The Human Effects Center of Excellence was founded to provided assistance and advice to program managers concerning likely effects of non-lethal technologies and the risks associated with those effects. The approach used by the Human Effects Center of Excellence promotes a common non-lethal weapons human effects language to ensure consistent use of terminology among the Department of Defense non-lethal weapons community. The center also provides recommendations on which laboratories or field activities can collect scientifically derived-information when such is not already available.
The Human Effects Review Board consists of representatives from the Services' Surgeon General offices and the office of the Medical Officer of the Marine Corps. The Human Effects Review Board provides program managers and milestone decision authorities with an independent measure of risk and recommends actions that can further reduce risks.
The Human Effects Advisory Panel is an independent panel of non-governmental personnel recognized as experts in their fields and selected from academia, the medical community, and law enforcement. The Human Effects Advisory Panel is intended to review and provide input on health effect risks to the program manager of non-lethal programs prior to production decision. The Human Effects Advisory Panel also provides reviews of human effects research plans.
Several focus areas have been established within non-lethal human effects research. These include risk assessment, effects-based design and modeling, and non-lethal effectiveness. These knowledge areas are fundamental to understanding the safety and effectiveness of developing and next-generation non-lethal technologies.
Risk assessment is a process that allows weapons developers to visualize a non-lethal system's human effects. This visualization clarifies and outlines the risks associated with the system and allows developers to determine if there is a way to use the system while mitigating risks. For example, curves are generated to define the relationship between military utility and risk of injury.
Human effects-based design is an approach whereby non-lethal technologies are evaluated by their potential to produce intended and unintended effects and then research plans are developed to address gaps in understanding. These evaluations ultimately support the development of non-lethal capabilities specifically designed to mitigate known capability gaps.
The results of human effects research provide key data points that support the development of non-lethal human effects modeling and simulation tools. In an effort to produce a common resource to predict human effects and complement the Human Effects Risk Characterization process, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program has sponsored an effort to develop an Advanced Total Body Model for predicting the effects of non-lethal impacts. Beginning in 2004, efforts have been made to improve the fidelity of the Advanced Total Body Model through finite element modeling. The Advanced Total Body Model continues to be modified to allow for interface with external non-lethal bioeffects models. The intent is to develop a suite of models for the assessment of many new non-lethal stimuli specifically related to next-generation non-lethal directed energy weapons. This modeling suite constitutes the Human Effects Modeling Analysis Program.
The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program non-lethal human effects community has begun to increase its focus on improving the characterization and quantification of non-lethal weapon effectiveness. In other words, researchers are attempting to better answer the question of how well the human response relates to desired mission outcomes. This area of research is critical to ensuring that the end user will get reliable, repeatable, and safe results from future non-lethal capabilities. Several efforts are ongoing in the focus area.