America's Struggle with Chemical-Biological Warfare

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Fear and ignorance have colored the perception of chemical and biological (CB) warfare both in the public and military spheres. Media coverage following the alleged gassing of sheep at Dugway Proving Ground in 1968 has led most people to believe that CB warfare is an unstoppable doomsday weapon of mass destruction. Yet, in 1972, General Creighton Abrams, the Army Chief of Staff, attempted to disestablish the Chemical Corps because he saw no need for it. Had that decision not been reversed in 1976, there would not have been any chemical defense specialists or equipment available for Operation Desert Storm in 1990. This study tracks events relating to the Department of Defense's CB warfare program between 1968 and 1990, as it evolved up to the Gulf War. It also details how the military develops and procures CB defense equipment to protect today's soldiers. Mauroni draws parallels between the development of binary chemical weapons, the chemical demilitarization program, and the DoD CB terrorism response efforts, as each has very similar issues and solutions. He seeks to educate leading officials and the general public about the facts behind CB warfare and the options for coping with it in the future. With proper training and equipment, the challenge of CB warfare can be met and dealt with on the modern battlefield.