Monday, June 22, 2009

BLAST FROM THE PAST: GAO Report Details Missing CENTCOM Gulf War Chemical Logs

Gulf War Illnesses: Public and Private Efforts Relating to Exposures of U.S. Personnel to Chemical Agents (Letter Report, 10/15/97, GAO/NSIAD-98-27).

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
(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

GAO summarized the efforts that various organizations have underway to address these issues.
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