Biological and Chemical Weapons  >>Chemical Weapons Information >>Non-lethal
Non-Lethal Weaponry: A Framework For Future Integration

Subject: The nature of non-lethal weaponry in the Department of Defense (DOD) is explored as a framework for future actions related to the successful integration of this weaponry into the United States (US) military arsenal.

Author(s): Mark R. Thomas; Charles T. Clements (Faculty Advisor)

DTIC Keywords: ACOUSTIC WARFARE, ANTIMATERIEL AGENTS, ANTIPERSONNEL AGENTS, BIOLOGICAL AGENTS, CHEMICAL AGENTS, ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSES, LOW INTENSITY CONFLICT, NONLETHAL AGENTS, OPTICAL WEAPONS

Abstract: Consideration of non-lethality and non-lethal weapons by the Department of Defense (DOD) as an expression of military power is a relatively new yet growing phenomenon. This report explores four issues germane to non-lethal concepts and technologies in the DOD and makes recommendations derived from those issues concerning the integration of non-lethal weaponry into future United States (US) military operations. The approach taken in the research centers on a modified content analysis of unclassified materials published between 1990 and 1997 related to non-lethality and non-lethal weapons.

The genesis of non-lethality in the DOD has been convoluted, involving multiple actors struggling over the definition of non-lethality along with scattered operational experiences and the erratic development of policies and technologies. Four motives now drive DOD non-lethality: A changing threat; the need for more response options; the desire to reduce lethality, and force protection. Non-lethality scenarios span the spectrum of conflict and the traditional levels of war, while the suitability criteria for non-lethals include technical feasibility, operational utility, policy acceptability and safety.

Coherent, substantiated, decisive and appropriate actions must be taken to ensure the transformation of non-lethality into an integrated component of US armed capability. These efforts require a multitude of actors engaged in policymaking, legislative, doctrinal, architectural and acquisition initiatives drawn from the history, motives, scenarios and criteria associated with non-lethality in the Department of Defense.

Adobe Acrobat document

Contact:  Michael Stebbins (mstebbins@fas.org)
All Rights Reserved 2007 - Federation of American Scientists