The purpose of chemical and biological (CB) defense research is to develop equipment that will protect U.S. military forces, sustain combat operations, and maintain system effectiveness in a CB agent-contaminated environment. The cornerstone of a CB defense strategy is early detection and warning to provide situational awareness and time to take steps to avoid the exposure of personnel and equipment. The complement to detection is protection (i.e., to insulate personnel from CB agents using individual clothing ensembles and respirators, as well as collective filtration systems and shelters). Modeling and simulation technologies are used to assess conditions, train personnel, develop material for operating in a CB warfare environment, provide equipment design parameters, and enable field commanders to integrate and interpret real-time data.
In 1993 the Army established the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM), which is responsible for nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) defense, technology, products, and services to support U.S. forces, ensure the safe storage of chemical material, oversee the remediation and restoration of areas after exposure, and support chemical treaties and demilitarization. The Edgewood Research, Development and Engineering Center (RDEC) supports CBDCOM by performing basic research and development for NBC defense programs for the Army.
In 1995, the CBDCOM requested that the National Research Council (NRC), through the Board on Army Science and Technology of the Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, provide expert, impartial, independent advice. In response to this request, the NRC organized a standing committee called the Program and Technical
Review of the U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command, referred to here as the CBDCOM Standing Committee (CSC). This committee was assembled to provide expertise in areas of technology pertinent to CBDCOM's mission, which includes five primary areas:
maintaining a chemical and biological defense technology base and procurement capability
accurately relating the results of tests on chemical and biological defense equipment to battlefield performance
responding to the Army, Congress, and the public about chemical and biological issues
transferring defense technology
interacting with the Army's battle laboratories and integrating its technology and advanced concepts
The CSC was asked to consider technology issues and systems to assist CBDCOM in defining a vision for the future. During its first year, the CSC was also asked to investigate potential studies that would address the concerns of the CBDCOM commander and executive director and the technical director of the Edgewood RDEC, which has historically been an important organization in the Army and U.S. Department of Defense for chemical and biological research.
After numerous visits and interviews with key personnel at Edgewood RDEC and CBDCOM and internal deliberations, the CSC focused on two major areas: (1) a technical assessment of the man-in-simulant test (MIST) program; and (2) a program assessment of the technical quality of the Edgewood RDEC's mass spectrometry and bioremediation programs. It was decided that the CSC would be split into two panels of relevant experts to address the two tasks. This report, the first of the two-phase response, presents an evaluation of test methodology and data assessment associated with the MIST program.
CHARGE TO THE COMMITTEE
The MIST was designed to test chemical protective ensembles for soldiers in the field. The MIST is part of a program that includes designing protective suits, developing test methodology, conducting tests, and conducting health hazard analyses. The CSC was asked to make a technical assessment of the MIST program. Specifically, the CSC was asked to:
review the test methodology for the MIST program1
review the use of biological markers (e.g., cholinesterase inhibition) to predict the signs and symptoms associated with exposure to nerve (VX) and vesicant (HD) agents
review the test methodology for employing passive and active vapor and aerosol samplers during simulant tests at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, and assess the plan for data collection and analysis
determine whether the current chemical simulant, methyl salicylate, or an alternative simulant should be used in the MIST program
The CSC selected members of the standing committee to serve on a panel to review the MIST program. The panel was composed of experts in the fields of protective systems, toxicology, risk assessment, environmental and occupational health, simulation and modeling, textile science, human factors, organic chemistry, and chemical engineering. The panel collected data to assess the methodology used in the MIST for suitability, validity, and thoroughness. The panel received input from a variety of sources, including personnel from the Natick RDEC, where the suits were designed; the Edgewood RDEC, where the test methodology was developed; the U.S. Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine, where the health hazard assessment was performed; and the West Desert Test Center at Dugway Proving Ground, where the tests were actually performed. The panel also heard perspectives from the Test and Evaluation Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; the NBC equipment manager from Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, Virginia; and program management perspectives from a representative of Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The panel reviewed the selection processes used to arrive at the current methodology for samplers, modeling, data collection, biomarkers, the extrapolation of data to human use, and all assumptions.
The panel collected the data, evaluated them for suitability, and came to conclusions about the model as applied to the testing of chemical protective suits.
This report summarizes the activities and the recommendations based on the CSC's review of the MIST program. Chapter 2 focuses on the test protocol; Chapter 3 reviews the simulant selection; Chapter 4 focuses on test methods and sampler selection; Chapter 5 outlines assumptions and limitations; and Chapter 6 presents the committee's conclusions and recommendations.