sources. The procedures of the ACE Directive apply to what SHAPE defines as low-level4 radiation, that is:

The doses received from these exposures are higher than those routinely received by health physics [radiation] workers and the general public and are in the range from background radiation to 70 cGy.

. . . These hazards [exclusive of nuclear weapon detonation] may occur from inadequate nuclear waste disposal, deterioration of nuclear power facilities and damage to institutions that routinely use radioactive material/sources and terrorism. (NATO, 1996, §1-1.a.)

The ACE Directive (see appendix) provides general policy for the conduct of operations in the presence of radiation. It seeks to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure whenever possible and to minimize doses when exposure is unavoidable. In addition, the policy prescribes planning, coordination, security, dosimetry, recordkeeping, training, equipment, and expertise to deal with radiological hazards. Procedures in the Directive outline actions to be taken by responsible commanders in the event of a situation involving radiation exposure. These include methods for assessment of radiation hazard, dissemination of hazard information, and personnel protection. Finally, the Directive includes a chart that defines radiation exposure status (RES) categories by which it defines actions to be taken when personnel receive (or are at risk of receiving) specified levels of radiation dose. This chart subdivides dose levels defined in existing guidance (HQDA, 1994; NATO, 1986) as being of negligible risk to moderate risk.

Radiation is not a new hazard for service personnel. Over 200,000 military personnel participated in U.S. nuclear weapons testing between 1945 and 1962. Five laws have been signed by four presidents in attempts to provide just consideration of claims for compensation for health problems and disabilities these Atomic Veterans attribute to radiation exposure.

The Defense Special Weapons Agency was chartered within the Department of Defense to develop a personnel register and estimate doses for the Atomic Veterans. Thus far, it has been funded in excess of $120 million to execute its continuing mission. Inadequate records for estimating radiation doses received by individuals is one of the most contentious issues surrounding the resolution of these veterans' claims. Accurate primary dosimetry records are unavailable for a great many of the Atomic Veterans. The history of the veterans involved in the above-ground nuclear test program demonstrates clearly the need for detailed and advanced planning for radiation protection, assessment of radiation dose, and development of exposure standards before soldiers are put at risk of exposure. The ACE Directive is a significant step in that direction.


 See Chapter 6, Recommendation 4, on terminology in the ACE Directive.

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