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Closing the Loop: The Folly of Burn Pits and Achieving Sustainable Military Contingency Operations Through Life- Cycle Cost Analysis

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  • Closing the Loop: The Folly of Burn Pits and Achieving Sustainable Military Contingency Operations Through Life- Cycle Cost Analysis

    https://www.americanbar.org/groups/p...y-contingency/
    July 01, 2019 Public Contract Law Journal

    Closing the Loop: The Folly of Burn Pits and Achieving Sustainable Military Contingency Operations Through Life- Cycle Cost Analysis

    by Christopher DelGiorno

    Major Christopher T. DelGiorno serves in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Major DelGiorno earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in May 2003. Major DelGiorno is also a 2006 graduate of University of Pennsylvania Law School. This paper was submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Master of Laws in Government Procurement and Environmental Law at The George Washington University Law School. The thesis was directed by LeRoy C. Paddock, Associate Dean for Environmental Studies and Professorial Lecturer in Law.

    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

    I. Introduction

    Major Beau Biden’s Army National Guard unit was activated for deployment to Iraq in October 2008.1 Known in Delaware as Attorney General Biden, the son of the then vice president-elect easily passed his Army Physical Fitness Test and was found to be in good health before deploying in December 2008.2 Major Biden returned home in September 2009, but only eight months later, the forty-one-year old suffered a stroke.3 He was released from the hospital but soon began feeling fatigued, weak, and occasionally disoriented.4 His health continued to deteriorate until, in August 2013, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.5 He had a lesion removed from his brain, and radiation and chemotherapy treatment temporarily brought his cancer into remission; two years later it returned, and Beau Biden died on May 30, 2015, at the age of forty-six.6
    Major Biden spent his deployment at Camp Victory and Joint Base Balad, both of which operated multiple open-air burn pits to dispose of waste with no environmental safeguards.7 Other deployed soldiers stated that jet fuel was used to ignite the burn pits, and waste burned by the service contractor “included animal carcasses, asbestos insulation, biohazard materials, cleaning supplies combustion by-products, human waste, a variety of chemicals” and seemingly anything else that a base might produce and need to dispose of.8 Although there is no clear causal link between exposure to the burn pits and Major Biden’s cancer, medical experts believe it is possible; on January 10, 2018, former Vice President Joseph Biden said in an interview that he believes exposure to the burn pits may “play a significant role” in causing veterans’ cancer.9...
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