Chemical Warfare:

Soldiers Not Adequately Trained or Equipped to Conduct Operations on a Chemical Battlefield

T-NSIAD-91-18: Published: Apr 16, 1991. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 1991.

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GAO discussed the Army's active and reserve units' readiness to conduct warfare operations on a chemical battlefield, focusing on whether the Army adequately trained and equipped soldiers to survive and sustain operations in a chemical environment. GAO noted that: (1) contradictory to Army training policy, many soldiers had not trained in full chemical gear for 4 continuous hours, had never performed their job specialties in full protective gear, and had not trained at night; (2) the Army did not conduct training under realistic conditions, rarely used simulants or devices to add realism to chemical training, and offered few opportunities to practice decontamination activities; (3) the time-consuming nature of training, minimal emphasis on chemical training in unit evaluation, and potential impact on morale attributed to inadequate chemical training; (4) many reserve component chemical units lacked such essential equipment as trucks, decontamination systems, protective overgarments, and chemical detection alarms; (5) inventories in reserve storage sites were significantly below authorized levels, and some units had not received authorization to procure some critical equipment; and (6) the Army has been aware for several years of limitations in existing chemical protective equipment and was developing new improved equipment, some of which was far behind production schedules.

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