Such pragmatic assumptions reflect the analyst’s need to complete the calculations and seem also to reflect a tendency to idealize human behavior, particularly military behavior. Such assumptions tend to deny that chaos, confusion, and a perceived need among leaders to ignore rules to complete the task at hand may drive what happens in the field, particularly when a nuclear weapon has just been detonated. The commander of a decontamination crew may have been focused on getting a ship decontaminated and may have considered the rad-safe guidelines to be unnecessarily restrictive and thus not to be taken literally. The rad-safe limit line was not “drawn in the sand,” and forward units were sometimes unsure about their exact location relative to that line and to ground zero. Communication of radiation intensity from rad-safe monitoring personnel to commanding officers in the field was sometimes unreliable.
Generic estimates of shielding and time spent indoors versus outdoors used to estimate external dose are questionable for some participants. For example, some participants on ships claimed that because of the heat they slept on deck, where they would not have been shielded at all (see case #28). The assumed 50% shielding factor for participants on Pacific islands may be too high for those who were billeted in tents or thin metal structures that may have had many open windows at night (see Figures V.A.1 and V.A.2). Thus, as discussed later in this chapter, generic dose estimates on ships and islands may not be reasonable estimates of the doses to some unit members.