QUANTICO, Va. --
Non-lethal weapons provide our operating forces escalation-of-force options, minimizing casualties and collateral damage.
Enrollment in DoD's Non-Lethal Weapons course has jumped to a 65 percent increase during 3rd quarter, Fiscal Year 2013. The free, online course launched in 2012 by the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, provides U.S. operating forces with basic knowledge of non-lethal weapons' characteristics, employment, policy and their applications in a wide variety of military operations.
Non-lethal capabilities truly help minimize casualties while providing escalation-of-force options, according to General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps and Executive Agent of the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program. "As we drawdown in Afghanistan and look to the conflicts of tomorrow, our use of non-lethal weapons coupled with building partner capacity missions and (military-to-military exchanges), strategically communicates our commitment to protect innocents and reassures our strategic friends and our allies.
The four-hour "Introduction to Non-Lethal Weapons Course" consists of nine modules and concludes with an exam. The modules' content includes history; strategic impacts; tactical employment; escalation-of-force; counter-personnel and counter-materiel capabilities; fielded and future non-lethal weapons, munitions and devices; characteristics and usage and operational vignettes.
"This non-lethal weapons course is applicable to any rank and specialty within our formations and provides vital education and familiarity," said Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (SEAC), and our Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the U.S. Armed Forces. "It is important to emphasize though, non-lethal weapons are not replacing lethal measures - rather non-lethal methods are an escalating step in the process and always supported by lethal options. Battaglia, a long-time advocate for the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program, recently boosted enrollment, encouraging all enlisted members within the DoD to make the time and effort to complete the course.
"When our DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program was established 13 years ago, I had just returned from an operational deployment with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit. At that time, the non-lethal weapons arsenal was basically comprised of law enforcement-related equipment and munitions, such as tear gas, riot control equipment and beanbag rounds, bull horns and fire hoses. Today is a different story. Technology and a much changed battle space has forced growth in our tactical inventory," added Battaglia.
Today's non-lethal weapons arsenal includes acoustic hailing devices, translation devices, vehicle arresting equipment, electric stun guns, and vehicle launched grenades. Also included are directed energy systems such as low-energy optical distractors (dazzling lasers) and a prototype directed energy capability called the Active Denial System. The ADS uses millimeter-wave energy of a specific radio frequency (95GHz) to provide a non-lethal "repel" effect against human targets with minimal risk of injury.
The course is available by enrollment via Joint Knowledge Online, Marine Net and The U.S. Navy's eLearning site. The course requires access via a Common Access Card for active and reserve service members as well as government employees. For additional information about the DoD Non-Lethal Weapons Program, contact Kelley Hughes, spokesperson, Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, Quantico, Va., or visit http://jnlwp.defense.gov.