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How to Effectively Assess the Impact of Non-Lethal Weapons as Intermediate Force Capabilities

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[Technical Report, Research Report]

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The U.S Department of Defense DoD needs to be able to assess the tactical, operational, and strategic impact of non-lethal weapons NLWs to inform development of these systems, how and when they should be used, and their integration into overall DoD capabilities. Examples of NLWs include acoustic hailers, laser dazzlers, flashbang grenades, blunt-impact munitions e.g., rubber bullets, tasers, pepper balls, the Active Denial System ADS that emits millimeter-wave energy to cause a temporary heating sensation, microwave-emitting technologies that disablevehicles and vessels, and vessel-stopping technologies that entangle or foul propellers. NLWs are a subset of Intermediate Force Capabilities IFCs. IFC is a non-doctrinal term that encompasses NLWs and a variety of technologies that cause less-than-lethal effects. By constraining other parties courses of action without inflicting lethal force, NLWs can help to achieve military ends while avoiding collateral damage. This report describes how the tactical, operational, and strategic impact of NLWs can be characterized by linking the activities they perform with direct outputs, higher-level outcomes, and departmentwide strategic goals. It also provides sets of metrics that can be used to evaluate thoseactivities, outputs, and outcomes. The identification and characterization of the metrics also lay the groundwork for data collection that can be used to further evaluate the impact of NLWs at multiple levels, which, in turn, can shape their usage in ways that enhance their contributions to DoD effectiveness. Interview-based insights regarding NLWs can also shape how this information is used to influence future development and usage of these systems.


Subject Categories:

  • Defense Systems
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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[A, Approved For Public Release]