NBC Weapons: January 11, 2003


The U.S. Department of Defense has one mobile bioweapons laboratory (the 520th Theater Army Medical Laboratory, or TAML), and it's being shipped to the Persian Gulf. The TAML is meant to confirm alerts given by more numerous Biological Integrated Detection System (BIDS) equipment. The problem with current BIDS is that they tend to give a lot of false alarms. Given Iraq's known efforts to develop biological weapons, a BIDS false alarm anywhere near Iraq will reduce troop effectiveness by some 30 percent as protective measures are taken. This involves gas masks, decontamination and checking vaccination status and looking for people with symptoms of infection. With a TAML nearby, the BIDS alert can be confirmed, or, as is more often the case, revealed as false. The TAML can also quickly identify new, and unknown, bioweapon agents. 


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