Deployment of forces in hostile or unfamiliar environments is inherently risky. The changing missions and increasing use of U.S. forces around the globe in operations other than battle call for greater attention to threats of non-battle-related health problems--including infections, pathogen- and vector-borne diseases, exposure to toxicants, and psychological and physical stress--all of which must be avoided or treated differently from battle casualties. The likelihood of exposure to chemical and biological weapons adds to the array of tactical threats against which protection is required. The health consequences of physical and psychological stress, by themselves or through interaction with other threats, are also increasingly recognized. In addition, the military's responsibility in examining potential health and safety risks to its troops is increasing, and the spectrum of health concerns is broadening, from acute illness and injury due to pathogens and accidents to possible influences of low-level chemical exposures, which can manifest themselves in reproductive health and chronic illnesses years later, perhaps even after cessation of military service.
Strategies to Protect the Health of Deployed U.S. Forces develops an analytical framework for assessing risks, which would encompass the risks of adversed health effects from battle injuries, including those from chemical- and biological-warfare agents, and non-battle-related health problems. The presumed spectrum of deployment ranged from peacekeeping to full-scale conflict.