Date: Nov. 4, 2002
Contacts: Barbara J. Rice, Deputy Director
Corbin Arberg, Media Relations Assistant
(202) 334-2138; e-mail <email@example.com>For Immediate ReleaseDeveloping Effective Non-Lethal Weapon Options Is Needed To Enhance Naval Force Capabilities
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of the Navy should move toward integrating non-lethal weapons -- designed to incapacitate people or materiel while minimizing unintended death and damage -- into naval warfighting requirements, research and development programs, acquisition plans, and operations, says a new report from the National Academies' National Research Council. In addition, the joint program conducted since 1996 by all the services to develop non-lethal weapons should change significantly to foster the needed research for development within a reasonable time frame.
"Though this study was originally requested prior to the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, it was conducted in its aftermath, when a more urgent need for non-lethal weapons emerged for the Navy," said Miriam E. John, chair of the committee that wrote the report and vice president, California Division, Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore. "In particular, non-lethal weapons are an additional way to provide greater security for military bases and protect our forces. Our report gives the Navy and Marine Corps specific recommendations to improve their non-lethal capabilities."
Recognizing the value of non-lethal weapons in a variety of military operations, such as urban peacekeeping efforts, counterterrorism, and force protection, the U.S. Department of Defense created the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate under the purview of the U.S. Marine Corps. Since its implementation, the directorate has operated with modest funding. The Department of the Navy has made little investment in non-lethal weapons science and technology, even though these weapons are well-suited to the needs of naval expeditionary forces, the committee found.
The directorate has made some progress in laying the groundwork for weapons development, such as acquiring existing technologies and demonstrating a vehicle-mounted system that uses heat produced by high-power microwaves to stop vehicles and vessels. However, significant shifts in emphasis and resources are now required to meet the program's goals.
One obstacle to progress is a lack of new ideas developed cooperatively between the directorate and the military services' science and technology programs, the committee found. Because of its high visibility and small budget, the directorate has been forced to focus too much on relatively mature technologies while investing little in developing new capabilities. In addition, the process for introducing non-lethal weapons into the development and acquisition cycle for each of the military services needs to be improved. Most important is a greater emphasis on understanding the effects of non-lethal weapons on intended targets and whether those effects are useful for military operations and within the bounds of treaty constraints.
The committee recommended that highest priority should be placed on four science and technology areas of non-lethal weapons research and development, to support naval expeditionary forces. These include developing calmatives and malodorants in accordance with treaty obligations to control crowds and clear facilities; more advanced directed-energy systems for stopping vehicles or vessels; novel and rapidly deployable marine barrier systems to stop attack vessels and protect perimeters; and unmanned or remotely piloted vehicles and sensors to provide warning, localization, and tracking of potential enemy threats.
The study was sponsored by the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate and the Office of Naval Research. The National Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. It is a private, nonprofit institution that provides science and technology advice under a congressional charter. A committee roster follows.
Copies of An Assessment of Non-Lethal Weapons Science and Technology
will be available this winter from the National Academies Press; tel. (202) 334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at http://www.nap.edu
. Reporters may obtain a pre-publication copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Naval Studies BoardCommittee for an Assessment of Non-Lethal Weapons Science and Technology Miriam E. John (chair)
Sandia National Laboratories
LivermoreJohn B. Alexander
The Apollinaire Group
Las VegasMichael B. Berger
Program Director for Energy and Environment
Logistics Management Institute
McLean, Va.Ruth A. David1
President and Chief Executive Officer
Analytic Services Inc.
Arlington, Va.Clay E. Easterly
Virtual Human Project
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tenn.Milton Finger
Department of Defense Programs Office
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Livermore, Calif.Charles A. Fowler1
Sudbury, Mass.Charles Higgs
Laser and Sensor Applications
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
LexingtonPhil C. Houser
Senior Manager for Advanced Programs
Arlington, Va.John W. Hutchinson1,2
Gordan McKay Professor of Applied Mechanics
Cambridge, Mass.Albert I. King1
Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and
Director, Bioengineering Center
Wayne State University
DetroitAnnette J. Krygiel
Great Falls, Va.James W. Meyer
Rochester, N.Y.Robert B. Oakley
Ambassador (retired), and
Distinguished Visiting Fellow
Institute for National Strategic Studies
National Defense University
Washington, D.C.Steven H. Scott
Access Delay Technology Department
Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, N.M.William M. Tolles
Alexandria, Va.Paul K. Van Riper
Lieutenant General, U.S. Marine Corps (retired), and
RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFFCharles F. Draper
Member, National Academy of Engineering2
Member, National Academy of Sciences