond to a chemical attack, issue alarms to subordinate
elements, and follow proper unmasking techniques following a chemical

\4 The Defense Secretary's Commission on Base Realignments and
Closures has recently recommended relocating the U.S.  Army Chemical
School to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.4

Current U.S.  military strategy is based on joint air, land, sea, and
special operations forces operating together in combat and noncombat
operations.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS)
Exercise Program is the primary method DOD uses to train its
commanders and forces for joint operations.  Our analysis of
exercises conducted under the program showed that little chemical or
biological training was being done. 

In October 1993, the Joint Staff issued the Universal Joint Task List
for the regional commanders in chief (CINC) and the services to use
to help define their joint training requirements.  The list includes
23 chemical and biological tasks to be performed, such as gathering
intelligence information on the enemy's chemical and biological
warfare capabilities, assessing the effects of these agents on
operations plans, and performing decontamination activities.  In
fiscal year 1995, 216 exercises were conducted under the CJCS
program.  These were planned, conducted, and evaluated by each CINC. 

Our analysis of the exercises conducted by four major CINCs (U.S. 
Atlantic, Central, European, and Pacific commands) in fiscal year
1995 and planned for fiscal year 1996 showed little joint chemical or
biological training is being conducted.  Overall, these CINCs
conducted at least 70 percent of the total number of CJCS exercises
held in fiscal year 1995 and planned for fiscal year 1996.  However,
only 10 percent of the CJCS exercises they conducted in 1995 and 15
percent of those to be conducted in fiscal year 1996 included any
chemical or biological training.  Of the exercises conducted, none
included all 23 tasks, and the majority included less than half of
these tasks.  Appendixes III and IV show the amount of joint training
being conducted by these CINCs. 

Two reasons account for the little amount of joint chemical and
biological training.  First, notwithstanding Joint Staff guidance to
CINCs on the need to train for chemical and biological warfare
threats, the CINCs generally consider chemical and biological
training and preparedness to be the responsibility of the individual
military services.  Second, most of the CINCs have assigned a lower
priority to chemical and biological issues than others that they feel
more directly relate to their mission.  In this regard, CINCs and
other major commanders have made a conscious decision to better
prepare for other, more likely threats and to assume greater risk
regarding chemical and biological defense. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.5

For many years, DOD has maintained a medical research and development
program for biological defense.  However, at the time of the Gulf
War, the United States had neither fielded equipment capable of
detecting biological agents nor stocked adequate amounts of vaccine
to protect the force.  When the Gulf War started, DOD also had not
established adequate policies and procedures for determining which
vaccines needed to be administered, when they were to be given, and
to whom.  According to DOD officials, this caused much DOD indecision
and delay and resulted in U.S.  forces being administered varying
types of vaccines about 5 months after they began arriving in theater
and only a month or so before the major ground offensive began. 
Sufficient protection was not provided by the time the offensive
began either, since virtually all biological agent vaccines require a
minimum of 6 to 12 weeks or longer after immunization to become

Since the Gulf War, DOD has increased the attention given to
biological warfare defense.  DOD consolidated the funding and
management of several biological warfare defense activities,
including vaccines, under the new Joint Program Office for Biological
Defense.  In November 1993, DOD established the policy,
responsibilities, and procedures for stockpiling biological agent
vaccines and determined which personnel should be immunized and when
the vaccines should be administered.  This policy specifically states
that personnel assigned to high-threat areas and those predesignated
for immediate contingency deployment to these areas (such as
personnel in units with deployment dates up to 30 days after
mobilization) should be vaccinated in sufficient time to develop
immunity prior to deployment.  DOD has also identified which
biological agents constitute critical threats and determined the
amount of vaccine that should be stocked for each.  At present, the
amount of vaccines stocked remains insufficient to protect the force. 

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and other high-ranking DOD officials have
not yet approved implementation of the established immunization
policy.  No decision has yet been made on which vaccines to
administer, nor has an implementation plan been developed.  DOD
officials told us the implementation plan should be developed by
March 1996, but this issue is highly controversial within DOD, and it
is unclear whether the implementation plan will be approved and
carried out.  Until such an implementation plan is developed and
approved and immunizations are given, existing vaccines cannot
provide the intended protection from biological agents for forces
already stationed in high-threat areas and those designated for early
deployment if a crisis occurs and biological agents are used. 

Problems also exist with regard to the vaccines available to DOD for
immunization purposes.  Only a few biological agent vaccines have
been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Many remain
in Investigational New Drug (IND) status.  Although IND vaccines have
long been safely administered to personnel working in DOD vaccine
research and development programs, the FDA usually requires
large-scale field trials in humans to demonstrate new drug safety and
effectiveness before approval.  DOD has not performed such field
trials because of the ethical and legal considerations involved in
deliberately exposing humans to toxic or lethal biological agents;
nor has it effectively pursued other means of obtaining FDA approval
for IND vaccines.  IND vaccines can therefore now be administered
only under approved protocols and with written informed consent. 

