Blast Injury Research Coordinating Office

Blast Injury Research Program Web Site

Mission

tank explosion

The Blast Injury Research program is addressing critical medical research gaps for blast-related injuries and will fully address traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) research. The program is leveraging new extramural blast research partnerships with DoD medical research laboratories to achieve a cutting-edge approach to solving blast injury problems. Medical research products include medical standards for enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE). The program is addressing the new concept of "reset" for Warfighters in redeployment, ensuring return-to-duty readiness (or healthy return to civilian life for citizen Soldiers). One of the program's major areas of focus is the improvement of battlefield medical treatment capabilities to mitigate neurotrauma and hemorrhage. Finally, the program is modernizing military medical research by bringing technology advances and new research concepts into DoD programs.

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Background and Environment

The Department of Defense (DoD) issued DoD Directive (DoDD) 6025.21E "Medical Research for Prevention, Mitigation, and Treatment of Blast Injuries" on July 5, 2006 in compliance with Section 256 of Public Law 109-163. This DoDD formally established the DoD Blast Injury Research Program which coordinates and manages the medical research efforts and programs of the Department of Defense (DoD) relating to the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of blast injuries. Through a series of delegations of authority, the Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command (USAMEDCOM) was assigned the authority and responsibility for the DoD Blast Injury Research Program. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Command (USAMEDCOM), was selected to carry out the Program's day-to-day coordination and management activities because of its unique position and expertise as the Army's total life cycle medical research, development, acquisition, procurement, and logistical support command. The USAMRMC has an established track record of excellence in managing medical research programs, with effective research management processes that ensure that all medical research programs under its purview are of the highest scientific quality and in full compliance with all laws and regulations governing the ethical use of human and animal research subjects.

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Goals and Objectives

The Blast Injury Research Program is focused on filling gaps in the blast injury knowledge base. Key research topics by program area include:

  • Injury Prevention:
    • Determining if a nonimpact, blast-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) exists and understanding the injury mechanisms
    • Developing drugs to prevent and treat blast-related hearing loss; analyzing combat injuries and PPE performance
    • Developing multi-effect blast injury models to improve protective equipment
    • Developing strategies that enhance psychological resilience and prevent PTSD and other psychological health problems.
  • Acute Treatment:
    • Developing diagnostics and neuroprotectant drugs for TBI
    • Developing hemorrhage control and blood products
    • Developing treatments for psychological trauma
    • Developing medical procedures for damage-control orthopedics
    • Devising innovative strategies for improved pain management
  • Reset:
    • Advancing tissue engineering and prosthetics
    • Improving recovery of function
    • Developing return-to-duty standards

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Key Themes and Messages

The Blast Injury Research Program takes full advantage of the body of knowledge and expertise that resides both within and outside of the DoD to solve blast injury problems.

The program established a research taxonomy that includes three main categories: prevention, acute treatment, and reset. (The term "reset" is used to describe a concept that extends beyond rehabilitation to include all activities necessary to return injured Warfighters to duty or to productive civilian life.)

The program addresses critical medical research gaps for blast-related injuries and fully addresses TBI and PTSD research.

The program uses established processes, under the authority of the DoD directive, to critically assess blast injury prediction models and tools and to recommend the best standards and assessment tools to the ASD(HA) as DoD-approved medical standards.

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Questions and Answers

Q1. Why is USAMRMC coordinating the DoD blast injury research program?

A1. Through a series of delegations of authority, the Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command (USAMEDCOM) was assigned the authority and responsibility for the DoD Blast Injury Research Program. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Command (USAMEDCOM), was selected to carry out the Program's day-to-day coordination and management activities because of its unique position and expertise as the Army's total life cycle medical research, development, acquisition, procurement, and logistical support command. The USAMRMC has an established track record of excellence in managing medical research programs, with effective research management processes that ensure that all medical research programs under its purview are of the highest scientific quality and in full compliance with all laws and regulations governing the ethical use of human and animal research subjects. The USAMRMC is well suited to manage the DoD Blast Injury Research Program on behalf of the Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command (USAMEDCOM), and the Executive Agent.

Q2. When did the DoD establish the blast injury research program?

A2. The Department of Defense (DoD) issued DoD Directive (DoDD) 6025.21E "Medical Research for Prevention, Mitigation, and Treatment of Blast Injuries" on July 5, 2006 in compliance with Section 256 of Public Law 109-163. This DoDD formally established the DoD Blast Injury Research Program.

Q3. Who is the DoD Blast Injury Research Program Executive Agent?

A3. The Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) designated the SECARMY as the DoD EA for the Blast Injury Research Program. The SECARMY delegated authority and assigned responsibility to execute EA responsibilities to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) [ASA(ALT)], and the ASA(ALT) delegated authority and assigned program responsibility to Commander, USAMEDCOM. The Commander USAMEDCOM established the Blast Injury Research Program Coordination Office at the USAMRMC in a charter dated, June 5, 2007.

Q4. What are common examples of "blast injury"?

A4. Blast injuries encompass a spectrum of injury types. For example, blast overpressure can cause injuries to internal organs such as the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. These are known as primary blast injuries. The strong winds behind a blast can propel fragments that can cause penetrating and blunt impact injuries. These are known as secondary injuries. The strong winds behind the blast front can also accelerate the body and cause blunt impact injuries similar to those seen in car crashes and falls. These are known as tertiary injuries. Blast exposure can also cause a host of other types of injuries such as burns and toxic gas inhalation injuries.

Q5. What has the DoD blast injury research program accomplished since its inception?

A5. Three examples of major accomplishments include the establishment of the Joint Trauma Analysis and Prevention of Injury in Combat (JTAPIC) Program, the performance of baseline neuropsychological assessments, and the fielding of the Battlemind training program.

Q6. Does the DoD blast injury research program report its accomplishments to Congress?

A6. Section 256 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (PL 109-163, dated January 6, 2006) required the Secretary of Defense to submit annual reports to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees beginning with fiscal year 2006 and annually thereafter through 2008." The first report was submitted in January 2007. The second was submitted in February 2008 and focused on major accomplishments that made a difference in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of blast injuries. The final report is scheduled for submission in October 2008 and will again focus on major accomplishments.

Q7. How much funding is available for the DoD Blast Injury Research Program?

A7. Congress provided $5.6M of Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) funding in FY06 for the DoD Blast Injury Research Program. There were no DHP, RDT&E funds provided in FY07; however, Congress provided $300M for peer-reviewed medical research on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the FY07 War Supplemental appropriation. Several major components of the DoD Blast Injury Research Program have been funded with Congressional Special Interest (CSI), Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), and Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) funds. These components include the Joint Trauma Analysis and Prevention of Injury in Combat (JTAPIC) program, the Military Amputee Research Program (MARP), and the Defense and Veteran's Brain Injury Research Center (DVBIC). The DoD Blast Injury Research Program Coordination Office is currently in the process of developing a POM (Program Objective Memorandum, the Army's input into the Department of Defense's (DOD) Future Years Defense Plan) position to obtain programmed funding in the FY10-15 POM.

Q8. Where can I find additional information about the DoD Blast Injury Research Program?

A8. For more information, visit the Blast Injury Research Program Web Site

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Last Modified Date: 12-Jan-2010