TAB A - Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary

This tab provides a listing of acronyms and abbreviations found in this report. Additionally, the Glossary section provides definitions for selected technical terms that are not found in common usage.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

2d MARDIV 2d Marine Division

biological warfare

CBDCOM Chemical and Biological Defense Command
CRDEC Chemical Research, Development, and Engineering Center
CW chemical warfare
CWA chemical warfare agent
EOD explosive ordnance disposal
ERDEC Edgewood Research and Development Engineering Center
I MEF I Marine Expeditionary Force
JCMEC Joint Captured Materiel Exploitation Center
MARCENT Marine Central Command
MARDIV Marine Division
MOPP mission oriented protective posture
NBC nuclear, biological, chemical
NCO Non- commissioned officer
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology
SBCCOM US Army Soldier Biological and Chemical Command
TEU Technical Escort Unit
UNSCOM United Nations Special Commission
USCENTCOM United States Central Command


Blister agent

A blister agent is a chemical warfare agent that produces local irritation and damage to the skin and mucous membranes, pain and injury to the eyes, reddening and blistering of the skin, and when inhaled, damage to the respiratory tract. Blister agents include mustards, arsenicals like lewisite, and mustard and lewisite mixtures. Blister agents are also called vesicants or vesicant agents.[118,119]

Chemical Agent Monitor (CAM)

A chemical agent monitor is a hand-held, soldier-operated device that is used to monitor chemical warfare agent contamination on soldiers and equipment. The chemical agent monitor may give false readings when used in enclosed spaces or when sampling near strong vapor sources (e.g., in dense smoke). Some vapors known to give false readings are aromatic vapors (perfumes, food flavorings, some aftershaves, peppermints, cough lozenges, and menthol cigarettes when vapors are exhaled directly into the nozzle), cleaning compounds (disinfectants, methyl salicylate, menthol), smokes and fumes (exhaust from some rocket motors, fumes from some munitions), and some wood preservative treatments (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls).[120]

Chemical warfare agent (CWA)

A chemical warfare agent is a chemical substance used in military operations to kill, seriously injure, or incapacitate through its physiological effects. Excluded are riot control agents, herbicides, smoke, and flame. Included are blood, nerve, blister, choking, and incapacitating agents.[121]

Choking agent
(lung-damaging agent)
A chemical warfare agent, which produces irritation to eyes and the upper respiratory tract and damage to the lungs, primarily causing pulmonary edema. They include phosgene, diphosgene, chlorine, and chloropicrin.[122]

A nerve agent known as GF Chemical name: O-Cyclohexyl-methylfluorophosphonate[123]

Detection paper

Detection paper works because certain dyes are soluble in chemical warfare agents. Normally, two dyes and one pH indicator are mixed with cellulose fibers in a paper without special coloring (unbleached). When the paper absorbs a drop of chemical warfare agent, it dissolves one of the pigments. Mustard agent dissolves a red dye and nerve agent a yellow dye. In addition, VX nerve agent causes the indicator to turn to blue—which, together with the yellow, will become green or green-black. Detection paper can thus be used to distinguish between three different types of chemical warfare agents. A disadvantage with the papers is that many other substances can also dissolve the pigments. Consequently, detection papers should not be located in places where drops of solvent, fat, oil, or fuel can fall on them. Drops of water cause no reaction.[124]

Explosive Ordnance

The detection, identification, on-site evaluation, rendering safe, recovery, and final disposal of unexploded explosive ordnance. It may also include removal of explosive ordnance that has become hazardous by damage or deterioration.[125]

False positive

A false positive occurs when a chemical warfare agent detector falsely indicates the presence of a chemical warfare agent.[126]

Fox Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance System

The Fox is a six-wheeled, light armored vehicle designed primarily for reconnaissance of liquid chemical warfare agent hazards. On-board chemical warfare agent detection capabilities include the MM-1 mobile mass spectrometer, which is the primary detection device, the M43A1 chemical agent detector, which is an integral component of the M8 alarm system, and the M256A1 chemical agent detector kit. The Fox is also equipped with two radiation detectors. The Fox does not provide any biological warfare agent detection capability, but it does protect the crew from biological hazards, and it allows the crew to mark areas of potential hazard and safely take samples for laboratories to analyze for biological hazards.[127] [link to Fox information paper]

G-series nerve agents

G-series nerve agents are lethal chemical warfare agents that work by inhibiting the proper functioning of the cholinesterase enzymes needed for the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the body. These agents affect the functioning of all bodily systems, including the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, and muscles. The G-series nerve agents include tabun (GA), sarin (GB), soman (GD), and cyclosarin (GF). The normal sequence of symptoms is a running nose, tightness of the chest, dimness of vision and pinpointing of the eye pupils, difficulty breathing, drooling and excessive sweating, nausea, vomiting, cramps, involuntary defecation and urination, twitching, jerking and staggering, headache, confusion, drowsiness, and coma. Cessation of breathing and death follow.[128]


A G-series nerve agent known as cyclosarin
Chemical name: O-Cyclohexyl-methylfluorophosphonate[129]

