Future War: Non-Lethal Weapons in Twenty-First Century Warfare

mammettiredMechanics

Nov 18, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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1

Over the past two decades, the United States has experienced a shift in the political
-
military paradigm, from conventional war to limited
-
engagement conflicts. Although non
-
lethal
weapons have been used by the U.S. in combat since Vietnam, they were intro
duced into the
current military landscape with the onset of Operation United Shield in 1994, which concerned
the delivery of humanitarian aid to Somalia’s civilian population.
1

The peacekeeping mission
required the U.N. to maintain separation between warri
ng parties


an effort that ultimately led to
the death of more than 130 U.N. peacekeepers. The U.S. agreed to send in military forces, to aid
in the U.N. peacekeepers withdrawal, under General Zinni. The U.S. faced two difficult tasks: to
control violent
Somali citizens and protect the U.N. forces.

Due to the strong presence of the media at the warfront, public support for the
humanitarian effort would dramatically decrease if U.S. involvement led to Somali civilian
deaths. However, the U.N. peacekeepers
required additional force protection in order to
peacefully withdraw. General Zinni’s chosen solution relied on the use of Non
-
lethal Weapons
(NLWs). He chose to employ multiple non
-
lethal solutions, including sticky foams, acoustic
weapons and low
-
energy
lasers. Although General Zinni’s solution was championed in some
military circles, the arena of NLW’s remains largely ignored, and ten years later a capability gap
continues to exist between military presence in a foreign nation and the use of lethal force
.


When circumstances require the use of lethal weaponry, a soldier will immediately use
the tools provided to him. It is therefore in the United States’ national interest, as well as those of
our ground forces, to continue to develop tactics and weapons t
hat will minimalize casualties and
promote the Zinni Solution as the defacto standard, not the documented exception. Steady
progress has been made since the United States’ intervention in Somalia and the options for non
-
lethal weapons have continued to evo
lve. Among the most promising of these systems is the



1

Alexander
, John
.
Future War: Non
-
Lethal Weapons in Twenty
-
First

Century Warfare

(New
York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999) p23.


2

development of Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs). This paper will examine what approach
Congress should follow in regards to developing and employing this particular weapons system.
Additionally, it will
demonstrate how DEWs offer some of the same advantages of traditional
weapons, but with more acceptable and flexible political results. In order for them to be
deployed, DEWs need to be made modular, adaptable, and smaller. For that to happen in a timely
m
anner, funding must be increased and this research must be pursued.

Direct Energy Weapons

Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) concentrate large amounts of energy at specific
frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum, channeling that energy towards distant tar
gets.
These weapons, which include X
-
ray, ultraviolet, visible light, infrared, and microwave varieties,
all utilize energy which travels at a constant speed of approximately 300,000 kilometers per
second,
2

the rate of electromagnetic
-
wave propagation.


In

an effort to explain how these weapons work for the benefit of Congress, this paper
will examine two specific technologies under development in our Directed Energy program; the
Active Denial System and the Pulsed Energy Projectile.


The Active Denial Syst
em (ADS) is a NLW that uses armed vehicles named ‘Sheriffs’.

Mounted on each Sheriff is a microwave gun. “Using technology similar to that found in a
conventional microwave oven, the beam rapidly heats water molecules in the skin to cause
intolerable pain
and a burning sensation. The invisible beam penetrates the skin to a depth of less
than a millimeter. As soon as the target moves out of the beam's path, the pain disappears.”
3

The
ADS uses a transmitter, which produces energy at a frequency of 95Ghz, as w
ell as an antenna to



2

Thompson, Loren.
The Emerging Promise (and Danger) of Directed
-
Energy Weapons
.
Lexington Institute Capitol
Hill Forum on Directed Energy
, July 11, 2002.

3

Freinberg, Tony
and Sean Rayment
.
Microw
ave gun to be used by US troops on Iraq rioters.

Telegraph

(UK),
September 19, 2004.


3

direct a focused, invisible beam towards a designated subject.
4

The ADS is projected to become
fully operational in early 2005, and the U.S. Army has ordered 6 Sheriffs that are scheduled for
deployment in September of 2005.

