Exposed: The Military’s Freakiest ‘Non-Lethal’ Weapon Ideas

Exposed: The Military’s Freakiest ‘Non-Lethal’ Weapon Ideas

by Katie Drummond

Global Research, January 5, 2012
The Danger Room

Tasers that elicit excruciating spasms in one person at a time? Foam pellets that send an entire crowd fleeing in agony? Pfft. So 2011. Where non-lethal weapons are concerned, the future’s all about sonic microwaves that can make swimmers puke mid-stroke, and aircraft with laser beams that can redirect an entire enemy plane mid-flight.

Or, at least, those are the deepest, darkest wishes of the Pentagon agency responsible for non-lethal weapons.

The military’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate’s “Non-Lethal Weapons Reference Book,” leaked online last week by, is a terrifying treasure trove that describes dozens of ways — some already in-use, others in development or still mere fantasy — for military and law enforcement officials to make you wish they were using the real bullets.

A total of 14 weapons, according to the reference book, are currently being fielded. Some of ‘em, you’ve heard of. Good old tasers, which the guide helpfully reminds us “can penetrate 2 inches of clothing” in order to “totally disable an individual,” and guns that shoot 600 rubber pellets filled with pepper spray to keep rowdy crowds — already used by law enforcement officials, sometimes with very lethal results — subdued.

Most of the guide, however, offers a sneak peak at the military’s dream non-lethal arms cache.

Dozens of the devices are currently in development. There’s an “Impulse Swimmer Gun” that uses “pulsed sound waves” to cause “auditory impairment and/or nausea” among scuba divers engaged in “unauthorized underwater activities”; A system that relies on “high-power microwaves” to block oncoming cars and any (oops) “unintended targets within the target area”; A vehicle-mounted tube launcher that’ll unleash “ocular and auditory impairment” combined with “thermal heating” to utterly devastate a horde of wrongdoers.

And then there are the fantasy projects. The agency want a new and improved taser that can “substantially increase the duration of disabling effects.” They’re also after a high-powered microwave system that can be hooked up to a drone or a ship, and then used to trigger “electrical system malfunction” on enemy boats. Danger Room’s personal favorite, though, is a system of “pulsed laser[s]” on the tip of an airplane, used to “externally control the steering forces” of a foe’s aircraft, in order to “divert [it] from restricted area.”

Of course, the directorate can’t spend all its time dreaming up torturous new toys. They’ve still gotta fix the busted up old ones.

Take their oft-derided “Active Denial System,” (ADS) a pain beam likened by one Pentagon official to “an intolerable heating sensation…like opening up an oven door.”

The system cost a whopping $55 million to develop before being canceled in 2008, only to be hustled into Afghanistan two years later despite myriad technical problems that made the ADS “logistic[ally] too tough to bring to a warzone.”

Now, the directorate is after a next-gen model. Among their conceptual projects is an ADS that’d actually work, thanks to “drastically reduce[d] size, weight, cost…and ‘shoot-on-the-move’ capabilities.” But why stop there? The directorate also wants an aerial ADS, to beam out burning sensations from above.

There’s no question that folks at JNLWD have some freaky fantasies on the brain. But it’s unclear just how many of the systems being created or dreamed up will ever make it to widespread use.

After all, as a GAO report noted in 2008, the agency has yet to successfully, you know, “develop any new weapons.” Good thing, considering they’ve also failed to figure out what constitutes an “acceptable risk” for human targets of the non-lethal arms.

Images: U.S. Army; JNLWD

Global Research Articles by Katie Drummond


2 responses to “Exposed: The Military’s Freakiest ‘Non-Lethal’ Weapon Ideas







    1TheRevolutionIsNow on 10 Dec 2011

    ***** The Pentagon’s “1033 program”: giving free military equipment to Police departments around the U.S. *****

    *The police in the United States have been steadily militarized over the past decade to the point of absurdity, as recently exemplified by police.

    * “Benjamin Carlson of The Daily” covered one of the more unsettling recent developments in this militarization of police, the Department of Defense’s obscure “1033 program” which has given away almost $500 million in leftover military equipment to law enforcement in the fiscal year of 2011.

