(a) All radiation is potentially harmful and should be avoided, if possible. Tactically,
however, it may be necessary to accept some radiation exposure. The commander needs to be aware of
the significance of radiation exposure. The exposure of personnel must be weighed against any
immediate or short-range advantages that may be gained. This may influence the commander's decision
in selecting a course of action and the units to be employed in that action. Continuous evaluation of the
unit's RES is needed to help the commander make these decisions.
(b) Radiation exposure should be controlled to the maximum extent possible, consistent
with the mission. Sometimes this may tend to restrict operations. However, if exposure control is
ignored, the results could be disastrous. Establishing and using OEG will help keep radiation exposure to
(c) Radiation exposure records can be used to identify units with low radiation doses.
These units may be selected for missions requiring exposure to radiation. For example, consider a unit
that has not been exposed to radiation. This unit could be given an OEG of 20, 30, or 50 cGy for one
operation. Radiation casualties are not expected to occur in this unit. However, if a unit already has a
dose of 150 cGy, an additional 50 cGy would probably make that unit ineffective. Therefore, operational
records should constantly reflect the RES of units.
(d) Establishing a unit's OEG depends on that unit's previous exposure history. OEG
must be established for each operation. This exposure guidance is based on the unit's RES at that time
and on the unit's mission. It would be meaningless to expect only one OEG to be valid for all subordinate
units throughout a campaign.
(3) Establish OEG. OEG may be defined as the maximum amount of radiation to which troops
may be exposed, as determined by the commander for a particular mission. A company commander
would normally express the OEG as a numerical value. The commander must consider the following
elements when establishing the OEG: the mission, the RES of subordinate units, and the degree of risk
the commander is willing to accept. There are two procedures that can be used to establish the OEG.
One procedure is used when the unit's total cumulative dose is known. The other procedure is used when
the total cumulative dose is unknown. When a unit exceeds the established OEG, it should report this
information without delay to the next higher headquarters. The following examples provide steps for
(a) Establish OEG when the total cumulative dose is KNOWN. The commander plans to
commit Company B in a radiologically contaminated area. The commander will accept a moderate risk.
Company B has a total cumulative dose of 20 cGy. What OEG will the commander establish for this
Step 1. You know that the total cumulative dose of the unit is 20 cGy.
Step 2. You know that the commander will accept a moderate risk.
Step 3. Subtract the known total cumulative dose of 20 cGy from the RES-0 criterion for the
desired degree of risk (Table 3-2). In this example, the moderate risk dose is 70 cGy.
Step 4. The answer from Step 3 is 50 cGy. This means that the unit can receive an additional dose
of up to 50 cGy before exceeding a moderate risk.