5


The ADS

system was created primarily for use as a crowd
-
control weapon. There exist a
number of scenarios in which the system can be employed, such as an embassy siege or a riot, or
any event requiring momentary crowd suppression without the incursion of casualti
es. In such
situations, the death of civilians would further injure U.S. interests, only serving to discredit U.S.
involvement or presence abroad. Managing an incident without long
-
lasting harm to targets
would allow the U.S. to maintain its presence in vo
latile areas.
6


An ADS is a deterrent
-
type NLW, because the choice of action is left to the target. The
target could either run away or accept the pain for a longer period of time, which could possibly
lead to permanent damage to the target.
The operator c
an direct the beam at an individual target,
or sweep it across a crowd, as well as create an energy barrier. Maintenance of this barrier would
not require bulky ammunition reserves, because as long as power is available the ADS system
will function.
7

The P
ulsed Energy Projectile (PEP)
fires a pulsed deuterium
-
fluoride laser that almost
instantaneously superheats whatever surface it hits. The surrounding air is heated
so rapidly that
it literally explodes, resulting in a localized shockwave that knocks the
target to the ground. The
flash
-
bang effect of the energy projectile startles and distracts the individual, and can inflict a
temporary but debilitating loss of sight and hearing.
8





4

Active Denial System:
Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration
.
United States Air Force
;
Air Force
Research Laboratory,
Office of Public Affairs. February 2003.

5

Frei
nberg, Tony
and Sean Rayment
.
Microwave gun to be used by US troops on Iraq rioters.

Telegraph

(UK),
September 19, 2004.

6

Edwards, Bob.
New Crowd Control Weapon the Pentagon is Developing
.
National Public Radio

(NPR) Morning
Edition, (11:00 AM on ET) Marc
h 2, 2001.

7

Andersen, Gary. Fallujah and the Future of Urban Operations.

Marine Corps Gazette.

Quantico: Nov
2004.Vol.88,

Iss.

11;

pg.

52

8

Pulsed Energy Projectile
.
Global Security


4

Current DEW technology has environmental limitations that must be take
n into
consideration. Both the PEP and ADS can only operate in “open” environments, as the energy
does not penetrate brick or cement. They can then be used on a crowded street, in the desert or in
a park, but cannot clear a building completely, as the ener
gy would not penetrate very thick
surfaces.

Each weapons system offers unique non
-
lethal capabilities to tactical units and
peacekeepers. Because DEWs operate at the speed of light, aiming and discharging the weapon
is a more efficient process than that o
f existing weapons, because the time elapsed between firing
the weapon and hitting the target has been virtually eliminated. The PEP and ADS both allow the
soldier to change targets rapidly, as the DEWs’ effects are instant and can be easily re
-
aimed.

Emp
loyment


The employment possibilities of Directed Energy Weapons are diverse. They allow the
United States to intervene in conflicts at a significantly lower level of violence, particularly in
military operations other than war (MOOTW). Such operations inc
lude facilities management,
peacekeeping, sanction enforcement, and riot control. In each of these cases, U.S. intervention
with troop force raises the risk of casualties for both the soldiers and the civilian populace. The
employment of DEWs would lower t
he casualty risk to both sides. It is, however, important to
remember that the inclusion of Directed Energy Weapons in the military arsenal does not
exclude more lethal weaponry. DEWs are meant to act as compliments to the current arsenal, so
although risk
s to casualties are lowered in such instances, they do not necessarily reach null.


ADS and PEP would also strengthen the U.S. arsenal during times of war. When forces
move into an urban environment, these directed energy weapons would allow U.S. forces
to clear
a target radius of a civilian populace before sending troops in to secure the area. For example,
while the Active Denial System was initially designed to protect key facilities from intruders,
such as nuclear weapons storage sites, or intelligenc
e
-
collecting facilities, commanders like

5

General Zinni saw the potential for such a system to be used to keep crowds at bay while
combatants use civilians as shields. Today, the resistance in Fallujah can be traced to an incident
that occurred in April 20
03, when local residents participated in a demonstration that turned
violent. The U.S. military believed that some of the protestors were armed, and as the
commander feared a “Black Hawk Down” situation, where armed combatants would surround
his soldiers a
nd open fire, he ordered the use of lethal force. “The ensuing "massacre" hardened
the hatred of the Fallujaris for the Americans to this day.”
9

If the ADS was available, this event
might have unfolded quite differently, and the Fallujaris might not be f
ighting the Armed Forces
with such vehemence today.

Acquisition Needs

Several factors are taken into consideration when the military is determining need for its
weapon acquisitions, including the effect on ground troops, the cost of maintenance and support
,
and the flexibility and usability of the weapon. To add significant value, each system must
enhance or improve the capabilities of military personnel. The weapon should not add substantial
carrying weight, nor should it decrease movement capabilities of
the troops.
10

Additional training and logistical support is needed for each new weapons system added
to the military arsenal. Spare parts and personnel are needed for maintenance and upkeep of a
new system. Moreover, there are environmental limitations to e
ach new system employed, which
limits the extent
-

with regard to both quantity and geography
-

to which a new system could be
deployed.


Sheriffs are a type of tank, and therefore the ADS system can be used anywhere a tank
can be deployed. While tank use

is limited to a certain terrain, the ADS does not further limit the



9

Andersen, Gary. Fallujah and the Future of Urban Operations.

Marine Co
rps Gazette.

Quantico: Nov
2004.Vol.88,

Iss.

