Comments: The Quest for the Nonkiller App.

I was in the military and then law enforcement. Most of the training is not transferrable. The military recognises this by establishing, at least in the Air Force, two different job descriptions: 1) security and 2) law enforcement.

Law enforcement has a wide range of non-lethal equipment and techniques designed to capture and/or control people. Law enforcement is taught not to use deadly force unless they are sure it is justified and it doesn't endanger the innocent, and the military rules are the opposite.

Kent State demonstrated what happens when you use the military for police functions.

It isn't just the tools, it's the training. An infantry private will always go for his/her weapon and use it.

Posted by Bryan at July 31, 2004 09:43 PM

Yes, but they deal with that, in the article. I think it's clear that as the nature of the wars we fight is changing, the training for our military will have to change to suit the new parameters.

It's still war, okay? I don't think anyone is denying that. It's still war and there will be death and dismemberment and occasional atrocities. But giving an alternative to "kill or be killed" opens up options we're going to need, and to need bacly, in the future.

IMO, of course.

Posted by Anne at August 1, 2004 11:24 AM

thanks for posting on this subject and giving it some visibility. As I mentioned, it's one of the areas some of us having been pushing hard here in DoD.

People will always find reasons to be critical of non-lethal technology; however, it's more than just the systems. It's a reflection of a change in culture and thinking within DoD - these are not relatively expensive (for DoD) systems, but potentially offer a greater number of options for military personnel on the ground whose actions increasingly have strategic consequences.

Strategic Military Outcomes are a function of both power and moral principles - given our superiority in the power component, the US is increasingly attacked along the moral principle aspect. There a few of us who support Cebrowski's point that there is a ''moral imperative to suppress the violence of statecraft."

There is finally being some shifts due to the influence of Colin Powell over at State as well. I think we need more change in the DoD-State relationship in order to better link the diplomatic and military elements of national power.

Posted by Col Steve at August 2, 2004 08:57 AM

I wasn't being very clear. The military needs non-lethal weapons and the people who use them. It needs to "undo" one of the major changes that was implemented and bring back the Civic Affairs units back into the Regular military from its isolation in the Guard and Reserve.

The Civic Affairs units need to follow the Combat Arms troops and take over the occupation. It is more efficient and effective to separate the two, than to try to get the Infantry to flip a switch and become MPs.

The peace keeping missions are almost all police missions, not military missions.

Posted by Bryan at August 2, 2004 03:55 PM