Rostker briefs Rudman on OSAGWI work on
Gulf War Illnesses

Washington, May 27, 1997 (GulfLINK) - Bernard Rostker, the special assistant for Gulf War illnesses, recently briefed former Senator Warren Rudman on the mission, organizational structure, and major ongoing activities of his office, which now includes about 150 staff. LTC Dee Dodson Morris also described the mission and procedures of the Investigation and Analysis Directorate, including an overview of completed and ongoing investigations.

On May 1, 1997, Secretary of Defense William Cohen asked Rudman, a retired Republican senator from New Hampshire, to review the work that DoD is doing on Gulf War illnesses. Cohen and Rudman met a few days later to discuss Rudman's role. Specifically, Cohen has asked Rudman to provide an independent evaluation of the thoroughness of DoD efforts, to pay attention to the cooperation and integration between DoD and the intelligence community, and to suggest ways to improve the provision, handling and use of intelligence information during battle.

At the OSAGWI briefing, Rudman asked about the capabilities of the detection methods for chemical agents which were used during the Gulf War. In response, Rostker and Morris summarized the strengths and limitations of the M256 kits and the Fox vehicles. They also outlined the procedures which OSAGWI staff are using to investigate each reported incident of a positive M256 detection or positive Fox vehicle detection.

Senator Rudman inquired about the ongoing procedures which DoD is using to reconstruct the location of each military unit during the war. He stated that he planned to look into how record keeping could be improved for future deployments, including the resumption of manually written logs. He stated: "Written records were used extensively in past wars, but these methods were often replaced by computerized records during the Gulf War. Perhaps in some situations, the older manual methods may have provided a more complete and accurate record."

Rudman was particularly interested in the procedures involved with in the declassification of documents related to Gulf War illnesses, including how the documents are identified, retrieved, and published on GulfLINK. He stated that he planned to explore the declassification procedures with the CIA and DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). He planned to meet with CIA investigators within the next week.

Senator Rudman is a decorated combat veteran of the Korean War and he previously served on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He is best known for his co-authorship of the Graham-Rudman-Hollings Act, which is designed to reduce deficit spending by the federal government. He currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.