Author:Magnuson, Stew
Position:Conference notes

A Lack of Love for Nonlethal Weapons

* The awkwardness was palpable at a recent industry conference when nearly half of the attendees in the ballroom billowed out as the panel discussion transitioned from guns and ammo to nonlethal weapons.

And Marine Corps Col. Wendell Leimbach, director of the Defense Department's joint nonlethal weapons directorate, was having none of it. "The mass exodus that occurred right before our eyes is indicative of precisely the problem" surrounding these technologies, he told the remaining participants at NDIA's Armament Systems Forum.

"The conversation that I listened to throughout the entire day... is consistent with what I've been hearing across the DoD since I've become the director of the joint nonlethal weapons directorate--and that is lethality is [of] the utmost importance," he said.

Calling himself a "lethality junkie" who grew up as a tank officer, Leimbach said nonlethal weapons are of critical importance as the military faces increasing "gray zone" conflicts with peer competitors.

"We are not currently building capabilities that enable our warfighters that are out there engaging in those gray zone operations to actually compete. That's the problem," he said. Weapons that don't kill an adversary are a solution, but "you saw everybody walk out the door because they don't even want to talk about it because it's nonlethal."

Read more about the Pentagon's effort to develop new nonlethal weapons in the August issue.

Reading--and Passing the Ball--is Fundamental

* Air Force Lt. Gen. B.J. Shwedo, chief information officer and director for command, control, communications and computers/cyber for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, compared modern information warfare to six-year-olds all running after the same soccer ball--and that ball represents cyber operations. "What I want to do is spread out and play 12-year-old soccer" using the...

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