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Title:Nonlethal weapons: Considerations for decision makers
Author(s):Schneider, Greg R.
Subject(s):Nonlethal weapons
Abstract:The rapid changes in the political and technological arenas occurring today are fostering significant reexaminations of the role of military forces in the future. The success of high technology weaponry in the Gulf War, the increasingly intense media scrutiny of military operations, and the wide range of missions to which the military must now respond have combined to raise expectations that future wars may be fought with much less destruction and far fewer casualties. In support of such a vision, significant resources are being spent to develop nonlethal weapons that will disable and disrupt an enemy causing them to accede to our will and terminate the conflict. Ideally these weapons would not kill and their effects would be temporary and reversible, although in practice that may not always be true. This paper examines several key issues surrounding nonlethal weapons. A variety of the proposed nonlethal weapons are discussed in the context of their technological maturity and support required, the iroperational utility, and the potential for countermeasures to reduce their impact. More general considerations are also analyzed including important underlying assumptions about future conflicts and the reactions of leaders, the legal ramifications of using certain of the proposed nonlethal weapons, and the potential for increased risk to friendly forces by their employment.The conclusions drawn from this effort are that nonlethal weapons may offer some additional tools for use in crisis situations. However, the technology for several concepts is unproved and plausible countermeasures exist for some as well. The operational employment schemes for many of them are very preliminary and incomplete. Serious legal questions exist for many of the concepts. The impact of the media on the use of these weapons has also not been well explored.Several recommendations are offered for critical reviews of the above issues including a Defense Science Board analysis of the technologies, an operational utility study using soldiers and commanders in the field, and strategic level war games with senior government officials.
Issue Date:1997-01
Publisher:Arms Control & Domestic and International Security (ACDIS)
Citation Info:Schneider, Greg R., ''Nonlethal Weapons: Considerations for Decision Makers,'' ACDIS Occasional Paper, Program in Arms Control & Domestic and International Security (ADCIS), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997).
Series/Report:ACDIS Occasional Paper
Other Identifier(s):ACDIS SCHN:1.1997
Rights Information:Copyright 1997 Greg R. Schneider
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-11-15

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  • ACDIS Occasional Papers
    A series established in 1978 to disseminate current research and analytical results of faculty, students, and visiting scholars associated with ACDIS.

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