11;

pg.

52

10

Clements, Charles. Mark R. Thomas .
Non
-
Lethal Weaponry: A Framework For Future Integration
. April 1998.
Center for Strategy and Technology
, Air War College, Air University: Maxwell Air Force Base,
Alabama.

AU/ACSC/279/1998
-
04.


6

capability of the soldier. It does not need ammunition in the traditional sense, relying solely on a
sufficiently powerful energy source for continued operation. On the other hand, the P
EP system
weighs approximately 500 pounds, and thus is a limited
-
capability weapon because it adds to the
overall load for troop deployment or may take the place of a tank or other heavy
-
load weapon. It
cannot be airdropped, so it is not available for use

in many special
-
operation scenarios. Both the
ADS and PEP systems require specialized training for the soldier. Therefore, preparing each
system for deployment requires additional time and cost for both the soldier and his support
infrastructure.

Costs

Ap
proximately $51 million has been invested in the ADS system over the past eleven
years.
11

While the cost is currently estimated to be
$30,000 for a vehicle
-
mounted dispenser
, the
Marines are working on a portable, personnel
-
held ADS that is estimated to cos
t $4,000 once
developed
.
12

The PEP program has $3,173,000 in research funding so far. While it is years behind the
ADS in deployment capabilities, the PEP can use many of the “lessons learned” from the
development and deployment of the similar technology.

Policy Options


As the United States continues to become involved in conflicts throughout the world and
routinely bears the burden of ensuring security, our strategy for involvement must also continue
to expand and evolve. Although some progress has been m
ade towards integrating Non
-
Lethal
Weapons into the military arsenal, the use of Directed Energy Weapons provides a valuable
opportunity to expand our Non
-
Lethal tactics and policies.





11

Active Denial System:
Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration
.
United States Air Force
;
Air Force
Research Laboratory,
Office of Public Affairs. February 2003.

12

Gambrell, Kathy.
Active Denial Prototype to Be Tested This
Fall
,

Aerospace Daily
.

Washington: Mar 10,
2004.Vol.209,

Iss.

45;

pg.

6


7

Perfecting Current Technology


Congress should increase funding for des
ign and testing of directed energy projects,
including the ADS and PEP systems. While the Air Force has been granted $36,532,000 in
funding for applied research in directed energy for the 2005 Fiscal Year, this represents a drop of
five million dollars fr
om the previous year. If DEWs are to be fully operational and available to
ground troops in the near future, funding must be increased rather than decreased.


For each of the programs, funding must grow to reflect the real costs associated with
preparing t
hem for operational deployment. In 2001, all components of the ADS became
operational, but further research is needed to make the system smaller and more mobile. The
decision for the integration of its use to the armed forces, based on a Military Utility
Assessment
(MUA), will be made in 2005.
13

In order to pass the MUA, the effective range of the current
ADS must be increased, as ‘the system is intended to protect military personnel against small
-
arms fire, which is generally taken to mean a range of 1,000

meters. The system is described as
having a range of 640 meters.’
14

The PEP has encountered similar issues. Therefore, Congress’
top priority should be to increase the funding for these programs with the goal of improving our
current technology before th
e MUA takes place.

Expanding the Systems


While perfecting the current programs should be given monetary priority, there are long
-
term project goals for both the PEP and ADS that require increased funding to be realized. For
example, compatibility with bot
h Air Force and Navy systems would dramatically increase the
versatility of these weapons

A crash
-
funding project could be started with the goal of adapting the ADS systems for
use on other defense platforms. For example, in October 2004 the Air Force awa
rded a
$7
million contract to Communications & Power Industries (CPI)

to make the ADS system capable



13

Active Denial System:
Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration
.
United States Air Force
;
Air Force
Research Laboratory,
Office of Public Affairs. February 2003.

14

Vehicle
-
Mounted
Active Denial System (V
-
MADS)
,
Global Security
. December 01, 2002.


8

of being used from an airborne vehicle.
15

Because the components for ADS are already
functional, CPI can make the system air
-
worthy by adapting existing aer
ospace technology. If
such a system were in place, the ADS could be used as a tool for clearing a potential landing
area. For example, if a helicopter crew is tasked with evacuating a besieged embassy, ADS could
be used to clear a landing platform and the
n keep the crowds away as the soldiers completed
their mission.

The Navy could also integrate the ADS and PEP systems into their strategic landscape.
Since the USS Cole incident, the Navy has been searching for technology that could defend its
ships from
sudden civilian attack in unfriendly ports. The Navy could use ADS for port
protection, employing it as a shield against civilians who attempt to attack a ship while it is in
port. The PEP could also be used to clear an aircraft carrier’s deck upon attemp
ted seizure or
could be used to dispel a crowd in port
-
security operations. Due to the weight capacities of Navy
ships,weight is less of an issue for Navy integration, and the technology requires minimal
adaptation to make it sea
-
worthy. A contract, sim
ilar to that awarded to CPI, should be
established to pursue Navy integration.

