In the News

News | Sept. 14, 2009

Marine Corps' Top Leadership Visits the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate

By Jennifer Bowen Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate

QUANTICO, Va. – General James T. Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps and Executive Agent for the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program, and Sgt. Maj. Carlton W. Kent, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, recently visited the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

The DoD defines non-lethal weapons as "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 and materiel." Non-lethal weapons provide warfighters with escalation-of-force options when lethal force is not the best first response. These capabilities assist warfighters in discerning intent, delaying and deterring individuals, and discriminating targets in a variety of missions ranging from full-scale combat to humanitarian relief.

During the commandant's visit, JNLWD Division Chiefs presented an overview of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program, focusing on the program's accomplishments, current efforts and future direction, and highlighting the role of non-lethal weapons in minimizing casualties and collateral damage.

"Briefing the Commandant of the Marine Corps was a tremendous opportunity for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program," said Dave Law, Technology Division Chief for the JNLWD. "He not only acknowledged our special challenges to get non-lethal weapons fielded by the Services, but he pledged to help expand the escalation-of-force concept, which includes non-lethal weapons, to his fellow senior Service leaders."

During the visit, Conway expressed his support for the JNLWP's mission and the staff's efforts, according to John Keenan, Science and Technology Program Manager for the JNLWD. "It was encouraging to hear that the commandant stands firmly behind our mission and recognizes that our contribution may help address some of the complex warfare environments that confront our forces today," said Keenan.

The commandant's visit underscores the importance that DoD leadership is placing on non-lethal capabilities for today's irregular warfare. JNLWD staff members appreciated the direction Gen. Conway and Sgt. Maj. Kent provided during the visit and look forward to continuing the momentum of the non-lethal weapons program.