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Project SHAD

Project SHAD stands for Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense, a series of Cold War-era tests by the U.S. military of biological weapons and chemical weapons. Exposures of uninformed and unwilling humans during the testing to the test substances, particularly the exposure to U.S. military veterans then in service, has added controversy to recent revelations of the project.[1]

Project SHAD was part of a larger effort by the Department of Defense called Project 112. The Project was conducted between the years 1962 and 1973 and was initiated to retain the United States' status as a superpower during the Cold War.[1]

The Project began under the Presidential term of John F. Kennedy and it is largely believed that the President, or subsequent Presidents, did not know of Project 112 or SHAD. Robert McNamara did however know and approved of these tests. There is also some evidence that demonstrates local governments were involved with these tests, though it is unclear how exactly they aided with Project SHAD.[1]

The official statement as to why Project SHAD existed "was to identify U.S. war ships vulnerabilities to attacks with biological or chemical warfare agents and to develop procedures to respond to such attacks while maintaining a warfighting capability".[1] 134 tests were planned initially. Only forty-six tests were actually completed. In these tests, chemical and biological agents were introduced to military personnel, who were at the time ignorant that they were involved in such an experiment. Agents include, but are not limited to: VX (nerve agent), Tabun, Sarin, Soman, Bacillus globigii, zinc cadmium sulfide, and benzilate (Q fever, Coxiella burnetti, tularemia). VX nerve gas is known to be the most lethal of synthesized agents.[1]

Twenty-eight fact sheets have been released, focussing on the Deseret Test Center in Fort Douglas, Utah. The Deseret Test Center was built entirely for Project SHAD and was subsequently shut down after the completion of the Project.[1]

The Department of Defense has come under such close scrutiny due to the fact, as mentioned before, those that were involved with Project 112 and SHAD were unaware of any tests being done. No effort was made to ensure the consent of the servicepeople. Indeed, until 1998, the Department of Defense stated officially that Project SHAD did not exist, when in fact the US Military knew of its inception since 1992.[1]

Veterans Affairs has been integral to the uncovering of these Projects and has commenced a three year long test costing approximately $3 million.[2] It has compared known SHAD-affected veterans to veterans of similar ages who were not involved in any way with SHAD or 112.[1] Results are being tabulated and will be released at an unknown date.

See also


  1. United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services. Subcommittee on Personnel, "The Department of Defense's inquiry into Project 112/Shipboard Hazard and Defense (SHAD) tests: hearing before the Subcommittee on Personnel of the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate, One Hundred Seventh Congress, second session, October 10, 2002," United States Congress, S. hrg. 107–810 (2003), 1–39.
  2. United States. Congress. House. Report, “Health care for veterans of Project 112/Project SHAD Act of 2003: report (to accompany H.R. 2433),” United States Congress, Report/108th Congress, 1st session, House of Representatives, 108–213, 1–19.
  3. United States. Congress. House. Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Subcommittee on Health, “Military operations aspects of SHAD and Project 112: hearing before the Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, second session, October 9, 2002”, 107th Congress, 2nd session, 107–43, 1–19.

Concerned Veterans and their websites

  • Personal website containing pictures of personnel working with SHAD
  • Project SHAD Veteran's online archive of extensive links on SHAD/112
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Project_SHAD". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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