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The Armed Forces Pest Management Board: force multiplier through policy, guidance, research, and information.


The Armed Forces Pest Management Board (AFPMB), located at the Fort Detrick-Silver Spring (Maryland) Forest Glen Annex, is the Department of Defense's (DoD) lead agency in the prevention and control of arthropod-borne diseases, arthropod pests, and invasive species. Whether the issue is contingency operations, invasive species, or pest management research, the AFPMB is prepared to meet challenges head-on through the establishment of pest management policies, the encouragement and financial support of original research, and the exchange of up-to-the-minute scientific and technical information. No similar entity exists anywhere within DoD.


The AFPMB, originally chartered as the Armed Forces Pest Control Board, was established by DoD Directive 5154.12 * in 1956. Members have met on a regular basis since 1957. The Board currently meets twice a year at its Forest Glen location, and once a year at a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) laboratory where research of interest to DoD is reviewed with USDA investigators. The Board was redesignated as the Armed Forces Pest Management Board in 1979, and the AFPMB secretariat became a directorate of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Environment) after DoD Directive 6050.10* was implemented in 1985. Reestablished by DoD Directive 4715.1E 1 in 2005, the AFPMB operates under DoD Instruction 4150.07 2 and is now a directorate in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment (DUSD (I&E)).


The mission of the AFPMB is to recommend, coordinate, and develop policy, guidance, and the exchange of information on all matters and activities related to pest management and arthropod-borne disease control throughout DoD. The AFPMB ensures that environmentally sound and effective programs are implemented to support operating forces worldwide in the prevention of arthropod-borne diseases, and to prevent losses from pest attack on subsistence, supplies, and facilities. The AFPMB functions as DoD's scientific/research advisory body and coordination/liaison activity for pest management. In support of its mission, the AFPMB:

* Develops and recommends policy to the DUSD (I&E).

* Coordinates DoD pest management activities.

* Develops, issues, and maintains manuals and other guidance necessary to implement the technical requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. (3)

* Implements DoD's plan for certification of pesticide applicators, and develops comprehensive training guidance for DoD pest management personnel.

* Coordinates DoD contingency disease vector and pest management with the Joint Staff, ([dagger]) the combatant commands, and other contingency planning organizations.

* Serves as an advisory body to the DoD components, and provides timely scientific and professional pest management advice.

* Develops and distributes technical information and guidance on pest management to the components by means of technical guides, disease vector ecology profiles, etc.

* Reviews and approves any introduction, stockage, and deletion of pest management materiel (excluding disinfectants and biocides) by the Defense Logistics Agency in the DoD supply system.

* Coordinates and develops DoD's requirements for pest management research, development, testing, and evaluations.

* Carries out its mission with 3 new divisions: Operations, Research, and Information Services.

It is the AFPMB's vision that the DoD will be the federal leader for innovative prevention and management of disease vectors and pests. The strategy of the AFPMB is to support military readiness and preventive defense, and to demonstrate environmental leadership and avert future pollution problems by maximizing the use of nonchemical or least toxic chemical techniques to manage pests and disease vectors. In furtherance of this strategy, the AFPMB promotes integrated pest management, biopesticides, and the use of least toxic pesticides for installations and deployments, and advocates personal protection measures against arthropod bites and stings. The AFPMB has received numerous awards and citations for such efforts, including frequent recognition by the US Environmental Protection Agency's Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, which aims to "reduce pesticide use, protect human health, and preserve the environment." (4)


The AFPMB includes a directorate, council, and several committees:

Directorate--The full-time administrative body of the AFPMB currently consists of 7 active duty medical entomologists representing the US Army, Navy, and Air Force, 3 federal employees, and 3 contractors. Reorganized in January 2009, the permanent staff includes a director, deputy director, directorate support staff, contingency liaison officer, research liaison officer, information liaison officer, environmental biologist, and support personnel, as shown in Figure 1.

* Director--Supervises the directorate, and plans and conducts AFPMB operations.

* Deputy Director--Responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Directorate, the directorate support staff, facility maintenance, and personnel.

* Directorate Support Staff--Includes the financial resource manager, information technology manager, and administrative assistant.