GulfLINK A World Wide Web site maintained by the Office of the Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses (

A blister agent known as lewisite
Chemical name: Dichloro-(2-chlorovinyl)arsine[130]


A blister agent known as L
Chemical name: Dichloro-(2-chlorovinyl)arsine[131]

M18 Chemical Agent
Detector Kit

The M18 and improved M18A2 kits are portable, expendable items capable of surface and vapor analyses. The M18A2 kit is designed primarily for detecting dangerous concentrations of vapors, aerosols, and liquid droplets of chemical agents. Distinctive color changes indicate the presence of a chemical warfare agent.[132]

M19 Sampling and Analyzing Kit The M19 kit is a portable, expendable item used to identify chemical agents, perform the preliminary processing of unidentifiable chemical or biological warfare agent samples, and delineate contaminated areas.[133]
M256 Chemical Warfare Agent Detector Kit

In the field, the M256-series chemical warfare agent detector kit is simply referred to as the M256 kit. The M256 kit is a portable, expendable item capable of detecting and identifying hazardous concentrations of blister, blood, and nerve agents. The M256 kit is used after a chemical warfare agent warning to test for and confirm the presence and type of chemical warfare agent, and to determine if it is safe to unmask. The M256A1 kit has replaced the M256 kit. The only difference between the two kits is that the M256A1 kit will detect lower levels of nerve agent. US forces used both the M256 kit and the M256A1 kit during the Gulf War.

Some smokes, high temperatures, standard US decontamination solution number two (DS2), and petroleum products may cause false readings. Results may be inaccurate when sampling is performed in smoke from burning debris.[134]

Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP)

Mission oriented protective posture (MOPP) is a flexible system used to direct the wearing of chemical protective garments and mask—a system that balances mission requirements with the chemical warfare agent threat. Wearing chemical protective garments and mask provides soldiers protection against most known chemical warfare agents, biological agents, and toxins.

At MOPP Level 0 soldiers carry their protective mask while their remaining MOPP gear must be readily available (e.g., within the work area, fighting position, living space, etc.) At MOPP Level 1, soldiers wear their overgarment and carry the rest of their MOPP gear. At MOPP Level 2, soldiers wear their overgarments and overboots while carrying the masks with hood and gloves. At MOPP Level 3, soldiers wear their overgarments, overboots, and masks with hood, but not the gloves. At MOPP Level 4, soldiers wear all their MOPP gear.[135] Commanders can raise or lower the amount of protection through five levels of MOPP. In addition, commanders, under certain situations, can exercise a mask-only option.[136]

MM-1 Mobile Mass Spectrometer

The MM-1 mobile mass spectrometer is the primary chemical warfare agent detector in the Fox reconnaissance vehicle. During Operation Desert Storm, the MM-1 monitored against a target list of approximately ten selected chemical warfare agents most likely to be present, based on intelligence reports of the suspected chemical warfare agent threat. To speed the initial search, the sampling probe operates at 180 C and the MM-1 looks for only four ion peaks of each detected chemical warfare agent and attempts to match the target list of chemicals against the pattern and ratio of these peaks. If an initial match is made with these four ion peaks at a pre-determined intensity and relationship, the MM-1 sounds an alarm. However, this first alarm does not confirm the presence of a chemical warfare agent, since there are many chemicals that have similar ion peaks and many combinations of chemicals that may yield ion patterns similar to those in the target list. Consequently, the MM-1 can falsely indicate the presence of dangerous chemical warfare agents. To more conclusively determine what chemical is present, the operator must lower the sampling probe temperature to 120 C, re-acquire a sample of the suspected substance, and run a spectrum analysis with the MM-1 against all the detection algorithms stored in the MM-1 chemical library. For more detailed analysis later, the complete ion spectrum of the suspected sample can be printed on a paper tape.[137]

Nerve Agents

Nerve agents are the most toxic of the chemical warfare agents. Nerve agents are absorbed into the body through breathing, by injection, or absorption through the skin. They affect the nervous and the respiratory systems and various body functions. They include the G-series and V-series chemical warfare agents.[138]

Phosgene A choking agent known as CG
Chemical name: Carbonyl choloride[139]

Chemicals that, when combined with other chemicals, form a chemical warfare agent compound.[140]


A nerve agent known as GB
Chemical name: Isoproyl methylphosphonofluoridate[141]

Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM)

Headquartered at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, SBCCOM has a broad research, development and acquisition mission to ensure the decisive edge and maximum protection for the United States. SBCCOM develops, acquires, and sustains soldier, soldier support, and nuclear, biological, and chemical defense technology, systems, and services. SBCCOM also provides for safe storage, treaty compliance, and destruction of chemical materiel.[142]

Tabun A nerve agent known as GA
Chemical name: Ethyl N, N-dimethylphosphoroamidocyanidate[143]
V-Series Agents V-series agents are persistent, highly toxic nerve agents developed in the mid-1950s and absorbed primarily through the skin. V-series agents are generally odorless liquids that do not evaporate rapidly. The standard V agent is VX.[144]

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