The Continuing Quest for a Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) System for Military and Civilian Law Enforcement Needs

Since the late 1980s, military, federal, state, and local law enforcement have incorporated NLW or less-than-lethal technology into their daily efforts to discourage or prevent hostile action, temporarily disable attackers, suppress unruly crowds, quell prison riots, and reduce loss of life. Dispersing a crowd safely and quickly with an NLW has been an ongoing topic of research and development for local/federal law enforcement and military agencies. In 1997, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) was established under the supervision of the Marine Corps, whose Commandant acted as the Executive Agent of the program. The program formed out of the Marine Corps’ and Army’s efforts to withdraw the United Nations forces from Somalia during the mid-1990s [1]. Although the program’s origin was for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, the program continues to enhance adaptability