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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 207-02
April 25, 2002

DOD RELEASES TWO REPORTS ON KHAMISIYAH DEMOLITION OPERATIONS

The Department of Defense released today two reports relating to the events at Khamisiyah during the Gulf War. The first report is a final version of its case narrative "U.S. Demolition Operations at Khamisiyah." The second, "Modeling and Risk Characterization of U.S. Demolition Operations at the Khamisiyah Pit," is a technical report detailing the modeling and risk characterization of possible chemical warfare agent exposure in the Gulf War.

After publishing the first interim report in 1997, investigators working for DoD's special assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical Readiness And Military Deployments intensified their efforts to address unanswered questions and to fully understand the effect of demolition operations on U.S. servicemembers. In addition, investigators began detailed computer modeling of events in the spring and summer of 1997 to determine the size and path of the potential hazard area created by demolition activities. The modeling resulted in the Defense Department sending notification letters to approximately 99,000 veterans in 1997.

Further refinement of computer modeling of the Khamisiyah Pit demolition was completed in January 2000. This information combined with an updated CIA estimate of how much chemical warfare agent was released, addition of deposition and decay to the models and consideration of toxicity of both sarin and cyclosarin in the models resulted in a second interim report published in December 2000. The improved modeling allowed investigators to redefine the potential hazard area, resulting in slight changes to the estimated numbers - 101,000 vs. 99,000 - of U.S. servicemembers possibly exposed to low-levels of nerve agent by the Khamisiyah demolitions. More than 66,000 soldiers were shown to be in the potential hazard area by both the 1997 and 2000 modeling. In December 2000, the Defense Department notified more than 140,000 servicemembers of their status based on their unit location inside or outside of the 2000 potential hazard area.

Since publication of the second interim report, investigators received new information from veterans inquiring about their inclusion or exclusion from the possible hazard area. After reviewing each request, investigators notified the veteran (and any others affected) of the results of the review, including any change in their possible exposure status. Examples of some of the reasons for change include:

  • Personnel identified on a unit manning list who did not actually deploy with the unit.
  • Air Force personnel attached or on exchange to Army units who were not on Army personnel lists; and
  • Army reserve civil affairs units attached to military police brigades.

As a result of the updates since the previous publication, the number of possibly exposed personnel now stands at 101,752.

The technical report, "Modeling and Risk Characterization of U.S. Demolition Operations at the Khamisiyah Pit," describes the details of the modeling and risk characterization of possible chemical warfare agent exposure in the Gulf War. It also details efforts to reconstruct the demolition of chemical-warfare-agent-filled munitions at Khamisiyah, Iraq, on March 10, 1991; to identify the servicemembers who possibly may have been exposed; and to evaluate the possible effects of that exposure.

Case narratives examine Gulf War incidents that might have involved chemical warfare agents. This final case narrative and technical report are available on GulfLINK at http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/khamisiyah_iii/ and http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/khamisiyah_tech/.