DoD Releases First Close-out Report on Potential Environmental Exposures

WASHINGTON, February 24, 2000 (GulfLINK) - The Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses is releasing a series of case narrative close-out reports on investigations involving potential exposures of U.S. military and civilian personnel to chemical or biological warfare agents during the Gulf War. The Presidential Special Oversight Board reviewed the current findings and recommended terminating any further investigation.

A close-out report is a summary account of an investigation. It will be issued when there is a determination that continued investigation into an incident is not likely to lead to meaningful results in terms of explaining the causes of adverse health effects reported by some Gulf War veterans.

"A close-out report is a necessary document," said Bernard Rostker, the special assistant. "It tells people that we did look at an incident, what we looked at, and how we looked at it. It also provides the reasons behind the decision to end the investigation."

Investigations may originate in response to any of several factors including congressional inquiries into alleged exposure incidents, official records of potential exposures, and self-reports by Gulf War veterans, Rostker said.

The decision to end the investigations was made by the Presidential Special Oversight Board that oversees the activities of the special assistant's office. Rostker noted issuing a close-out report on an investigation does not necessarily mean it can't be reopened if new information is brought to the attention of the special assistant. If anyone believes they have such new information, they are encouraged to call (800) 497-6261, he said.