During the Gulf War, DOD requested and received a waiver from the FDA
requirement for written informed consent since this was a contingency
situation.  If DOD intends to use vaccines to provide protection
against biological agents to personnel already assigned to
high-threat areas or designated for rapid deployment, then it needs
to make the required decisions for proceeding with immunizations and
either using IND vaccines or obtaining FDA approval for them.  DOD
officials told us they hoped to acquire a prime contractor during
1996 to subcontract vaccine production with the pharmaceutical
industry and take the actions needed to obtain FDA approval for
existing IND vaccines. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.6

Medical units assigned to support the early deploying Army divisions
we visited often lacked certain types of equipment needed to treat
casualties in a chemically or biologically contaminated environment. 
For example, these units are authorized chemical patient treatment
sets and patient decontamination kits that contain items such as
suction apparatuses and airways, aprons, gloves, scissors, and drugs
and chemicals for treating or decontaminating casualties.  Overall,
the medical units we visited had on hand only about 50 to 60 percent
of their authorized patient treatment kits and patient
decontamination kits.  Some units we visited had not been issued any
of these kits.  Further, our inspection of some kits showed that they
were missing critical components, such as drugs used for treating
chemical casualties.  Army officials said that the shelf life of
these items had expired and that operation and maintenance funds were
not available to replace them. 

Forward medical support for combat units, such as battalion aid
stations and mobile army surgical hospitals, need to be capable of
operating in contaminated environments.  However, none of the medical
units we visited had any type of collective shelter that would enable
them to provide such treatment.  Army officials acknowledged that the
lack of shelters would virtually prevent any forward area treatment
of casualties, and would cause greater injury and death rates.  They
told us that older versions of collective shelters developed to
counter the Soviet threat were unsuitable, unserviceable, and no
longer in use.  While new shelters--both a field hospital version and
a small mobile version mounted on a vehicle--are in development, they
are not expected to be available for initial issuance to units until
at least fiscal years 1997 and 1998.  Furthermore, Army officials
told us that the Army plans to limit issuance of the mobile shelters
to about 90 percent of the crisis response force, has canceled plans
for a tracked version for mechanized and armored divisions, and might
not purchase the currently planned version due to its funding

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :3.7

Military physicians assigned to medical units supporting early
deploying Army divisions need to be trained to treat and manage
casualties in a chemical or biological environment.  All Army
physicians attend the Medical Officer Basic Course and receive about
44 hours of training on nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC)
topics.  The Officer Advanced Course provides another 40 hours of
instruction for medical officers when they reach the rank of major or
lieutenant colonel, but is optional.  Also optional, the Management
of Chemical and Biological Casualties Course provides 6-1/2 days of
classroom and field instruction to military health care providers and
is designed to establish the essential skills needed to save lives,
minimize injury, and conserve fighting strength in a chemical or
biological warfare environment.  During Operation Desert Storm, this
course was provided on an emergency basis to medical units already
deployed to the theater.  These three courses constitute the bulk of
formal military medical training specifically oriented toward
chemical and biological warfare casualty treatment, with some
additional training provided through other shorter courses. 

Our examination showed that of the physicians either currently
assigned to medical units in selected early deploying Army divisions
or designated to report to these units at deployment, only a limited
number had completed the medical officer advanced and casualty
management courses.  The percentage of physicians that had attended
the advanced course ranged from 19 to 53 percent, while from 3 to 30
percent had attended the casualty management course.  Army medical
officials told us that the demands of providing peacetime medical
care to military personnel and their dependents often prevented
attendance at these courses.  Furthermore, the Army had made no
effort to monitor whether these physicians had received this
training, and attendance of the casualty management course was
neither required nor targeted toward physicians assigned to early
deploying units or otherwise needing this training. 

We also found little or no training is being conducted on casualty
decontamination from chemical or biological agents at most of the
early deploying divisions and medical units we visited.  There was
usually confusion among these units regarding who was responsible for
performing this task.  According to Army doctrine, tactical units are
expected to conduct initial casualty decontamination before their
evacuation or arrival at forward medical treatment facilities.  Army
lessons learned from Operation Desert Storm noted that some units
lacked understanding of the procedures and techniques used to
decontaminate casualties.  This situation had not been corrected at
the time of our review. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

Although DOD has taken actions to improve chemical and biological
defense since the Gulf War, DOD's emphasis has not been sufficient to
resolve many serious lingering problems.  Our measurement of key
indicators--DOD funding, staffing, mission priority, and
monitoring--showed that chemical and biological defense tends to be
relegated a lower level of priority than other threat areas. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.1

Historically, DOD has allocated less than 1 percent of its total
budget to chemical and biological defense.  Annual funding for this
area has decreased by over 30 percent in constant dollars, from
approximately $750 million in fiscal year 1992 to $504 million in
fiscal year 1995.  Funding for chemical and biological defense
activities could decrease further if the Secretary of Defense agrees
to a recent proposal by the Joint Staff.  In response to a recent
Joint Staff recommendation to reduce counterproliferation funding
over $1 billion over the next 5 years, DOD identified potential
reductions of approximately $800 million.  DOD officials told us
that, if implemented, this reduction would severely impair planned
chemical and biological research and development efforts and reverse
the progress already made in several areas.  For example, procurement
of the Automatic Chemical Agent Alarm would be delayed well into the
next century, as would the light NBC reconnaissance system. 

