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Player Avatar jonhebert (87.01) Submitted: 4/5/2009 9:02:27 AM : Outperform Start Price: $4.74 TASR Score: +43.13

With economy in the tank crime will continue to rise. Police with encounter more calls requiring use of force.

Member Avatar police12345 (< 20) Submitted: 2/11/2011 10:57:47 AM
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2-star supports more use of nonlethal weapons

Electroshock, other devices could prevent civilian casualties in Afghanistan
By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 2, 2011 5:00:07 EST

The top Marine commander in Afghanistan is interested in giving Marines in combat more nonlethal weapons, including electroshock weapons such as the Taser device.

Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, commander of Regional Command Southwest, said nonlethal weapons could prevent civilian casualties and give Marines and soldiers the ability to better confront situations in which it isn’t clear whether lethal force is necessary.

“I am a supporter of nonlethal weapons,” he said. “I would like to see some suite of those weapons provided to us over here. I think it would be an addition to what we already have to make our escalation-of-force incidents a little bit easier to handle, and some of the other incidents a little bit less lethal, perhaps, to our civilian friends.”

Mills said he has seen “various weapons” that could be useful, and acknowledged Taser devices are among them.

“I think that there are some Taser developments which are interesting,” he said.

Mills did not detail which weapons he is interested in, but the Corps is working to address a perceived capability gap in “disable point target” engagements, in which a Marine could engage and stop an individual through nonlethal means, said Ray Grundy, head of the escalation-of-force branch at Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

Grundy would not say whether electroshock devices, such as the Taser, could be used to fill the capability gap, but said the Corps will look to the defense industry for an answer.

“We have to stick to the process, which is to define the attributes we need, look at alternatives and see what comes out of that,” he said.

Mills’ command, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), has considered fielding Taser rifles or pistols to all Marines who come into contact with the Afghan population, said Maj. Gabrielle Chapin, a Marine spokeswoman in Afghanistan. However, the “tactical situation has not allowed for further movement on procuring and fielding Tasers,” she said.

Taser has at least three devices that are currently under review by the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program, out of Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. The most common is the X26 device, which is already fielded to some military personnel, and is commonly used by law enforcement, officials said. It features a pistol-like design that fires two electrodes on a wire up to 35 feet to incapacitate someone with temporary, painful effects.

The nonlethal program also is reviewing at least two nontethered Taser rounds that would be fired from small arms, said Col. Tracy Taffola, director of the joint nonlethal program.

The 40mm HEMI round, short for Human Electromuscular Incapacitation, can be fired up to 100 meters from the M203, M320 and M32 grenade launchers, deploying a shock for up to 30 seconds after it hits an individual. Officials also are considering a Taser round for use with a 12-gauge shotgun. Known as the eXtended Range Electronic Projectile, or XREP, it delivers effects similar to the standard X26 Taser, but at a range of up to 100 feet.

No program of record exists for the HEMI and XREP rounds, but the X26 has been fielded for several years, officials said.

Taffola said U.S. Central Command recently conducted a survey of troops to assess what nonlethal weapons may be necessary in the field.

“Trying to temporarily incapacitate someone is one of our goals,” he said. “We’re not going to win a counterinsurgency by killing everybody, and that has been well-stated by a lot of people.”

Electroshock devices such as the Taser are “ideal for situations of uncertainty,” including engagements at vehicle checkpoints, in enclosed room-clearing situations and on some patrols, said retired Marine Col. George Fenton, vice president of government and military programs at Taser. If the military incorporates them into training at installations such as Twentynine Palms, Calif., it will allow grunts to weigh in as tactics, techniques and procedures for their usage are developed, he said.

“The people that we need to ask are not the generals and retired colonels,” said Fenton, a former director of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program. “It’s the corporals and sergeants. It’s the people with mud on their boots.”

Other nonlethals

By no means is the Corps interested only in Tasers, however. In fact, Marines in Afghanistan received 20 of the Corps’ new Escalation of Force – Mission Modules late last year, Grundy said.

Stored in a transportable case, the kit can be tailored to specific missions, and includes everything from dazzling lasers used to temporarily blind civilians to translator devices such as the Phrasealator, a handheld device that uses speech recognition software to allow service members to communicate with people who do not speak English through prerecorded audio phrases. The Corps’ sets are organized into four categories: crowd control, convoy operations, dismounted patrolling and checkpoints.

I MEF Fwd. also submitted an urgent universal needs statement on Sept. 20 for nonlethal 40mm ammunition that could be fired using everything from the M203 to the VENOM launcher, a nonlethal system that can deliver a high volume of nonlethal projectiles at one time, particularly in convoys and at vehicle checkpoints. Marines in Afghanistan want 40mm rounds that cause an “audible, visible and sensory deterrent,” Chapin said. They also must be able to hit a vehicle without detonating, but cause loud noises.

Each infantry battalion also already is equipped with hundreds of dazzling lasers in several sizes. They are used to warn people on motorcycles and vehicles away from sensitive areas and checkpoints without harming them. The lasers are considers eye-safe as long as they are deployed from pre-defined distances that vary in range depending on the device.

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