TAB C-4 – Pest Management and Operations

This section describes how the military organized its preventive medicine and how it used preventive medicine during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm to protect US personnel serving in the Gulf. This section also presents information received during Preventive Medicine personnel interviews regarding symptomatic exposures experienced and reported by some US military personnel.


The Army and Navy normally train and certify enlisted preventive medicine specialists to apply pesticides during deployments and field training exercises. Navy applicators also support the Marine Corps. This investigation does not include the experiences of Navy personnel who served solely on ships during the Gulf War, since the pesticide exposures they experienced were essentially no different from the exposures encountered aboard ship on assignments elsewhere. In the Air Force, pest control was a civil engineering specialty. Unlike Army and Navy preventive medicine specialists, Air Force pest controllers applied pesticides while stationed at permanent Air Force installations, as well as when deployed. Contracted services or civilian employees provided pest control at permanent Army, Navy, and Marine Corps bases.

Normally only enlisted preventive medicine personnel in the Army and Navy applied pesticides. However, officers in preventive medicine specialties, especially entomologists, were familiar with pest control activities as an integral element of disease control. The Army’s descriptions for preventive medicine occupational specialties, which are similar to the Navy’s, provide insight into the full scope of military preventive medicine duties:[588]


During the Gulf War, the Department of Defense (DoD) assigned pest management responsibilities to several organizations. The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, supported by the expertise of military preventive medicine officers and military contingency operations planners, developed and disseminated DoD preventive medicine policy.

DoD assigned pest management activities to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, with the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security having day-to-day responsibility. Two organizations provide department-wide preventive medicine support: the Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB) and Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center (AFMIC). The AFPMB developed and recommended pest management policy. The AFPMB served as the scientific body for all DoD components, organized pest management research and development functions, coordinated DoD pest management activities, and approved the introduction, stocking, and removal of pest management materials for the military supply system.[591] Through its Defense Pest Management Information Analysis Center, the AFPMB provided Disease Vector Ecology Profiles (DVEPs), publications that prepare deploying units for disease risks they may encounter in the deployment area. AFMIC provided and maintained current disease risk assessments and information on parasitic and communicable diseases as well as other aspects of medical intelligence. An AFMIC representative served on the AFPMB and acted as liaison between the two organizations.

The respective services’ surgeons general developed preventive medicine policy. Each service also has support organizations that aid the service in providing effective preventive medicine support.

The US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine (CHPPM), formerly the US Army Environmental Hygiene Agency, is—and was during the Gulf War—the Army’s principal source of toxicological information, pesticide monitoring, and pesticide resistance testing.[592]

To support Navy and Marine Corps units, the Navy had two types of preventive medicine organizations: the Navy Disease Vector Ecology and Control Centers (NDVECCs) and Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Units (NEPMUs). NDVECCs provided technical and specialized vector prevention and management services and supported operating forces and shore installations to prevent disease vectors and pests. NEPMUs provided expert, specialized technical services, consultation, advice, and recommendations on preventive medicine and environmental health matters.[593]

At the time of the Gulf War, the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine provided pest management consultations, operational entomological research, medical readiness training, and environmental health personnel training in vector and vector-borne disease surveillance. The US Air Force Armstrong Laboratory. Occupational and Environmental Health Directorate provided pest management consultations and operational entomological research.[594] The Air Force Civil Engineering Support Agency, formerly the Air Force Engineering and Services Center, implemented pest management policy and programs, including professional pest management technical assistance worldwide, pest management support during combat and disaster relief operations, the monitoring of base level training needs, the maintenance of a pest management and pesticide database, a liaison with the medical element on all environmental and health-related issues, and coordination with other military services and appropriate governmental agencies on pesticide disposal and the DoD environmental pesticide monitoring program.[595]

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