* Contingency Liaison Officer (CLO)--In charge of the Operations Division and oversees the activities of the assistant CLO and the environmental biologist. The CLO interfaces with the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and component headquarters, playing a coordination role in DoD readiness planning for prevention and management of vector-borne diseases and invasive species.

* Research Liaison Officer--In charge of the Research Division and coordinates and assists in research activities pertinent to military pest management programs.

* Information Liaison Officer--In charge of the Information Services Division and responsible for the acquisition, analysis, and dissemination of information on arthropod-borne disease control, pest management, and natural resources for the AFPMB.


Council--The Council (voting Board members) is a part-time advisory body of senior pest management and natural resource professionals appointed from each of the military departments and the Defense Logistics Agency. It currently meets twice each year. Other federal agencies provide nonvoting representation.

Committees--The major business of the AFPMB is accomplished by committees consisting of members and agency representatives. Twice each year over 80 technical professionals representing a broad range of federal organizations and allied countries voluntarily meet at the AFPMB to contribute their expertise toward the resolution of vector-borne disease and pest management issues that are of concern to the Department of Defense.

The Executive Committee consists of 7 council representatives or alternates and comprises the senior pest management consultant from each military department, the entomology consultant to each military service's Surgeon, and the single Defense Logistics Agency representative. The Director, as ex officio, is a nonvoting member of the Committee.

There are 12 standing committees:

Contingency Advisory


Education and Training


Information Management

Medical Entomology

Natural Resources


Quarantine and Commodities Protection

Real Property Protection



The Contingency Advisory Committee comprises the senior medical entomologists from each service and functions to ensure delivery of vector-borne disease control support for the operating forces. Ad hoc subcommittees provide a task force effort on urgent issues.

operations Division

The newly formed Operations Division (OD) combines the contingency and environmental biology/ invasive species areas into a single, cohesive group. The Division's primary mission is to provide consultation, guidance, and liaison with other DoD and non-DoD agencies and governments on a variety of operational pest management issues. The OD consists of the Contingency Liaison Officer, a senior military entomologist with substantial deployment experience who supervises the division; another military entomologist who serves as the Assistant CLO; and the Environmental Biologist, who is the liaison with the DoD natural resources program managers. The Operations Division is ready to assist customers in accomplishing their mission of protecting the health and safety of service members, civilians, and the environment.

The primary focus is to provide consultation and guidance to personnel and units, either deploying or already deployed, on any type of contingency, stabilization, or humanitarian and civic assistance mission. This guidance includes establishing contact between a customer and personnel already in the area of operation, referral to organizations that can provide the most recent entomological risk assessments, making recommendations on pesticides and application equipment, consulting on the implementation of personal protective measures, and advising on the handling of contract pest control operations. The OD is involved in vegetation control during contingency operations, control of agricultural pests impacting humanitarian and civic assistance efforts, assisting in the acquisition of bed nets for distribution, and treatment of uniforms with permethrin. These are a few of the many issues that may be addressed on a daily basis. The OD seeks feedback from deployed personnel to identify problems and implement appropriate steps toward their resolution through training, education, or the provision of equipment.

The Operations Division acts as a conduit to the AFPMB on contingency issues and is able to consult and coordinate with offices throughout the DoD and among our allies. Thus, the OD is able to assist customers in the rapid receipt of information needed to address their current situation. If a customer requires a piece of equipment or pesticide that is not included in the field set, they should contact the OD (email, letter, etc) and explain the specifics and purpose of the requirement. The Operations Division will then work with the requestor to determine if another item can be used, or if the request represents a new requirement which must be addressed. The OD also needs to know what obstacles a customer encountered during deployment (ie, what prevented completion of the job). While the OD cannot help with command and control issues, it can provide guidance on how to approach these matters in order to gain command support. If the issue is significant, the OD has points of contact within each service's senior entomological leadership and the combatant commands, and potentially can work the issue through those avenues.

In addition to direct customer support, the OD addresses contingency issues at the DoD level by reviewing new policies and guidance to ensure that there are no unrealistic restrictions placed upon deployed personnel. Contingency operations encompass situations outside day-to-day, installation-level activities, such as armed conflict, disaster relief, and humanitarian support. Such unforeseen events are increasingly common, and each operation brings with it new pest management issues.

