Intermediate Force Capabilities
The requirement for Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) emerged during U.S. military operations in Somalia. Consequently, the Department of Defense (DoD) NLW Program was created in 1996, the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) was designated as the DoD NLW Program Executive Agent, and the
Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) was established to manage the daily activities of the program.
Since 1996, the DoD has fielded over 50 types of non-lethal weapons, devices, and munitions,
but NLW have advanced beyond traditional capabilities. Cutting-edge technology, such as
Directed Energy, provide tailored, non-lethal effects in support of full spectrum, multi-domain
operations that can reduce the probability of collateral damage. However, in an era of lethality
investment, the “non-lethal” moniker impedes the adoption of the capabilities into the
Therefore, the JNLWD has changed the naming convention from NLW to Intermediate Force
Capabilities (IFCs) to expand awareness of the broader application of the capabilities beyond
the Services combat support communities. Likewise, the JNLWD has been re-designated as the
Joint Intermediate Force Capabilities Office (JIFCO) and the CMC’s Executive Agent’s Planning
Guidance 2020 outlines the mission and vison for the new organization.
Although currently a non-doctrinal term, “IFCs describe capabilities between presence and
lethal force to enable combat arms and support warfighters with expanded and enhanced
options to deter, suppress, and/or respond to adversary actions across the competition
continuum” (Advantage at Sea; TriService Maritime Strategy, Dec 2020).
MARFORPAC serves as the Executive Agent/Lead Service for USINDOPACOM’s Intermediate
Force Capabilities program. As the Lead Service, the component is responsible for the
integration of IFC into the combatant command’s exercises, experiments, and plans.