    *This year’s total is more than double the amount of equipment handed out in 2010, which was $212 million worth of military gear, setting a new record for the program.

    Included in this distribution of military equipment are: armored vehicles, tanks, along with M-16 assault rifles, grenade launchers, helicopters and even military robots.

    Yet the 1033 program looks like it is getting even worse, with orders for the fiscal year 2012 being up 400% over the same period in 2011 according to data provided by the Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency to ‘The Daily’.

    *If it keeps at this pace, that would mean $2 billion in equipment for American police departments in the fiscal year 2012.

    *The “1033 program” was passed by Congress in 1997, which I found quite interesting as most of these programs have been pushed in the wake of September 11th, 2001, under the pretext of fighting the so-called “war on terror.”

    *However, even then, their justification was that it would be used to fight ‘drugs and terrorism’ and since it began, over 17,000 law enforcement agencies have accepted $2.6 billion in military equipment, only having to pay for the cost of delivering the gear.

    While the gear is practically free, the costs of maintaining the equipment and insuring it fall on the respective law enforcement agencies, meaning it falls directly on the “taxpayer”.

    *We have seen these tactics and equipment most recently in the many crackdowns on the legal and peaceful Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the nation, which were a coordinated effort as revealed by Oakland Mayor, Jean Quan.

    *The director of the Cato Institute’s project on criminal justice, Tim Lynch, addressed my surprised reaction to seeing that this program was enacted long before September 11th, 2001, in a statement to ‘The Daily.’

    “The trend toward militarization was well under way before 9/11, but it’s the federal policy of making surplus military equipment available almost for free that has poured fuel on this fire,” Lynch said.

    *”The” cites some examples of this insane militarization effort in mentioning that in Cobb County, Georgia. incidentally one of the most educated and wealthy state in all of the United States, now have an amphibious tank.

    *Similarly, the sheriff of South Carolina’s Richland County is now in possession of what he fondly calls “The Peacemaker,” an armored personnel carrier (APC) outfitted with a machine gun.

    *The most absurd aspect of the ‘1033 program’ is that it is in addition to the Department of Homeland Security grants which allow police departments to purchase vehicles like the “BearCats” | covered briefly many months ago.

    Various models of the “BearCat” weigh in around 16,000 pounds, are bulletproof and outfitted with gun ports, battering rams, tear gas dispensers and radiation detectors, among many other bells and whistles which police never use and never actually needed in the first place.

    The Orlando Sentinel reported that more than 500 of these vehicles — which inarguably bear a remarkable resemblance to military tanks — have been sold by their Massachusetts-based manufacturer – “Lenco”.

    *As I have previously pointed out, this is a move toward de facto martial law, which means that martial law would never have to be formally declared since the police could act as military forces instead of actually having to roll out the military.

    Of course, S.1867 would erase that need as it would indeed spell the end of the Posse Comitatus Act by allowing the military to capture and indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial.

    Furthermore, under 1301 it would allow any American citizen to be transferred to any foreign country or foreign entity, allowing for torture or extrajudicial execution.

    – Activist



    All this is… is something that has been planned and put into action under the Bush Administration. This is the implementation of the law brought fourth by the leaders of the New World order. This is close to the end of what we as free Americans now know as freedom.
    MrBurnette1 1 week ago

    Good Golly, Molly … America is acting more and more like a Paranoid Schizophrenic w/ Narcissitic and anti-Social Personality disorders. This is evident in its long history of provoking foreign conflicts, undermining economies & civil governance, establishing neoliberal dependencies & bureacratic technocracies serving as client-state proxies paying tribute to the US’s own corporate Police State kleptocracy — & esp. by villianizing protestors while protecting biggest elite financial criminals.

    We’re about to have a civil uprising.
    yami700thumper 3 weeks ago

    Im so glad i dont live in USA. freedom? yea right
    Kleanmonkey 3 weeks ago 2

  2. So much like Weimar Germany…… Amazing! I just hope they crumble the same way

    when people don’t know much about history – and rely on dodgy news casts…they can’t see what they walk into……it’s scary just like watching a tv replay……………

    This created debt crisis could be used to give reason to enact marshal law. Yes.
    webmaster2850 5 months ago

    new years eve Obama did the honours..

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