Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. --
Marines and sailors aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune attended classes and demonstrations of the new escalation of force equipment, April 2-4, 2013.
The demonstration showcased new gear such as the VENOM non-lethal tube-launched munitions system, escalation of force mission modules and non-lethal optical distracters.
Non-lethal weapons provide today’s military with additional options outside of lethal force. Non-lethal capabilities do not replace lethal force options; instead, they increase the force options available to service members so they can adapt to the missions at hand.
“I am encouraged by the progress that the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate and our partners in industry have made in the development of the non-lethal capabilities,” said General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, as quoted in the Non-Lethal Weapons 101 pamphlet. “In today’s complex operating environments, non-lethal capabilities provide commanders a greater range of escalation-of-force options to accomplish the mission and reduce civilian casualties and collateral damage.”
At present, 96 escalation of force modules have been made, each one containing four small shipping containers. Fifty six of those modules have been fielded across the Marine Corps, all with positive feedback.
“The units that have used it so far have liked the modularity and the ease of being able to transport the gear in cases that they need to get in a vehicle and go,” said Tom Ritchie, from Marine Corps Systems Command. “We are even getting suggestions on better ways to upgrade future gear, so that Marines can use the gear to the full capability.”
Once Marines have completed training, the new non-lethal gear will aid units’ ability to carry out and complete missions such as noncombatant evacuations, humanitarian aid and situations that require non-lethal force.
“With this new gear we can start making situations safer. Instead of only having a few options before using lethal force, we can deescalate the situation before it comes to that,” said Scott Pipenhagen, capabilities integration officer, Headquarters Marine Corps. “This new gear and training is very essential, and as Headquarters Marine Corps we’re doing everything we can to personally come and train units with it.”