At the time we completed our work, DOD officials told us that DOD was
considering reducing the amount of the proposed funding reduction to
about $33 million, resulting in a far less serious impact on chemical
and biological warfare programs.  However, we believe that the
limited funding devoted to chemical and biological defense, the
tendency to reduce this funding to avoid cuts in other operational
areas, and the tendency of commanders to divert operation and
maintenance funding budgeted for chemical and biological defense is
indicative of the lower priority often given this area. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.2

Chemical and biological defense activities were frequently
understaffed and heavily tasked with other unrelated duties.  At the
CINC and military service levels, for example, chemical officers
assigned to CINC staffs were often heavily tasked with duties not
related to chemical and biological defense.  At FORSCOM and U.S. 
Army III Corps headquarters, chemical staff positions were being
reduced, and no chemical and biological staff position exists at the
U.S.  Army Reserve Command.  Finally, according to DOD officials, the
Joint Service Integration and Joint Service Materiel Groups (the
groups charged with overseeing research and development efforts for
chemical and biological equipment) have made less progress than
planned due to staffing shortages and other assigned tasks. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.3

The priority given to chemical and biological defense matters varied
widely.  Most CINCs appear to assign chemical and biological defense
a lower priority than other threats.  CINC staff members told us that
responsibility for chemical and biological defense training was
primarily a service matter, even though the Joint Staff has tasked
the CINCs with ensuring that their forces are trained in certain
joint chemical and biological tasks.  Several high-ranking DOD
officials told us that U.S.  forces still face a limited, although
increasing, threat of chemical and biological warfare. 

At Army corps, division, and unit levels, the priority given to this
area depended on the commander's opinion of its relative importance. 
For example, one early deploying division we visited had an
aggressive system for chemical and biological training, monitoring,
and reporting.  At another, the division commander made a conscious
decision to emphasize other areas due to limited resources and other
more immediate requirements, such as other than war deployments and
quality of life considerations.  As previously discussed, Army
medical officials told us that the demands of providing peacetime
medical care to military personnel and their families often
interfered with medical training oriented toward combat-related
subjects such as chemical and biological casualties. 

Officials from Army major commands, corps, divisions, and individual
units said that chemical and biological defense skills not only
tended to be difficult to attain and highly perishable but also were
often given a lower priority than other areas for the following

  too many other higher priority taskings,

  low levels of monitoring or interest by higher headquarters,

  the difficulty of performing tasks in cumbersome and uncomfortable
     protective gear,

  the time-consuming nature of chemical training,

  heavy reliance on post-mobilization training and preparation, and

  the perceived low likelihood of chemical and biological warfare. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :4.4

The lower emphasis given to chemical and biological matters is also
demonstrated by weaknesses in the methods used to monitor its status. 
DOD's current system for reporting overall readiness to the Joint
Staff is the Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS).  This
system measures the extent to which individual service units possess
the required resources and are trained to undertake their wartime
missions.  SORTS was established to provide the current status of
specific elements considered essential to readiness assessments, such
as personnel and equipment on hand, equipment condition, and the
training of operating forces.  The SORTS elements of measure, "C"
ratings that range from C-1 (best) to C-4 (worst), are probably the
most frequently cited indicator of readiness in the military. 

In a 1993 effort to improve the monitoring of chemical and biological
defense readiness, DOD required units from all services to assess
their equipment and training status for operations in a contaminated
environment and report this data as a distinct part of SORTS.  DOD's
1994 and 1995 annual reports to Congress on nuclear, biological, and
chemical warfare defense reported the continued lack of an adequate
feedback mechanism on the status of chemical and biological training,
equipment, and readiness. 

We found that the effectiveness of SORTS for evaluating unit chemical
and biological readiness is limited.  While the current report
requires unit commanders to report shortages of critical chemical or
biological defense equipment, it leaves the determination of which
equipment is critical up to the commander.  The requirements also
allow commanders to subjectively upgrade their overall SORTS status,
regardless of their chemical and biological status.  For example, one
early deploying active Army division was rated in the highest SORTS
category (C-1) despite rating itself in the lowest category (C-4) for
chemical and biological equipment readiness.  In addition, SORTS does
not require reporting of some critical unit and individual equipment
items if they are being stored at corps, rather than unit level, and
SORTS reports are sometimes inaccurate due to poor equipment
inventorying techniques. 

