Magazine article National Defense

Military Needs Nonlethal Weapons to Disable Hostile Vehicles and Boats

Magazine article National Defense

Military Needs Nonlethal Weapons to Disable Hostile Vehicles and Boats

Article excerpt

The Defense Department's nonlethal weapons organization is seeking technologies that can help disable motor vehicles and halt small boats.

"We're committed to expanding war fighters' capabilities," says Marine Corps Col. Tracy J. Tafolla, who became director of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate in July.

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Nonlethal weapons, which are mainstream tools in law enforcement, are gradually becoming part of the military's kitbag. In current conflicts, commanders "want to limit collateral damage and undue injuries to the civilian population," Tafolla says in an interview.

The directorate has an annual budget of $65 million and although it's a joint-service agency, it fails under the purview of the commandant of the Marine Corps.

Of late, there has been a growing demand for weapons that can stop vehicles and small boats from standoff ranges without injuring their occupants,

Tafolla says. "There's a number of programs we're looking at to shut down electronics, engines and propulsion systems. …

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