TAB A - Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary

This tab lists acronyms and abbreviations found in this report. Additionally, the glossary defines selected technical terms not found in common usage.

Acronyms and Abbreviations


Chemical and Biological Defense Command


Central Intelligence Agency


chemical warfare agent


Department of Defense


Forces Command


infantry division


nuclear, biological, and chemical


Nuclear Biological Chemical Reconnaissance System


Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses


US Army Soldier and Biological Chemical 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 (HD, HN, HQ, HT, and Q), arsenicals like lewisite (L), and mustard and lewisite mixtures (HL). Blister agents are also called vesicants or vesicant agents.[116,117]

Chemical and Biological Defense Command (CBDCOM)

CBDCOM is a US Army command with a mission to provide research, development, and acquisition for nuclear, biological, chemical (NBC), and obscurant (smoke generating) equipment for the US Forces; to act as the Army NBC defense commodity command; to provide management of joint service NBC defense material; to provide US chemical stockpile management and safe storage; to provide installation management; to prepare for and respond to chemical biological emergency events/accidents; provide weapons of mass destruction (chemical or biological) domestic preparedness support; to conduct emergency remediation/restoration actions at chemical sites; to provide successful planning, management, and execution of treaty responsibilities; and to provide demilitarization support. The Chemical and Biological Defense Command merged with the Soldier Support Command to form the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command, however their nuclear, biological and chemical mission remains the same.[118]

Chemical Contamination

The presence of a chemical warfare agent on a person, object, or area. The contamination density of an agent is usually expressed in either milligrams or grams per square meter or in pounds per hectare. A hectare is 10,000 square meters.[119]

Chemical warfare agent (CWA)

A chemical warfare agent is a chemical substance excluding riot control agents, herbicides, smoke, and flame, used in military operations to kill, seriously injure, or incapacitate though its physiological effects. Included are blood, nerve, blister, choking, and incapacitating agents.[120]

Fox Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) Reconnaissance System

The Fox vehicle 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.[121]

GA A G-series nerve agent known as tabun
Chemical name:
Ethyl N,N-dimethylphosphoroamidocyanidate[122]

A G-series nerve agent known as sarin
Chemical name:
Isopropyl methyl phosphonofluoridate[123]


A G-series nerve agent known as Soman
Chemical name:
Pinacolyl methyl phosphonofluoridate[124]


A G-series nerve agent known as cyclosarin
Chemical Name:

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.[126]

HD A blister agent known as distilled mustard
Chemical name:
Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide[127]
HL A blister agent known as mustard-lewisite
Chemical names:
HD: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
L: Dichloro-(2-chlorovinyl)arsine[128]
HN (-1, -2, & -3) A blister agent known as nitrogen mustard
Chemical names:
HN-1: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) ethylamine
HN-2: Bis-(2-chloroethyl)methylamine
HN-3: Tris-(2-chloroethyl) amine[129]

A blister agent mixture of sulfur-mustard and sesqui-mustard
Chemical names:
HD: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
Q: 1,2-Bis (2-chloroethylthio) ethane[130]

H-series blister agents

A series of persistent blister agents that includes levinstein (sulfur) mustards (H), distilled mustard (HD), nitrogen mustards (HN), a mustard-lewisite mixture (HL), a mustard T mixture (HT), a sulfur-mustard/sesqui-mustard mixture (HQ), and sesqui-mustard (Q)[131,132]

HT A blister agent known as mustard-t mixture
Chemical name:
HD: Bis-(2-chloroethyl) sulfide
T: Bis [2(2-chloroethylthio) ethyl] ether[133]

An ion is an atom or group of atoms that carries a positive or negative electrical charge because of having lost or gained one or more electrons.[134]

Lewisite (L)

A blister agent known as lewisite
Chemical Name: Dichloro-(2-chlorovinyl)arsine[135]

M256 chemical warfare agent detector kit

In the field, the M256-series chemical warfare agent detector kit is referred to simply 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 were used 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.[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 up to 22 pre-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, reacquire 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]


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

In MOPP Level 0 individuals carry their protective mask while their remaining MOPP gear must be readily available (e.g., within the work area, fighting position, living space, etc.) In MOPP Level 1, individuals wear their overgarment and carry the rest of their MOPP gear. For MOPP Level 2, individuals wear their overgarment and overboots while carrying the mask with hood and gloves. At MOPP Level 3, individuals wear their overgarment, overboots, and mask with hood, but not the gloves, and at MOPP Level 4, individuals wear all their MOPP gear.[138] During the Gulf War, commanders could raise or lower the amount of protection through five levels of MOPP. In addition, commanders, under certain situations, could exercise a mask-only option.[139]

Nerve agents

Nerve agents are the most toxic of the chemical warfare agents. Nerve agents are absorbed into the body through breathing 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.[140]

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.[141]

Tabun A nerve agent known as GA
Chemical name:
Ethyl N, N-dimethylphosphoroamidocyanidate[142]

A substance that causes burning or itching of the skin such as that caused by nettle stings.[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 which do not evaporate rapidly. The standard V agent is VX. [144]
VX V-series nerve agent.
Chemical name:
O-ethyl-S-(2-diisopropylaminoethyl)methyl phosphonothiolate[145]



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