Overall Funding For Non
-
Lethal Weapons

War is not likely to get any less deadly in the future. If more money is not designated for
NLW programs, then it is even less likely tha
t the U.S. will be able to reduce violence and still
maintain its current level of involvement in international conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
After an initial increase in financing for the Joint Forces Non
-
Lethal Weapons Program from
$9.3 million
in 1997 to $43.4 million in 2004, the directorate's budget is slated to increase
moderately to $61.3 million by 2009. The Council on Foreign Relations, which has issued three



15

“Non
-
lethal Technology Goes Airborne in Partnering,”
Hilltop Times
. November 11, 2004.


9

reports on NLWs over the past decade, continues to criticize the current rate of
financing and
recommends the directorate receive between $200 million and $400 million a year.
16

Funding for NLWs would aid not only the development of Directed Energy Weapons but
research into additional types of NLWs. Technologies seemingly unrelated to
ADS and PEP
could aid in the eventual employment of these weapons, as further development in similar
systems could reduce the size and weight of each weapon.

A significant problem with accessing funding for this research is that many policymakers
do not h
ave sufficient knowledge of what is currently available in the existing NLWs arsenal.
This ignorance has led to limited funding for all NLW programs, not just DEWs. However, if
weapons such as the ADS and PEP were to become more familiar to the general p
ublic then
perhaps support for upgrading the existing arsenal would significantly increase and the pressure
on Congress to justify such spending would decrease. As awareness of NLW potential increases,
so will support for their implementation.

Conclusion


Congress should support increased funding in all areas of Non
-
Lethal Weapons
development. Increased funding in NLWs will allow for more creative and diverse arsenals
through which the U.S. military is empowered with additional solutions in an international

crisis.
NLWs can reduce the risk of escalation early in a crisis and give diplomacy a chance to work.
Through the use of NLWs, the military can both avoid unnecessary casualties for civilians and
military personnel and minimize the unnecessary destructio
n of property. This would ensure a
definite advantage as the U.S. faces an increasing number of situations in which nation building
will need to commence in the aftermath of conflict.
17




16

NonLethal Weapons and Capabilities
.
Report of an Independent Task Force Sponsored by the Council o
n Foreign
Relations
.
February 12, 2004.

17

Bedard, E.R.
Nonlethal Capabilities: Realizing the Opportunities
.
Defense Horizons
. March 2002. p1


10


It has been reported that, “some [lawmakers] feel their use reflects a

lack of political
resolve and weakens the effectiveness of the US military by not producing the physical effects
necessary to punish an aggressor.”
18

Our experience in Somalia has shown the contrary to be
true. Once the technology is more widely used, suc
h worries will be quelled.


If directed energy technology is to effectively aid our troops in their current and future
missions, then Congress should consider the following recommendations:



Congress should immediately allocate additional funding in FY2005
for the PEP and ADS
systems to accelerate their entry into the military market in the upcoming year rather than in
two or four years in the future.



Congress should also grant contracts


for further development of the two DEWs.
Specifically, the additional
$7 million needed for the Navy to adapt the ADS system as well
as funding for similar programs for the Air Force and Navy to adapt the PEP system for their
use.



Congress should consider increasing funding for Non
-
Lethal Weapons research from $43.4
million
to $200 million a year to truly advance in the development and production of such
arsenals.

DEWs offer the U.S. the possibility to secure an area and not kill a civilian. The reputation of the
U.S. abroad could escape criticism from civilian deaths, yet s
till protect and secure areas of war.
NLWs that use directed energy can give the American soldier an option other than the bullet,
while still completing the mission.







18

Duncann, James C. Leut. Col.
A Primer on the Employment of Non
-
Lethal Weapons
.
Naval Law Review
, XLV.
P9



Existi
ng contractors include
Communications & Power Industries, Raytheon, and Mission Research Corporation.


11

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Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration
.
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;
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Future War: Non
-
Letha
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-
First Century Warfare

(New
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-
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Iss.

11;

pg.

52


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Nonlethal Capabilities: Realizing the Oppor
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.
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. March
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Non
-
Lethal Weaponry: A Framework For Future
Integration
. April 1998.
Center

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, Air War College, Air
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AU/ACSC/279/1998
-
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-
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.
Naval Law
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New Crowd Control Weapon the Pentagon is Developing
.
National Public Radio

(NPR) Morning Edition, (11:00 AM on ET) March 2, 2001.


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.
Microwave gun to be used by US troops on Iraq rioters.

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Active Denial Prototype to Be Tested This Fall
,

Aerospace
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.

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pg.

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