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Developing and Fielding Non-Lethal Weapons: The Marine Corps and Army Approach

By Ross Miller and Nathan Rush | July 25, 2017

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Changes in modern warfare have included a remarkable shift in the international security mosaic. While threats from traditional state actors still exist, threats from nonstate actors have emerged in ways that have added to the complexity of national security challenges. As the world’s population continues to migrate to urban areas, adversaries are increasingly adapting their tactics to conduct operations in and among noncombatant populations to counter U.S. forces’ abilities to maneuver and engage with lethal capabilities to defeat them. Therefore, developing capabilities that enable our forces to achieve our campaign objectives, while simultaneously minimizing the adverse effects of military operations on civil populations, is essential to our success as a military. Our capabilities must be flexible, effective, affordable, and robust enough to allow us to effectively and efficiently organize, train, and equip our force for a wide range of operational contingencies—hence the need for non-lethal weapons (NLW).

This article outlines the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army approach to developing and fielding NLWs and comprises information provided by the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP) Support Officers for those organizations.