MPs add nonlethal weapons to arsenal
October 15, 2008
<b><i>Phraselators, high-intensity lights among newest batch of nonlethal weapons </b></i>
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Soldiers from the 39th Military Police Detachment, 45th Sustainment Brigade, have a new set of nonlethal tools at their disposal.
MPs received training in the newest nonlethal tools from representatives at the U.S. Army Military Police School's Nonlethal Scalable Effects Center at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo, recently.
This training allows Soldiers to better protect themselves and the civilian populations they serve.
"The nonlethal capabilities set (NLCS) provides a neutralizing effect to the Soldiers that allows them to use the force continuum up to lethal force to incapacitate personnel and vehicles," said Eric Niver, a nonlethal systems specialist from the U.S. Army Nonlethal Scalable Effects Center. "Nonlethal capabilities give military police officers the flexibility to apply a measured response in the use-of-force continuum.
"We are very good at fighting and breaking things and teaching other people to do the same," said Gen. Peter Chiarelli, a former commander of the Multinational Corps in Iraq, three years ago. "But nonlethal effects are critical to winning the war in Iraq. So, if we're really serious about fighting an insurgency, we have to change our culture and accept the importance, and sometimes preeminence, of non-lethal effects."
Chiarelli is currently the Army's vice chief of staff.
"Over the next three years, the NCLS will be fielded to every brigade combat team, military police brigades and maneuver enhancement brigades," said Niver.
The NLCS includes four types of modules for mission-specific tasks: the checkpoint module, crowd control and detainee operations module, convoy module, and dismounted module, which includes various nonlethal items Soldiers can use during dismounted patrols.
"Checkpoint modules are used to establish hasty and deliberate checkpoints," said George Adams, NLCS project officer. "They include tire spikes, known as caltrops, and portable vehicle-arresting barriers that can stop a 7,500-pound vehicle going up to 40 miles per hour."
The check point module also includes mirrors, lights and traffic signs to assist in vehicle inspections.
From time to time, MPs encounter great numbers of angry citizens or detainees. These large groups can be very dangerous; however, MPs are equipped with special nonlethal gear to assist in the containment of such crowds. The gear includes items such as shields, batons and tazers.
Convoy modules are equipped with some of the newest types of nonlethal products for subduing the enemy. Perhaps the two most high-tech products are high-intensity lights and voice amplification devices. High-intensity lights can easily disorient a person, and voice amplification devices allow for maximum dispersion of a message to benefit MPs and friendly forces.
Dismounted modules can support platoon-sized elements in an urban environment.
"The Soldiers will also have at their disposal phraselators, or translators that translate simple English into Arabic," said Niver. "They will be able to hook this device up to a bullhorn or a loud speaker if need be."
All of these pieces of equipment are designed to provide a great deal of safety and security to the civilian population, as well as military personnel in the area. However, the greatest asset MPs have is their knowledge and skills obtained from intense training and real-life experiences.