Non-Lethal Weapon Requirements Fact Sheet

May 11, 2016

Non-Lethal Weapon Requirements Fact Sheet PDF version   (Related Fact Sheet)

The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, on behalf of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, who serves as the Executive Agent for the Department of Defense (DoD) Non-Lethal Weapons Program, leads the DoD in the identification, evaluation, recommendation and development of non-lethal weapons to enable their employment across the range of military operations.

To address specific non-lethal capability requirements for U.S. forces operating in complex environments, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP) proposed two Initial Capabilities Documents (ICDs) for non-lethal effects—one for counter-personnel effects and one for counter-materiel effects. The ICDs support the Services by identifying requirements for non-lethal effects based on force application needs for major combat operations and homeland defense. The DoD's Joint Requirements Oversight Council approved the ICDs in April 2009, authorizing the Services to use the documents as a basis for pursuing solutions to their identified non-lethal capability gaps.

The ICDs identify the below required military tasks for counter-materiel and counter-personnel non-lethal effects. The JNLWP is interested in new weapons and capabilities that can support these tasks, especially at extended ranges. Current capabilities are listed on the Current Non-Lethal Weapons webpage.

The Directorate also posts Broad Area Announcements for science and technology development and for demonstrations of next generation non-lethal weapons on the Business Opportunities webpage.

Initial Capabilities Documents

  • Counter-Personnel Tasks
    • Deny access into/out of an area to individuals (open/confined) (single/few/many)
    • Disable individuals (open/confined) (single/few/many)
    • Move individuals through an area (open/confined) (single/few/many)
    • Suppress individuals (open/confined) (single/few/many)
  • Counter-Material Tasks
    • Stop small vehicle
    • Stop medium vehicle
    • Stop large vehicle
    • Disable vehicle/many vehicles
    • Stop small vessel
    • Stop large vessel
    • Disable vessel/many vessels
    • Stop fixed-wing aircraft on the ground
    • Disable aircraft on the ground
    • Divert aircraft in the air
    • Deny access to facility (i.e., block points of entry)

Terms and Definitions

  • Confined Space: An area of varying dimensions/size that has limited or restricted avenues to enter, egress or evade engagement
  • Counter-materiel: Directed effects against materiel (vehicles, vessels, aircraft, buildings, facilities, structures, weapon systems, ammunition and weapons of mass destruction, etc.) Note: Non-lethal counter-materiel effects must remain non-lethal to personnel.
  • Counter-personnel: Directed effects against individual(s) that will not result in permanent injury
  • Deny: An action to hider or prevent the use of space, personnel or facilities
  • Disable: To render ineffective or unable to perform
  • Divert:  To turn aside from a course or direction
  • Facility: A real property entity consisting of one or more of the following: a building, a structure, a utility system, pavement and underlying land
  • Few: Consists of two to seven targets
  • Large Vehicles: Semi-trailers, both boxed and bulk cargo
  • Large Vessels: Vessels more than 100 feet long
  • Many: Consists of seven or more targets
  • Medium vehicles: Small box vans up to and including water/fuel trucks
  • Move: To go or pass to another place or in a certain direction with a continuous motion
  • Non-lethal weapons: Weapons, devices and munitions that are explicitly designed and primarily employed to incapacitate targeted personnel or materiel immediately, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel and undesired damage to property in the target area or environment. Non-lethal weapons are intended to have reversible effects on personnel or materiel
  • Open Space: Any area large enough to allow a target, relative to its size, ultimate avenues to enter, egress or evade engagement (e.g., fields, rural roads, desert, etc.)
  • Single:  Consists of one target
  • Small vehicles: Four-wheeled cargo vans and smaller
  • Small vessels:  Vessels equal to and less than 100 feet in length
  • Stop: 1) To hinder or prevent the passage of; 2) To make impassable: choke, obstruct; 3) To cause to give up or change a course of action; to keep from carrying out a proposed action: restrain, prevent; 4) To cause to cease: check, suppress
  • Suppress: To degrade the ability of an individual(s) to take specified action