Project SHAD involving Navy ships was a portion of Project 112


News & Links

America's Veterans


Subject: Lawmaker Pursuing Chemical Test Data - Project 112 - ...

1. Chemical and Biological Defense: DOD Needs to Continue to Collect and Provide Information on Tests and on Potentially Exposed Personnel. GAO-04-410, May 14.

As of March 2004, VA had received 316 claims for benefits related to Project 112 tests. Of the 316 claims, 88 are pending, 168 have been denied, 50 have been granted for a condition not connected to Project 112, and 10 were granted for a condition connected to Project 112.

VA does not anticipate significant increases in approved claims as a result of notifying service members who were potentially exposed during Project 112 testing. Notably, the requirement of eligibility has traditionally been that the illness or injury was service connected. Consequently, only 10 notified service members had met this service-connected requirement for Project 112-related exposures as of January 2004. However, the passage of Public Law 108-170 on December 6, 2003, allows service members who participated in Project 112 tests to be eligible for hospital care, medical services and nursing home care from the VA for any illness until December 31, 2005-without having to establish that their illness was connected to Project 112 testing.

also see Appendix II: Project 112 Tests Reported as Conducted at the GAO Report site above

Lawmaker Pursuing Chemical Test Data - Project 112 - A.K.A. Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD),0,1554418.story

Lawmaker Pursuing Chemical Test Data May 19, 2004
By THOMAS D. WILLIAMS, Courant Staff Writer

A California congressman is calling for an investigation into the Pentagon's failure to investigate thoroughly the aftereffects of ocean- and land-based chemical and biological warfare tests conducted on military personnel in the 1960s and 1970s.

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., has for several years been pressuring the Department of Defense to disclose all that it knows about chemical and biological tests on military personnel involved then. He has renewed his efforts following release Friday of a General Accounting Office report critical of the department.

"The report shows that the defense department continues to keep life or death information from veterans who may have been the subject of these tests," Thompson said in a statement released Tuesday. "These veterans have the right to know what agents they were exposed to." There has been no disclosure about how many service members and civilians might have become sick from the tests.

Maj. Sandra Burr, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said Tuesday the department was not prepared to comment on Thompson's legislative proposal.

The congressman said he would introduce legislation in early June that would establish a panel of independent investigators, composed, in part, of military veterans and those with medical and investigative experience, "to ensure information regarding all chemical and biological tests are brought to light."

No current defense department employees will be allowed on the panel, said Matt Gerien, a spokesman for the congressman.

The GAO report cites the defense department's inability to find records that would identify those service members involved in 21 land-based tests. And, although the defense department estimates some 350 U.S. and foreign civilians may have been exposed, it did not seek to identify the hazardous substances they may have been exposed to.

The report notes the department limited its investigation of specific exposures to identifying former military personnel that could be eligible for medical services from the Department of Veterans Affairs, said the GAO. Finally, the GAO said, the Pentagon did not pursue all possible sources of information during its investigation.

Between 1962 and 1974, the defense department conducted a classified chemical and biological warfare test program, named Project 112, which exposed service members and civilians to chemical or biological agents. The Pentagon has said the tests included spraying of chemical and biological simulants and release of the deadly sarin and VX gases.

The ocean-going tests, known as Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense, were "to identify U.S. warships' vulnerabilities to attacks with chemical or biological warfare agents," said Pentagon officials. The land-based tests, said officials, were aimed at learning "more about how chemical or biological agents behave under a variety of climatic, environmental and use conditions."

The Deseret Test Center, based at Fort Douglas, Utah, conducted the tests.

In October 2001, after seven years of inquiries from veterans, Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Pentagon finally confirmed that thousands of sailors were present during a decade-long series of classified tests to determine the vulnerability of U.S. warships to attack by chemical and biological warfare. With more urging from veterans and their advocates, still other ocean- and land-based tests around the world were identified.