Furthermore, while individual units must fill out these reports,
divisions are not required to do so.  FORSCOM officials told us that
most of the early deploying active Army divisions did not complete
summaries of this report for at least 4 months in 1995 and that
FORSCOM did not monitor these reports for about 6 months in 1995 due
to a lack of personnel and other priorities.  FORSCOM officials told
us they normally performed only limited monitoring of unit chemical
and biological readiness and relied mostly on unit commanders to
report any problems.  The U.S.  Army Reserve Command does not have an
office or individual assigned to monitor reserve units' chemical and
biological equipment and training status. 

With the exception of SORTS, the monitoring of chemical and
biological readiness varied widely.  At the CINC level, virtually no
monitoring was being done.  None of the CINCs we visited required any
special reports on chemical or biological matters or had any special
monitoring systems in place.  At lower levels, monitoring was
inconsistent and driven by the commander's emphasis on the area.  At
both division and corps levels, monthly briefings, reports, and other
specific monitoring of chemical and biological readiness were
sometimes required and sometimes not, depending on the commander's
view of the importance of this area. 

Other methods the Army uses to monitor chemical and biological
proficiency are (1) after-action and lessons-learned reports
summarizing the results of operations and unit exercises at the
Army's combat training centers and (2) operational readiness
evaluations.  The effectiveness of these tools is hindered by the
varying amounts of chemical and biological training included in unit
rotations at the combat training centers and the frequent lack of
realism under which chemical and biological conditions are portrayed. 
Unit commanders influence the amount of chemical and biological
training to be included in exercises at the centers and how and when
it will be used in the exercises.  In some cases, Army officials said
that these exercises often include little chemical and biological
training and that in others it is conducted separately from more
realistic combat training. 

Operational readiness evaluations (ORE), on the other hand, were more
standardized in the areas of chemical and biological proficiency that
were assessed.  FORSCOM used OREs to obtain external evaluations of
active, reserve, and National Guard unit readiness and to identify
areas needing improvement.  These evaluations focus on unit ability
to perform its wartime missions prior to mobilization and deployment. 
OREs consist of a records check of personnel, logistics, training,
and mobilization data and an assessment of a unit's ability to
perform critical collective and individual mission tasks, including
chemical and biological defense tasks.  However, since the second
quarter of fiscal year 1995, the Army has discontinued OREs at all
active units and certain Army National Guard units. 

Marine Corps monitoring of chemical and biological matters was more
extensive than the Army's.  The Marine Corps conducts standardized
Operational Readiness and Commanding General Inspections, Combat
Readiness Evaluation Programs, and Marine Corps Combat Readiness
Evaluations that assess chemical and biological proficiency.  The
Corps also requires monthly reports to division commanders that
assess home station training in several specified chemical and
biological areas.  However, the effectiveness of some of its
evaluation tools is also questionable for some of the same reasons as
those we found for the Army. 

As discussed earlier, Marine Corps trend data and lessons-learned
information from its main combat training center at 29 Palms,
California, showed serious weaknesses in units' chemical and
biological proficiency.  Despite these deficiencies, in 1994 the
Marine Corps decided, as a result of downsizing, to discontinue
comprehensive exercises and evaluations of unit chemical and
biological defense proficiency at the 29 Palms combat training center
and concentrate instead on fire support and maneuver training. 
Marine chemical and biological training is therefore now largely
relegated to the home station training exercises and evaluations
mentioned above. 

Like the Army, the Marine Corps now relies on unit commanders to
determine the amount of chemical and biological training needed at
their home stations based on their assessments of their units'
capabilities and the evaluations described above.  The commander's
primary source of determining unit chemical and biological readiness
is the Operational Readiness Inspection.  Our analyses of these
inspections conducted in 1994 and 1995 for the 2d Marine
Expeditionary Force showed that units were trained with a few minor
deficiencies.  The other evaluations for the same time period showed
little discussion of chemical and biological proficiency.  Marine
Corps officials stated that unless problems are found, these programs
would not include discussions of these matters.  In the few instances
where the evaluations discussed chemical and biological matters, they
for the most part concluded that the units were trained.  However,
Marine Corps officials told us that these home station evaluations do
not expose units to the same training rigor and battlefield
conditions as exercises conducted at 29 Palms and therefore are
questionable indicators of actual unit chemical and biological
defense proficiency.  Thus, the extent that the Marine Corps has
corrected the chemical and biological problems it encountered during
Operation Desert Storm and since is uncertain. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

Although DOD has improved chemical and biological defense capability
since the Gulf War, many problems of the type experienced during this
war continue to exist.  This is in large part due to the inconsistent
but generally lower priority DOD, and especially the Joint Chiefs of
Staff and the warfighting CINCs, assign chemical and biological
defense relative to other priorities.  These problems are likely to
continue given current reductions in military funding and the limited
emphasis placed on chemical and biological defense, unless the
Secretary of Defense and the CJCS specifically assign a higher
priority to this area.  Until these problems are resolved, U.S. 
forces are likely to encounter operational difficulties and could
incur needless casualties if attacked with chemical or biological

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

We could not determine whether increased emphasis on chemical and
biological warfare defense is warranted at the expense of other
priorities.  This is a matter of DOD's military judgment and
congressional funding priorities. 

