Recommendation 1: When making decisions, commanders should consider the long-term health effects that any action may have on their troops.

  • This should become standard operating policy.
  • In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense should attempt to quantify long-term detriments from a number of causes, including radiation, and develop training materials and scenarios that address these effects.
  • The long-term effects to be considered when making operational decisions should include not only those from radiation but also those from conventional injuries, chemical and biological agents, and psychological stress.

Philosophy of Radiation Protection

A philosophy for dealing with any potential harm should be clearly stated, widely disseminated, ethically based, practical, and comprehensive. This will allow commanders to make informed decisions and be flexible rather than having to deal with prescribed limits when they may be inappropriate or impractical. This philosophy should be focused on minimizing the risk of harm while allowing the performance of the required military objective. Radiation exposure is clearly justified in some situations because the risk of radiation-induced harm is less than the risks from other hazards associated with the action. A policy that completely avoids radiation exposure is inappropriate and may expose troops, and perhaps others, to greater risks of harm from other, nonradiation, causes.

Recommendation 2: The U.S. Department of Defense should develop and clearly express an underlying philosophy for radiation protection.

  • A.  

    The committee suggests application and adaptation of the system recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

  • This system includes practices as well as interventions.
  • These are required to be initially justified (more benefit than risk) and then optimized (dose minimized) in the context of the situation.
  • B.  

    The committee recommends that in peacetime or nonemergent situations, soldiers should be accorded the same level of protection accorded civilians.

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