Despite 26 Pentagon studies on the impact of blast waves on the health of military personnel, it has not yet been revealed what will happen to health years later. Traumatic brain injury can occur years after service.
US lawmakers from both parties have written a letter to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demanding an investigation into what is being done to protect military members’ brains from explosions when using weapons. The New York Times reports this.
A group of senators Elizabeth Warren (Democratic Party), Joni Ernst (Republican Party), Thom Tillis (Republican Party) wrote a letter to US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. It comes as recent DoD research and earlier media reports show that explosions from artillery, rocket launchers or grenade launchers can cause deep and long-lasting brain damage. However, military personnel are often not aware of health risks.
“Our military members have suffered the health consequences of excessive blast exposure for too long, and they still see no meaningful action to limit and monitor these risks,” Warren wrote in a statement.
Brain injuries from repeated exposure to explosives can lead to depression, cognitive problems, panic attacks and violent outbursts, among other symptoms. They may occur several months or years later. Military personnel may experience trauma as PTSD or other stress.
Doctors often treated soldiers for common mental health problems or punished them for displaying aggression. And the army could fire a large amount of artillery ammunition or missiles and get a brain injury that manifested itself after that.
The senators’ letter outlined concerns about the long-term effects of the explosions on the brain. He orders the Defense Department to report by the end of February on efforts to address the problem. The Department of Defense has conducted 26 studies in recent years on the effects of blast waves and their health consequences. In 2022, the department created a major initiative called the Fighter Brain Health Initiative to gather information about the problem and recommend solutions.
The military will begin administering cognitive tests to all new troops this year and will retest them every five years to monitor for signs of mental decline. Special Operations Forces plans to test its troops more frequently, every three years.
However, the problem now is that the military is still using weapons that are twice the recommended safety limit. Right now, the Pentagon’s instructions are just recommendations. Research into the effects of blast injury on military personnel is still ongoing. It is still not clear which types of weapons cause traumatic brain injuries. The DoD recommendations are not yet based on research and evidence.
Let us remind you that on January 18, analysts detected RPG-75M anti-tank grenade launchers from the Czech Republic in Ukraine.
On November 20, Belarus showed Sapphire grenade launchers, which can be combined into a single system of 4 units.