In view of the increasing chemical and biological warfare threat and
the continuing weaknesses in U.S.  chemical and biological defense
capabilities noted in this report, we recommend that the Secretary of
Defense reevaluate the priority and emphasis given to this area
throughout DOD.  We also recommend that the Secretary, in his next
annual report to Congress on NBC Warfare Defense, address (1)
proposed solutions to the deficiencies identified in this report and
(2) the impact that shifting additional resources to this area might
have on other military priorities. 

If the Secretary's reevaluation of the priority and emphasis given
chemical and biological defense determines that more emphasis is
needed, and if efforts by the Joint Service Materiel and Joint
Service Integration Groups prove less effective than desired, the
Secretary should consider elevating the single office for program
oversight to the assistant secretary level in DOD rather than leaving
it in its present position as part of the Office of the Assistant
Secretary for Atomic Energy.  The Secretary should also consider
adopting an increased single manager concept for the execution of the
chemical and biological program.  This would provide a single manager
with more authority, responsibility, and accountability for directing
program management and acquisition for all the services. 

We further recommend that the Secretary of Defense take the following
specific actions designed to improve the effectiveness of existing

  Direct FORSCOM to reevaluate current chemical defense equipment
     stock requirements for early deploying active and reserve units
     to determine the minimal amounts required to be on hand to meet
     deployment requirements and to determine any additional storage
     facility requirements.  If chemical defense equipment stock
     requirements are retained, we recommend that FORSCOM take the
     actions necessary to see that early deploying units can and do
     maintain these stocks. 

  Review some services' practice of funding the purchase of this
     equipment through Operation and Maintenance, rather than
     Procurement, funds.  This review is necessary because Operation
     and Maintenance funds intended for chemical and biological
     defense equipment and training are too easily and frequently
     diverted to other purposes, and the uses of these funds are not
     well recorded.  A consistent DOD system for funding these
     activities and recording the amount of funds spent on chemical
     and biological defense would greatly improve oversight of the
     resources and emphasis directed to this area.  We recommend that
     DOD also consider at least temporarily earmarking Operation and
     Maintenance funds to relieve existing shortages of this
     equipment if current funding practices for purchasing this
     equipment are retained. 

  Consider modifying SORTS to require active Army divisions to
     complete and submit SORTS division summaries for chemical and
     biological reporting categories, and implementing changes that
     would require overall unit readiness assessments to be more
     directly affected by their chemical and biological readiness
     status.  More emphasis should be placed on accurately
     inventorying and reporting unit stocks of critical chemical and
     biological defense equipment through SORTS and other monitoring
     and reporting systems.  SORTS reporting requirements should also
     be modified to more accurately reflect shortcomings in units'
     ability to meet existing chemical and biological training

  Determine and direct the implementation of an effective and
     appropriate immunization program for biological warfare defense
     that is consistent with existing DOD immunization policy. 

  Direct that DOD medical courses of instruction regarding chemical
     and biological warfare treatment techniques, such as the
     Management of Chemical and Biological Casualties Course, be
     directed toward those personnel occupying positions in medical
     units most likely to have need of this training and that medical
     units assigned such personnel keep adequate records to determine
     whether the appropriate number and types of their personnel have
     attended such courses. 

  Direct the Secretary of the Army to ensure that tactical unit
     training addresses casualty decontamination and that the current
     confusion regarding responsibility for performing casualty
     decontamination is corrected. 

  Direct the Secretary of the Army and the Commandant of the Marine
     Corps to ensure that all combat training centers routinely
     emphasize and include chemical and biological training, and that
     this training is conducted in a realistic manner.  Further, we
     recommend that the Secretary and the Commandant direct units
     attending these centers to be more effectively evaluated on
     their ability to meet existing chemical and biological training

  Direct the CINCs to routinely include joint chemical and biological
     training tasks in exercises conducted under the CJCS exercise
     program and evaluate the ability of joint forces to perform
     chemical and biological tasks.  Further, we recommend that the
     Secretary direct the CINCs to report annually on the results of
     this training. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

DOD generally concurred with the report findings, and acknowledged
that a relatively low emphasis has been placed on chemical and
biological defense in the past.  DOD also concurred with 9 of the10
report recommendations.  In commenting on this report, DOD stated it
has recently increased the emphasis and funding given to chemical and
biological defense and has begun a number of initiatives that are
expected to address many of the problems we identified.  DOD's full
comments and our evaluation are shown in appendix VI. 

A discussion of our scope and methodology is in appendix V.  We
conducted our review from October 1994 to December 1995 in accordance
with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

We are sending copies of this report to the Chairmen and Ranking
Minority Members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the House
Committee on National Security, and the Senate and House Committees
on Appropriations; the Secretaries of Defense and the Army; the
Commandant of the Marine Corps; and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of
Staff.  Copies will also be made available to others upon request. 

Please contact me at (202) 512-5140 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  Major contributors to this report
are listed in appendix VII. 

