In the News

Non-lethal: deny, move, disperse

By Melissa Buckley Fort Leonard Wood Guidon

Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. – Broadcasts of demonstrators protesting and storming buildings are flooding media outlets right now, making it obvious why Fort Leonard Wood’s Interservice Nonlethal Individual Weapons Instructor Course is critical to our current society.

“INIWIC trains service members to become subject-matter experts for a unit commander on nonlethal tactics, techniques and procedures. These subject-matter experts are able to provide valuable input to commanders on how and when to employ nonlethal weapons as units plan the different phases of an operation,” said Lt. Col. Yvonne Miller, Army Nonlethal Scalable Effects Center chief, U.S. Army Military Police School.

Miller said Fort Leonard Wood’s INIWIC is critical to how strategic land power addresses the human aspects of conflict.

“Conflicts are centered around the people, so one of the focuses of strategic land power is determining how to influence people. In order to prevent conflict and shape the environment, the Army must be regionally engaged and aware of the implications of our actions within different cultures,” Miller said.

INIWIC is a train-the-trainer course — graduates will return to their home stations and train their units as user-level nonlethal weapons employers.

According to Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Kirk, INIWIC staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Fort Leonard Wood’s INIWIC is the sole Department of Defense nonlethal weapons and capabilities program at the instructor level.

Some of the classes taught during the two-week course are Interpersonal Communication Skills, Policies Relevant to the Application of Force, Close Range Subject Control, Oleoresin Capsicum Training, TASER Training, Acoustic Hailing Devices, Civil Disturbance Techniques/Formations, Ocular Hail and Warning Devices, Vehicle Arresting Devices and Nonlethal Munitions.

The course is taught by members from all the services and is open to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Department of Defense civilians and foreign military.

Kirk said any military occupational specialties can take the class as long as they are E-4 and above for Marines, and E-5 and above for the rest of the branches.

About 525 people graduate from the INIWIC each year. Kirk said he and the other instructors teach 12 in-resident courses on Fort Leonard Wood and dispatch two mobile training teams each year.

Miller said the goal is to integrate nonlethal capabilities into a decisive action rotation at the Combat Training Centers, such as the National Training Center. “INIWIC can provide the unit’s subject-matter experts to assist in planning the utilization of nonlethal capabilities. Nonlethal effects must be considered in responding to hybrid threats that units will encounter during CTC rotations,” Miller said.

Marine Sgt. Patrick Shanahan, a military police canine handler from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, recently graduated from the course.

He said he wanted to take the course to make him a more well-rounded MP, and expressed he was glad he made the trip to Missouri.

“I was under the impression that we were only going to be learning OC spray and TASER. We have covered so many nonlethal ammunitions, laser capabilities and acoustic hailing devices. I had no idea about that kind of stuff. It’s been an eye-opening course. I am ready to take it back to my command and show them all of the different assets they have,” Shanahan said. “The instructors here put a lot of time in. They bring a lot of real world experience to the table.”

Miller said the joint services face an uncertain and complex future environment that will increasingly operate among people.

“Nonlethal capabilities will provide units the ability to influence the actions of both the enemy and non-combatants. Nonlethal weapons are particularly useful when the use of lethal force may jeopardize strategic objectives,” Miller said.