Accession Number:

ADA463432

Title:

Non-Lethal Weapons: Setting Our Phasers on Stun? Potential Stratetgic Blessings and Curses of Non-Lethal Weapons on the Battlefield

Descriptive Note:

Occasional paper no. 34

Corporate Author:

AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2003-08-01

Pagination or Media Count:

73.0

Abstract:

Though still in its infancy, the emergence of non-lethal technology in recent years has the potential to change the way wars are fought. Whether non-lethal weapons become a key component of a revolutionary transformation of the military depends on an analysis of their likely strategic effects. This paper is intended to provide an overview of some of the key issues facing the development and employment of non-lethal weapons for senior military and policy leaders. The paper begins with a discussion of recent technology developments for non-lethal weapons. Next, it describes current capabilities as well as the research, development, and procurement efforts needed to bring more non-lethal weaponry into the force structure. The discussion concludes that the current emphasis in non-lethal weapons is on defensive, tactical uses. The strategic advantages and drawbacks of non-lethal weapons their potential to affect policy outcomes are examined next. After that, topics including legal concerns and operational issues that need to be resolved before non-lethal weapons can be fielded on a greater scale are explored. The ability of non-lethal weapons to positively influence the global war on terrorism is also assessed. It is suggested that advantages of non-lethal weapons in these operations outweigh their drawbacks. Finally, a concluding assessment of the future of non-lethal weapons is offered.

Subject Categories:

  • Defense Systems

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE