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Rand: Developing Navy Capability to Recover Forces in Hazard Environments

A Rand report shows: “Recovering amphibious forces can be complicated if ashore forces are attacked with chemical, biological, or radiological weapons. These forces may cross-contaminate others with whom they come in contact. And if contaminants spread to equipment and vehicles, creating persistent hazards, those items may pose an additional cross-contamination risk. Although the preference is to decontaminate ashore forces in the operating environment or in a clean area elsewhere on land, this is not always feasible. Using a scenario involving a Marine Expeditionary Unit of 3,000 Marines — 300 total contaminated service members, including 24 contaminated litter casualties and 75 contaminated ambulatory casualties — the researchers assess current policies and capabilities pertaining to the recovery and decontamination of ashore forces aboard ships and identify policy options the Navy could pursue to better perform this mission. They develop a set of policies to increase the Navy’s capability to recover and transport contaminated land forces to amphibious assault groups and propose doctrine to support operational decisions.”

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