Mark E.  Gebicke
Director, Military Operations
 and Capabilities Issues

=========================================================== Appendix I

                                   2d Army\a      5th Army\c
                              (percentage of  (percentage of
                                       units           units
                                inadequately    inadequately  Found in
Task                              trained)\b        trained)  Gulf War
----------------------------  --------------  --------------  --------
Donning protective masks                                           Yes

 Active                                   39              50
 National Guard                           57              88
 U.S. Army Reserve                        84              81
Decontamination                                                    Yes

 Active                                   33              10
 National Guard                           61              60
 U.S. Army Reserve                        48              75
School-trained NBC officer                                         Not
 Active                                    5              17        le
 National Guard                           31              34
 U.S. Army Reserve                        35              19
Preparing for a chemical                                           Yes

 Active                                   67              23
 National Guard                           77              50
 U.S. Army Reserve                        50              60
Responding to a chemical                                           Yes

 Active                                   63              15
 National Guard                           53              67
 U.S. Army Reserve                        56              60
Integrating chemical and                                           N/A
 biological tasks into

 Active                                   26               0
 National Guard                           31              35
 U.S. Army Reserve                        29              40
\a In June 1995, the 1st Army, located at Fort Meade, Maryland, and
the 2d Army, located at Fort Gillem, Georgia, were consolidated.  The
new consolidated unit is called the 1st Army.  Our review of
operational readiness evaluation (ORE) covered the 138 evaluations
conducted by the former 2d Army in fiscal year 1994 and the first
half of fiscal year 1995.  Second Army OREs included 138 units--19
Active, 31 Army Reserve, and 88 National Guard. 

\b Based on the results of our ORE analysis, we considered units to
be inadequately trained if they were classified by the Army as being
either untrained or partially trained. 

\c In May 1995, the 6th Army located at the Presidio of San
Francisco, California, and the 5th Army located at Fort Sam Houston,
Texas, were consolidated as the new 5th Army.  Our review of OREs
covered the 83 evaluations conducted by the former 5th Army in fiscal
year 1994 and the first half of fiscal year 1995.  Fifth Army OREs
included 83 units--18 Active, 28 Army Reserve, and 37 National Guard. 

Sources:  Operational Readiness Evaluations, 2d and 5th Continental
U.S.  Armies, and Chemical Lessons Learned, Documents From Operations
Desert Shield/Storm, August 1990 through July 1991. 

========================================================== Appendix II

                                               Percent   Found in Gulf
Task measured                                untrained             War
--------------------------------------  --------------  --------------
Battle Management                                                  Yes

 Use of chemical units/officers                     94
 Casualty evaluation                                92
 Threat analysis                                    60
 Advising commanders                                75
 Intelligence preparation of                        60
Contamination avoidance                                            Yes

 Employment of chemical alarms                      90
 Use of detection kits                              86
 Implementation of warning system                   73
Decontamination                                                    Yes

 Planning                                           45
 Execution                                          80
Protection                                                         Yes

 Distribution of protective gear                    50
 Donning appropriate gear                           73
 Unmasking procedures                              100
 Administering first aid                            83
Note:  Data collected from 31 rotations of infantry, airborne,
special operations, armored cavalry, mechanized and motorized
infantry, air assault, and heavy and light forces from October 1988
to October 1990. 

Source:  Nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) Trendline Study from
the Command Training Centers Final Report, U.S.  Army Chemical
School, March 1991, and Chemical Lessons Learned Documents from
Operations Desert Shield/Storm, dated August 1990 through July 1991. 

========================================================= Appendix III

Command                             1995      1996      1995      1996
------------------------------  --------  --------  --------  --------
CENTCOM                               88        64         2         2
EUCOM                                 57        69         7         6
PACOM                                 \a        31        \a        13
USACOM                                 9         6         6         5
Total                                154       170        15        26
Note:  CENTCOM, Central Command; EUCOM, European Command; PACOM,
Pacific Command; USACOM, Atlantic Command. 

\a PACOM did not provide information for fiscal year 1995. 

Source:  U.S.  Central, Atlantic, European, and Pacific commands. 

YEAR 1996
========================================================== Appendix IV

                 Total planned
                exercises with
                     chemical/               15-22     10-14       5-9       1-4
Command       biological tasks  23 tasks     tasks     tasks     tasks     tasks
------------  ----------------  --------  --------  --------  --------  --------
CENTCOM                      2         0         1         1         0         0
EUCOM\a                      6        \a        \a        \a        \a        \a
PACOM                       13         0         0         0         1        12
USACOM                       5         0         0         0         2         3
\a EUCOM did not provide information on specific chemical and
biological tasks done in its joint exercises. 

=========================================================== Appendix V

The Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Military
Readiness, House Committee on National Security, requested that we
provide a current assessment of the ability of early deploying U.S. 
ground forces to survive and operate in a chemically or biologically
contaminated environment.  Our objectives were to determine (1) DOD's
actions to address chemical and biological warfare defense problems
identified during the Gulf War and (2) the current preparedness of
these forces to operate in a contaminated environment. 