Environmental Biology, Invasive Species

The primary focus of the Environmental Biologist is as the liaison with DoD natural resource program managers and coordinator with federal natural resource working groups and the National Invasive Species Council. This working relationship fosters better partnership development among federal, state, and nongovernmental agencies in the management of invasive and nuisance animal and plant species. Through this relationship, the pest management and natural resources program experts are able to discuss areas of mutual interest and share their respective expertise.

The Operations Division works with both the DoD Legacy Program and the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program to assist in the selection of proposed projects to aid DoD in the better management of invasive species problems that impact its mission and readiness. These issues can range from the control of the brown tree snake on Guam, to management of endangered species habitats on installations, and guidance on the problems of invasive species with regard to retrograde cargo preparation and shipment.

Research Division

The Research Division is managed by the Research Liaison Officer (RLO). The RLO is the principal AFPMB contact with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service and other pest management research programs, and helps to coordinate DoD research requirements for military pest management and vector control. Also, the RLO serves as the Directorate ex officio to the AFPMB Council and committees on all research matters.

The principal activity of the RLO is to administer the Deployed Warfighter Protection (DWFP) research program, a $5 million per year effort to develop new pesticides, new application equipment, and new methods of personal protection. The DWFP was recently profiled in this journal. (5)

Information Services Division

The Information Services Division (ISD) provides DoD customers with timely information on such topics as arthropod-borne disease, pest management, and invasive species. Managed by the Information Liaison Officer, the division also supports DoD through expert consultations and electronic publications retrieval via its online Literature Retrieval System.

The ISD evolved from the Defense Pest Management Information Analysis Center (originally the Military Entomology Information Service) which was established in 1962 as the information and communications branch of the Armed Forces Pest Control Board, the forerunner of today's AFPMB. Reorganized into the ISD in January 2009, it continues to collect, store, analyze, and disseminate published and unpublished information on arthropod vectors and pests, hazardous and invasive organisms, and natural resources and environmental biology that is important to the DoD. Services include technical consultations on vectors, pests, environmental biology, and natural resources; development and distribution of Disease Vector Ecology Profiles that provide summaries of the bionomics of disease vectors and data on hazardous animals and plants for individual countries or biogeopolitical areas (eg, the Middle East); Technical Guides (formerly Technical Information Memoranda) that provide guidance on specific issues of interest to the DoD pest management community (eg, the surveillance and control of ticks that transmit disease); interactive teaching programs in CD (tick morphology) and DVD (mosquito morphology) format; and provision of subject-specific bibliographies, utilizing in-house and proprietary databases. Authorized ISD customers are all DoD medical, pest management, and natural resources personnel, as well as other DoD staff responsible for dealing with problems caused by disease vectors and pests. Also eligible are non-DoD members of the AFPMB, certain personnel of other federal or state agencies, and university faculty associated with the AFPMB.





Since its inception, ISD has maintained a reference library that is now one of the world's chief sources of information on what the late Ralph Audy called "medical zoology." (6) The current library contains a quarter million accessions, of which about 108,000 are available as full-text, digital PDF files, together with some 2,300 books, 100 CDs or DVDs, and active subscriptions to over 60 periodicals in biomedicine, parasitology, and natural resources management.

Central to ISD's mission of information dissemination is its online Literature Retrieval System, a Boolean search engine that formerly provided only bibliographic literature summaries, but, with the advent of the internet, is now capable of supplying copies of all papers (PDF format) accessed by ISD personnel from the serial scientific literature. Users start at the basic search page ( rlgn_app/ar_login/guest/guest), shown as Figure 2, where a journal search is the default option, although the book and CD collections as well as the former (1980-2000) AFPMB Technical Information Bulletin and papers in the online database of the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit may also be searched, separately or concurrently. While any terms (authors, keywords, words from the title or text of a paper) can be typed into the basic search box, it is almost always preferable to select the Advanced tab which presents the advanced query composer page, Figure 3, where search parameters can be specified by terms in the document title, by author, by terms in the document text, by journal title, and by year range. Effective use of this system is dependent on practice and experience in its use. For example, one might search for papers on the ticks of Taiwan by typing the words "ticks" and "Taiwan" into The Document Text field (Figure 4) or into the basic search field. However, either method yields an unmanageable (and identical) number of hits, including many false positives (Figure 5). But in such a search it is evident that the focus is on Taiwan, which should therefore appear in The Document Title box, while "ticks" remains in The Document Text box (Figure 6). This strategy yields a much more manageable hit list, with virtually no false positives (Figure 7). Click the paper's hypertext title (Figure 8) to view the entire document (Figure 9), which can then be printed, saved, or emailed.





