Chemical, biological, and mid-spectrum agents are often referred to as weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs, and the official military definition of WMD includes these three kinds of agents, Chemical agents, biological agents, toxins, and point sources of radiation may cause mass casualties while leaving structures intact; a better term for these kinds of weapons is mass-casualty weapons, or MCWs.
Unconventional weapons is a term used to refer to chemical agents, biological agents, toxins, nuclear and thermonuclear bombs, radiological dispersal devices (or RDDs, also called “dirty bombs”), and point sources of radiation used as weapons.
The list of chemical warfare agents officially designated as such by the US military includes those chemicals that are intended to cause death or serious injury and also those intended to cause incapacitation, that is, temporary inability to perform one’s military duties. The former are called toxic agents and include (1) lung-damaging agents (also called pulmonary or choking agents); (2) “blood” agents (specifically, cyanide compounds); (3) vesicants (blistering agents); and (4) nerve agents. Those designed to produce only temporary incapacitation are referred to as incapacitating agents.
This handbook will address each of these groupings of “official” chemical warfare agents as well as riot-control agents, which are technically not chemical warfare agents according to the US military definition, but are widely used in law enforcement for mass incapacitation.
Chemical agents may have chemical names as well as common names. Chemical agents developed for military use may also have a NATO code. The NATO code is a one- to three-letter designation assigned after World War II to provide standard recognizable shorthand identification. For example, the chemical compound O-isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate has the common name sarin and the NATO code GB. This handbook will use NATO codes as well as common names for chemical agents
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Lung-Damaging Agents
4. Nerve Agents
5. Incapacitating Agents
6. Riot-Control Agents
8. Casualty Management
9. Chemical Defense Equipment
ABOUT THE AUTHOR/AGENCY
The US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense carries on the US military’s long history of research and training in defense against chemical weapons and training for the care of chemical casualties
Keywords: CBRNE; chemical casualties; medical response; law enforcement; military response
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