To determine the Department of Defense's (DOD) actions to correct the
problems identified in the Gulf War, we reviewed DOD's
Nuclear/Biological/Chemical (NBC) Warfare Defense annual reports
submitted in 1994 and 1995 to Congress, lessons-learned documents,
and other studies prepared by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Army,
and the Marine Corps.  We performed a similar analysis of problems
identified in routine training exercises conducted under the
Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Exercise Program and at the Army's
combat training centers--the National Training Center, located at
Fort Irwin, California; the Joint Readiness Training Center, located
at Fort Polk, Louisiana; the Combat Maneuver Training Center, located
at Hohenfels, Germany; and the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
at 29 Palms, California.  We also analyzed operational readiness
inspections and evaluations and other Army and Marine Corps documents
that assessed the results of home station training exercises. 

To determine the preparedness of U.S.  ground forces to operate in a
chemical or biological environment, we focused on three areas:  the
availability of critical chemical and biological defense equipment,
such as protective suits, masks, and alarms; the adequacy of chemical
and biological training, including the extent to which tasks are
conducted in joint and service training; and the availability of
medical countermeasures to prevent and treat chemical and biological
casualties, including supplies of critical vaccines and medical
procedures to decontaminate and evacuate casualties. 

Regarding equipment availability at the units visited, we compared
equipment on hand with that required by Army and Marine Corps
regulations.  To determine training adequacy, we analyzed Army,
Marine Corps, and Joint Staff training guidance specifying chemical
and biological tasks to be done as well as after-action and
lessons-learned reports to identify any weaknesses.  We also analyzed
the training exercises conducted under the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of
Staff Exercise Program to determine the extent that joint exercises
include chemical and biological defense training.  To assess the
adequacy of medical countermeasures, we interviewed DOD officials and
analyzed lessons-learned reports from the Gulf War to determine what
problems had occurred.  We then assessed medical unit equipment
availability and training, the training provided to military
physicians for the treatment and management of chemical and
biological casualties, and the adequacy of biological agent vaccine
stocks and policies and procedures for their use. 

We also assessed the efforts by DOD, the Joint Staff, and CINCs to
monitor chemical and biological readiness.  We interviewed key
officials, examined guidance and reporting requirements, and analyzed
reports to determine the extent that chemical and biological matters
are included. 

We met with key DOD, Joint Staff, and service officials to discuss
chemical and biological problems and the efforts to correct them; as
well as readiness issues, including the emphasis placed on chemical
and biological matters and other issues.  At the DOD level, we
contacted officials in the offices of the Assistant Secretary of
Defense (Atomic Energy) (Chemical and Biological Matters); the Armed
Forces Medical Intelligence Center, Fort Detrick, Maryland; and the
Joint Program Office for Biological Defense.  At the Joint Staff
level, we met with officials in the offices of the Director for
Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5), Weapons Technology Control
Division, and the Director for Operational Plans and Interoperability
(J-7), Joint Exercise and Training Division.  At the commander in
chief (CINC) level, we contacted officials at the U.S.  Atlantic,
Central, European, and Pacific Commands.  At the Army, we held
discussions and reviewed documents at U.S.  Army Forces Command, Fort
McPherson, Georgia; the U.S.  Army Reserve Command, Atlanta, Georgia;
the Office of the Army Surgeon General, Falls Church, Virginia; the
Army Chemical School, Fort McClellan, Alabama; the Army Medical
Command and the Army Medical Department Center and School, Fort Sam
Houston, Texas; the Chemical and Biological Defense Command,
Aberdeen, Maryland; the U.S.  Army Medical Research Institute of
Infectious Diseases, Fort Detrick, Maryland; Walter Reed Army Medical
Center, Washington, D.C.; and the U.S.  Army Medical Research and
Materiel Command, Fort Detrick, Maryland. 

We interviewed officials and reviewed documents at the Army's III
Corps Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas; the XVIII Airborne Corps
Headquarters, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and the Marine Corps'
Combat Development and Combat Systems Development Commands, Quantico,

We visited four of the 5-1/3 active Army divisions composing the
crisis response force as well as the 2d Armored Division, Fort Hood,
Texas, and the 25th Light Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks,

We visited the 2d U.S.  Army (now 1st U.S.  Army) headquarters, Fort
Gillem, Georgia; the 5th U.S.  Army headquarters, Fort Sam Houston,
Texas; the 90th U.S.  Army Reserve Command, San Antonio, Texas; the
98th U.S.  Army Reserve Support Command, Little Rock, Arkansas; and
the 143d Transportation Command, Orlando, Florida.  We also visited a
chemical company, a chemical detachment, a chemical brigade
headquarters, a signal company, an engineer group, and a
transportation detachment from the U.S.  Army Reserves that, at the
time of our review, were designated for deployment in less than 30
days from mobilization. 

We visited the following Marine Corps Units: 

  II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina;

  II Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina;

  II Marine Force Service Support Group, Camp Lejeune, North
     Carolina; and

  II Marine Aircraft Wing, Cherry Point, North Carolina. 