The Literature Retrieval System is not the only search tool available to ISD customers. Through contracts with ProQuest Dialog (Cary, NC) and Ovid Technologies, Inc. (New York, NY), customers enjoy free online access to such powerful biological databases as AGRICOLA (the National Agricultural Library's catalog and article citation database), BIOSIS (Biosciences Information Service), CAB (Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux) Abstracts, and MEDLINE (the National Library of Medicine's premier bibliographic database). Hard copies of biomedical papers whose citations are retrieved via these proprietary databases are swiftly delivered (usually on a same-day basis) as web .pdf formatted documents through ISD's DOCLINE(R) contract with the National Library of Medicine. For nonbiomedical literature, the ISD staff has access to the stacks of the nearby National Agricultural Library and Library of Congress.

Living Hazards Database

Maintained by ISD, the Living Hazards Database (LHD), publicly accessible at the AFPMB's website, contains concise descriptive and bionomic information on most of the animals that have been reported to cause serious injury or death in humans. The LHD may be searched by species scientific name or by country, and is worldwide in scope, with each venomous animal discussed under the headers Identification, Description, Habitat, Activity and Behavior, and Venom Characteristics. Digital images are included for most of the 500+ listed venomous animals, which serve as aids to initial identification. Because the focus of the LHD is on injury by envenomization, most of the animals depicted are snakes. Birds, mammals, and plants are not currently included in the LHD.

The LHD has been designed to materially assist medical, paramedical, and first-responder teams supporting US military and associated personnel throughout the world. The ISD therefore carefully reviews the LHD several times each year, and updates information and images whenever new material is published or in response to corrections by recognized technical experts.


The history of warfare has repeatedly shown that casualties during contingency operations are often caused by diseases, most of which are arthropod-borne. The AFPMB is a force multiplier in the ceaseless campaign against arthropod-borne diseases, providing policies, guidance, research support, and information for US and allied Warfighters worldwide. Concurrently, the AFPMB ensures environmental stewardship and safety through careful management of pesticide products and the control of invasive species. Like the vectors and pests that it was established to combat, the AFPMB is an evolving entity, but one honed by over 50 years of accomplishment to face the challenges of the new century.


We thank our AFPMB colleagues LTC Jamie A. Blow, USA; Peter J. Egan, PhD; and Harold J. Harlan, PhD, for their assistance in preparing the sections on contingency pest management, environmental biology/ invasive species, and the Living Hazards Database, respectively.


(1.) Department of Defense Directive 4715.1E: Environment, Safety, and Occupational Health (ESOH). Washington, DC: US Dept of Defense; March 19, 2005.

(2.) Department of Defense Instruction 4150.07: DOD Pest Management Program. Washington, DC: US Dept of Defense; May 29, 2008.

(3.) Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, 7 USC [section]136 (1972).

(4.) Wayland SH. Award Citation. Meritorious Achievement Award presented to the Armed Forces Pest Management Board: Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, US Environmental Protection Agency; August 1999; Washington, DC.

(5.) Cope SE, Strickman DA, White GB. The Deployed Warfighter Protection Research Program: finding new methods to vanquish old foes. Army Med Dept J. April-June 2008:9-20.

(6.) Audy JR. Red Mites and Typhus. London, England: Athlone Press; 1968.

Col William M. Rogers, USAF, BSC

Richard G. Robbins, PhD

CAPT Stanton E. Cope, USN, MSC

* Canceled, no longer in effect.

([dagger]) US Joint Chiefs of Staff

Col Rogers is the Deputy Director of the Armed Forces Pest Management Board.

Dr Robbins is an Entomologist with the Armed Forces Pest Management Board. CAPT Cope is the Director of the Armed Forces Pest Management Board.
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Author:Rogers, William M.; Robbins, Richard G.; Cope, Stanton E.
Publication:U.S. Army Medical Department Journal
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Jul 1, 2009
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