Q. What is a case narrative?
A. A case narrative is a report of what we know today
about specific events that took place during the Gulf War of 1990 and
1991. A case narrative focuses on a particular incident and can include
personnel interviews, reviews of official documents from various commands
and agencies, collection of scientific data, and original research. From
a broader perspective, a case narrative is part of our overall effort
to inform the public about the progress being made to solve the many mysteries
of 1990-1991 Gulf War illnesses.
Q. What has been delaying the case narratives?
A. Careful research takes time, and by many standards,
our organization is still relatively new. Once we brought on enough people
to properly work the issues, we had to begin the involved process of substantiating
the incidents, documenting the medical reports related to the incidents,
interviewing appropriate people, obtaining information available to external
organizations, assessing the data, then writing and coordinating these
Q. How does these case narrative announcements effect previously announced
initiatives and actions?
A. These announcements are another step in the investigative process.
The cases narratives are not final reports. These narratives are intended
to generate additional dialogue with 1990-1991 Gulf War veterans who may have more
information that will help us accurately understand what occurred with
respect to each case under investigation. We encourage veterans with additional
information to call the Gulf War Incident Hotline at 1-800-472-6719 or
Q. Why do you release these reports in this manner?
A. As part of DoD's efforts to keep veterans informed
about what we know about key events, issues, and incidents, the department
is publishing a series of narratives and issue papers.
Q. What is the significance of these case narratives?
A. The narratives are significant in that they present,
for the first time, all the information we have on these specific events
as of the date of publication.
Q. If these are interim reports, when will you have final
A. If new information becomes available, the narratives
will be updated and reissued. All our narratives are dynamic in nature
and will be updated as more information comes to light.
Q. What methodology do you use in developing the narratives?
A. To investigate these incidents and to determine
if chemical weapons were used, the DoD developed a methodology for investigation
and validation based on work done by the United Nations and the international
community where the criteria include:
- A detailed written record of the conditions at the site.
- Physical evidence from the site such as weapons fragments, soil, water,
vegetation or human/animal tissue samples.
- A record of the chain of custody during the transportation of the
- Testimony of eyewitnesses.
- Multiple analyses.
- Review of the evidence by experts
Our method is designed to provide a thorough, investigative process to
define the circumstances of each incident and determine what happened.
Alarms alone are not considered to be certain evidence of chemical agent
presence, nor is a single individual's observation sufficient to validate
a chemical agent presence, without corroboration. By following our methodology,
gathering evidence, interviewing eyewitnesses and key personnel, and analyzing
the results, the investigator assesses the validity of the presence of
chemical warfare agents on the battlefield. Because information from various
sources may be contradictory, we have developed the following assessment
scale, ranging from "Definitely" to "Definitely Not."
This assessment is tentative, based on facts available as of the date
of the report publication; each case is reassessed over based on new information
"Definitely Not" -- "Unlikely"
-- "Indeterminate" -- "Likely" -- "Definitely"
The standard for making the assessment is based on the following: do the
available facts lead a reasonable person to conclude that chemical warfare
agents were or were not present? When insufficient information is available,
the assessment is "Indeterminate" until more evidence can be
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