Gulf War Illnesses:

Public and Private Efforts Relating to Exposures of U.S. Personnel to Chemical Agents

NSIAD-98-27: Published: Oct 15, 1997. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 1997.

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Mark E. Gebicke
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Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the extent to which federal government agencies and private organizations are examining; (1) the potential exposure of U.S. military personnel to chemical warfare agents in the Persian gulf; and (2) the circumstances surrounding gaps in the Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) Desk Log maintained by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) during the war.

GAO noted that: (1) as of September 1997, 14 federal and private organizations had efforts under way examining potential exposure of U.S. servicemembers to chemical agents and 1 federal organization was examining gaps in the NBC Desk Log maintained by CENTCOM; (2) relative to potential exposures to chemical agents, 8 federal and 6 nonfederal organizations were involved in this effort; (3) concerning gaps in the NBC Desk Log, officials from DOD's Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses said that about 200 pages of log entries may have been produced during the Gulf War; (4) however, thus far, that office has only been able to locate 37 pages; (5) officials from that office believe the remaining log pages were destroyed as part of an office cleanout; (6) nevertheless, the DOD Inspector General's Defense Criminal Investigative Service has an investigation under way to examine these gaps; and (7) five veterans' organizations have also been tracking this log issue as part of their overall efforts to gather data on Gulf War illnesses. GAO summarized the efforts that various organizations have under way to address these issues.

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