MICROWAVE NEWS, November/December 1993, pp. 9, 10 (PDF):
Military on Nonlethal Weapons: ‘A Very Attractive Option’
Most research into nonlethal weapons takes place under a veil of secrecy, but now and then some clues about it do emerge—if only in the program notes for a research conference.
About 400 scientists who are developing nonlethal technologies—such as radiofrequency (RF) radiation, electromagnetic pulse (EMPj, extremely low frequency (ELF) fields, lasers and chemicals—exchanged ideas at a classified meeting hosted by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD, November 16-17. Presentations ranged from discussions of high-power microwaves (HPM) to a report on “sticky foams,” which are proposed as a way of stopping enemy troops.
Dr. Clay Easterly of Oak Ridge National Lab in Oak Ridge, TN, led a session on the use of ELF EMFs. “My major point was that there seem to be some biological sensitivities or responses [to ELF fields] that could in the future be useful for nonlethal technology,” Easterly told Microwave News. Noting that the conference was closed to anyone without a security clearance, he said he could not discuss the specific effects he referred to in his talk. But he emphasized that information in the open literature can be applicable: “There seem to be some phenomena not associated with thermal effects that could be useful.”
Easterly said that, while the military is primarily interested in the use of nonionizing radiation to disable enemy electronics, his presentation dealt with the possibility of developing measures that would affect people.
Dr. George Baker of the Defense Nuclear Agency in Washington titled his paper “RF Weapons: A Very Attractive Nonlethal Option.” But it is difficult to know, based on unclassified information, whether or not this “option” has ever been used.
Reports have circulated that the U.S. military has EMP and HPM weapons in its arsenal and that these may have been used during the Gulf War (see MWN, M/J92 and S/092). There were also allegations that non-ionizing radiation was used against the women’s peace activist encampment at Greenham Common in the U.K. in the mid-1980s (see MWN, S/086).
The conference, sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, focused on both military and law enforcement applications for nonlethal technologies. Dr. Edward Teller and Attorney General Janet Reno were scheduled as keynote speakers, though Reno was unable to attend and had David Boyd of the National Institute of Justice deliver her talk.
Noting the strong turnout. Los Alamos spokesman Jim Danneskiold said that there will likely be a follow-up conference. (For a report on a 1986 conference on HPM, see MWN, J/F87; see also. MWN, N/D86.)
Danneskiold also pointed out that Dr. John Alexander, Los Alamos’ program manager for nonlethai defense and chairman of the conference, recently presented his ideas lo the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. The group was receptive, he said, and will soon issue a report favoring the development of these technologies.
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