We conducted our work from October 1994 to December 1995 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 

(See figure in printed edition.)Appendix VI
=========================================================== Appendix V

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

(See figure in printed edition.)

The following are GAO's comments on DOD's letter dated March 20,


1.  Our report acknowledges that a single office within DOD currently
has responsibility for chemical and biological program oversight and
execution.  However, as we noted in our report, many aspects of joint
military service planning of research, development, acquisition, and
logistics support for chemical and biological activities are
dependent on the effectiveness of the committee-like Joint Service
Integration and Joint Service Materiel Groups.  The effectiveness of
these groups in resolving interservice chemical and biological issues
remains to be seen, and the Joint Service Integration Group was
continuing to have start-up staffing problems at the time of our
review.  Some DOD officials have expressed concern regarding the
ability of these groups to obtain sufficient support and emphasis
from the individual services to be effective.  We believe more of a
single manager approach to this planning should be considered if
these groups are unable to effectively address current problems and
develop timely solutions.  We have slightly modified our
recommendation to clarify our position on this point. 

2.  We agree that the Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS)
is not intended to function as a detailed management tool.  However,
the current system leaves significant opportunity for broadly
inaccurate reporting of unit chemical and biological preparedness
status.  For example, although 3 of the 5-1/3 Army divisions
composing the crisis response force had 50 percent or less of the
protective clothing required by regulations for chemical and
biological defense, these shortages were discernable through SORTS
for only one of these divisions.  This type of problem was evident
during the Persian Gulf conflict, as after-action reports and other
analyses revealed that units reporting 90 to 95 percent of their
equipment on hand through SORTS actually had far less serviceable
equipment for a variety of reasons, thereby causing logisticians and
transporters to make extraordinary post-mobilization and
post-deployment efforts to fill requisitions for unit shortages. 

Furthermore, during our review, at least one early deploying division
was able to report C-1 for individual protective equipment status (90
percent or more of equipment on hand) although less than 50 percent
of the required protective clothing and other items were actually
available (C-4 status).  This occurred because Army regulations allow
units to forego reporting on equipment stored in facilities not
specifically controlled by the unit.  In this case, the division's
chemical defense equipment was stored in a warehouse controlled by
corps headquarters, and reporting these shortages through SORTS was
therefore not required, even though the corps headquarters and the
division were physically located on the same installation.  In this
case, the level of stockage was not only inadequate for the division,
but for other early deploying units within the corps as well.  Also,
leaving SORTS reporting mandatory for individual units, but optional
for divisions, not only complicates the process but also makes review
by higher commands such as U.S.  Forces Command (FORSCOM) much more

Finally, DOD's annual reports to Congress acknowledged continuing
problems regarding the accountability and management of NBC defense
item inventories.  While we concur that SORTS is not an appropriate
tool for detailed management, we believe the assessment it provides,
particularly regarding unit inventories of critical chemical and
biological defense equipment, needs to be reasonably accurate in
order to provide a meaningful readiness assessment.  As long as units
are required to be capable of defending themselves and operating in a
contaminated environment, we believe that a readiness evaluation
system that permits an overall unit readiness rating of C-1 while
chemical and biological equipment readiness is rated C-4 could easily
provide misleading information about that unit's actual combat
readiness.  Also, requiring at least a moderate level of chemical and
biological readiness in order to achieve a high overall readiness
rating would do much to emphasize chemical and biological defense,
and thus address some of the disparity that often occurs between the
level of emphasis placed on chemical and biological defense by DOD
policy and guidance and that actually being applied at unit level
(see comment 4).  We are therefore retaining this recommendation. 

3.There is no question that Army doctrine and manuals are clear about
who has responsibility for patient decontamination.  However, both
medical and tactical units we visited that were involved in
implementing these tasks were often unaware of the doctrine and,
consequently, usually had not either planned or trained to perform
these functions. 

4.  We concur that military service training documents and standards
require commanders to ensure that units and individuals are trained
to defend and survive in a contaminated environment.  However, there
appears to be a difference between the policy and guidance
established and the extent to which it has been effectively applied. 
For example, while the last two FORSCOM commanders have issued NBC
defense training guidance requiring commanders to ensure that units
are fully trained to sustain operations and defend against
battlefield NBC hazards, the various DOD readiness and evaluation
mechanisms we reviewed continue to indicate that many units are in
fact not trained to DOD standards for chemical and biological
defense.  Our report also shows that Army unit commanders have not
met FORSCOM requirements for unit on-hand stocks for critical NBC
equipment, and that FORSCOM has not provided either the funds or the
supervisory oversight needed to ensure compliance. 

========================================================= Appendix VII


Sharon A.  Cekala
Donald L.  Patton
William W.  Cawood
Rodney A.  Ragan
Penny A.  Berrier
Jay S.  Willer


Cherie' M.  Stark
Zachary R.  White
Stacey E.  Keisling


Benjamin Douglas
Joseph F.  Lenart, Jr. 

*** End of document. ***