The Pursuit of Non-Lethal Capabilities
MARINE CORPS UNIV QUANTICO VA SCHOOL OF ADVANCED WARFIGHTING
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Nonlethal technologies, once attributed primarily to civilian law enforcement, are currently being developed at unprecedented levels for use in military operations. Technology that uses sound to topple walls or coherent lasers to transmit electrical impulses through the air seem to be more science fiction than reality. However, the reality is that the pursuit of such exciting technologies has roused considerable interest from domestic as well as international human rights-based organizations, which oppose the use of such technologies. There are four principle arguments against continued nonlethal research 1 the true lethality of nonlethal weapons, 2 secrecy and lack of government disclosure regarding the development and testing of nonlethal technologies, 3 their applicability and use in emerging conflicts, and 4 the illegal use of compromised technologies by rogue organizations. The United States is presently leading the way in developing concepts based on these arguments, which push the envelope of traditionally accepted means of force. Opponents of these programs claim that the United States should not employ such technology, either unilaterally or as a member of a coalition force. Further, opponents claim that restrictions and limitations on the use of nonlethal weapons mitigate the advantages such technology promises to offer. Nonlethal weapons increase military forces ability to operate effectively in environments that may severely preclude or restrict the use of conventional force. It is these restrictions and limitations that have led to an increased focus on nonlethal solutions.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Defense Systems
- Chemical, Biological and Radiological Warfare