Organization of the Chemical and Biological Defense Program


Prior to the first Gulf War (1991), chemical and biological defense science and techology (S&T) was conducted in the individual Military Services, with the Army being the primary participant (supplemented by limited interest, funding, and execution in the other Services). While the threat was generally known throughout DoD, and perhaps the general public, until the confrontation with Iraq there had never been an imminent chemical and biological (CB) threat. Fortunately, there was no documented use of either a chemical or biological agent by Iraq against US forces. Nonetheless, the perceived lack of adequate protection against chemical and biological agents rose to an unprecedented level of interest, both within DoD and Congress.

Congressional interest resulted in the enactment of PL 103-160 in 1993. This statute consolidated the CBDP into a joint program, with “oversight” at the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). To address the need for Joint Service participation and execution of the program, two groups were established. First, the Joint Service Integration Group (JSIG) was directed to identify Joint requirements and to lead development of a Program Objective Memorandum (POM) that would address the needs of the Services. Second, the Joint Service Materiel Group (JSMG) was created to oversee the research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) functions of the CBDP. The JSMG created the Joint Program Office (JPO) to manage the advanced development aspects of the program. The Army took the lead for creating this office and it essentially reported to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASARDA), thus creating a bifurcated reporting chain. The JPO was originally headed by an Army Colonel (Chemical Corps background), with a civilian deputy. Subsequently, the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD), successor to the JPO, was recognized as an Acquisition billet and therefore filled with appropriately trained individuals, while maintaining a senior civilian as the deputy. Both the JSIG and JSMG had flag officer members, and theoretically reported to the OSD to comply with the mandate that OSD be the single focal point within DoD. This somewhat cumbersome management structure remained in place for approximately 10 years. Changes in leadership at various levels resulted in changes in program direction and varying levels of interest, oversight, and advocacy for the program from the OSD.

The second Gulf War in the early 2000’s led to the difficult realization that not much had changed in the CBDP in the preceding decade. Subsequently, a memo from the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, issued in 2003, created the current program

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