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Background The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was asked to advise the Department of Defense (DOD) on a long-term strategy for protecting the health of the nation's military personnel when deployed to unfamiliar environments. As part of the academy's response to this request, the National Research Council' s (NRC' s) Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology was asked to develop an analytical framework for assessing health risks to deployed forces. Dr. Lorenz Rhomberg of Gradient Corporation (formerly of the Harvard University School of Public Health) served as the project's principal investigator. He was assisted by 10 advisers represent- ing a variety of relevant disciplines. To assist Dr. Rhomberg and the advisers, six papers were commissioned on topics identified as key issues: (1) possible scenarios of future deployments and battle considerations, (2) existing risk-assess- ment methods and their possible application to deployment situations, (3) approaches for collecting and using personal exposure and biological-marker information, (4) health assessment and risk management integration for biological agents, (5) toxicologic interactions among agents, and (6) possible paradigms for incorporating toxicokinetic information in risk assessment. The six papers were presented at a workshop on January 28-29, 1999 in Washington, DC. Over 60 participants from the military and scientific communities were present. The sessions were moderated by members of the advisory group, and the commissioned authors were asked to consider the comments and suggestions that arose during the workshop in revising their papers. The final papers were also reviewed by two members of the Commission on Life Sciences: Donald Mattison, March of Dimes and John Emmerson, Fishers, Indiana. The commissioned papers were used as background for the NRC report A Risk Assessment Frame- work for Protecting the Health of Deployed Forces, which is being published concurrently with these proceedings. The findings, conclusions, and recommendations that appear in the workshop papers are solely those of the authors and should not be interpreted as those of the NRC.