Blast Injury Research Coordinating Office
Fulfill the responsibilities and functions of the DOD Executive Agent (EA) for Medical Research for the Prevention, Mitigation, and Treatment of Blast Injuries in accordance with Public Law 109-163, Section 256 and DOD Directive 6025.21E. On behalf of the EA, the Blast Injury Research Coordinating Office (BIRCO) coordinates DOD-sponsored biomedical research programs aimed at preventing, mitigating, and treating blast-related injuries; identifies knowledge gaps and shapes research programs accordingly; promotes information sharing among the operational, intelligence, medical, and materiel development communities; and facilitates collaborative research among DOD laboratories and the laboratories of other federal agencies, academics, and industry to leverage resources and to take full advantage of the body of knowledge that resides both within and outside of the DOD to accelerate the delivery of blast injury prevention and treatment strategies to Service members.
Background and Environment
Operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, worldwide terrorist bombings and industrial explosions, and the growing use of improvised explosive devices have resulted in a significant number of blast-related casualties. Through Public Law 109-163 Section 256 in 2006, Congress directed the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) to designate an EA to coordinate the DOD's medical research programs relating to the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of blast injuries. The DOD responded by issuing DOD Directive 6025.21E, 5 July 2006, "Medical Research for Prevention, Mitigation, and Treatment of Blast Injuries," that designated the Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) as the DOD EA.
In 2007, following a series of delegations, the Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command, assumed EA authority for the DOD Blast Injury Research Program and established BIRCO at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC) under a charter signed by the Commander, USAMEDCOM to assist in fulfilling EA responsibilities and functions. In 2017, SECARMY delegated EA authority to the Surgeon General, who further delegated EA authority to the Commander, USAMRDC.
Vision and Lines of Effort
BIRCO's vision is a fully coordinated DOD blast injury research program that delivers timely and effective blast injury prevention, mitigation, and treatment strategies to our Service members today and in the future.
To realize this vision, BIRCO operates through the following lines of effort:
- Identifying blast injury knowledge gaps
- Shaping research programs to fill knowledge gaps
- Promoting information sharing and partnership
- Facilitating collaboration within and outside the DOD
- Disseminating blast injury research information
Key Themes and Messages
Blast injury includes the entire spectrum of injuries that can result from exposure to an explosion. They are highly complex, involving multiple types of injuries and multiple body systems at once.
Solutions to blast injury problems require collaboration among diverse communities and disciplines.
Service members are the ultimate beneficiaries of collaboration by the world's experts.
Visit BIRCO's website for information on key initiatives, annual reports, State-of-the-Science Meetings, research highlights, and more.
Questions and Answers
What is an Executive Agent?
Who is the DOD Blast Injury Research Program Executive Agent?
What are common examples of blast injury?
What is blast injury research?
- Injury Prevention: Research to prevent blast injury across the spectrum of potential injuries through establishing safety thresholds for human exposure to blast, enhancing diagnostic capabilities, supporting the design of protection systems, and strengthening guidelines for the safe use of weapon systems
- Acute Treatment: Research to develop new diagnostic tools, clinical guidelines, therapies, and medical interventions to treat the spectrum of blast-related injuries with the goal to improve survivability and mitigate long-term disability for Service members with injuries following blast events
- Reset: Describes a concept that extends beyond rehabilitation to include all activities necessary to return injured Service members to duty or to productive civilian life. Reset includes research to advance strategies for reducing recovery time, improving rehabilitation programs, maximizing opportunities for return to duty and reintegration into the civilian workforce, and improving the quality of life for Service members who have experienced blast-related injuries