Deputy Secretary of Defense John P. White received a
progress report on December 18 on the computer modeling
assessment being conducted by the Institute for Defense Analyses
A final report is not expected for several months.
November 2, 1996, White asked IDA to convene an independent panel
of experts in meteorology, physics, chemistry, and related
disciplines to review the modeling analysis done for the CIA
using the U.S. Army's Chemical and Biological Defense Command's
NUSSE4 transport and diffusion model.
The modeling was part of
the effort to understand possible nerve agent release and
dispersal during the demolitions of 122mm rockets in the pit
area at the Khamisiyah Ammunition Storage Area in southeastern
Iraq after the war.
The IDA panel is examining the Khamisiyah
incident to see if the original model or any other models may be
useful in determining the possible extent of chemical exposure as
a result of these demolitions.
The initial modeling effort was based on a commonly used
transport and diffusion model developed to study the tactical use
of chemical weapons -- but one that is not valid for distances
greater than 25 kilometers downwind from an agent release.
recommended examining some non-DoD models as well as a
combination of models to compensate for the deficiencies of the
IDA reported continued concern about the inability to
describe the many variables of the agent-munition release
The panel agrees with the CIA that huge
uncertainties remain in the number of rockets present for
destruction and the number of those rockets destroyed.
other major variables for which there remains much uncertainty
are total quantity of agent released, mechanism of release, and
purity of agent.
The sparse meteorological data available to reconstruct
atmospheric conditions during the period of the demolitions is
The nearest available source for surface
weather data was 85 kilometers from Khamisiyah.
source for upper-air data was over 200 kilometers away.
recommended a search for additional meteorological data.
White asked that the effort continue despite the many
uncertainties and the very real possibility that no model or
combination of models will significantly add to the knowledge of
possible exposure of U.S. forces to chemical agents at
IDA expects to deliver their final report next year.
The Defense Department announced a series of actions on
October 22, 1996 to reach out and seek the help of 20,000 Gulf
War veterans that may have been near Khamisiyah during the period
March 4-15, 1991.
These actions include telephone interviews,
letters and surveys as well as encouragement to participate in
medical evaluation programs.