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The Picatinny Arsenal story: nonlethal capabilities.

The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command's Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TACOM-ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, has responded rapidly to more than 20 urgent operational requests for nonlethal (NL) munitions since 1995. These munitions were fielded to provide the Army with capabilities that filled the gap between "show of force" and lethal fire in peacekeeping missions. More than 150,000 rounds of 40-millimeter and 12-gauge blunt-impact, small-caliber NL munitions and other items have been fielded to date, using accelerated materiel-release fielding procedures that were originally established to support Operation Desert Storm. Picatinny Arsenal fielded these NL munitions to the U.S. Support Group-Haiti for Operation Restore Democracy; Task Force Eagle in Operations Joint Guardian and Endeavor in Bosnia; Task Force Falcon in Kosovo; and locations within the continental United States (CONUS) because assets were urgently needed for predeployment readiness training.

Picatinny Arsenal was able to respond to these real-world requirements because of its proactive investment of Army science and technology funds, thus preparing to provide the Army and joint services with the new capabilities associated with the post-Cold War era's increasing incidence of stability and support operations. Significantly, Picatinny Arsenal initially provided these NL capabilities before any formal operational requirements were generated. This created a contingency stockpile of NL munitions that increased emergency-basis asset availability and provided a rapid-response fielding until standard munitions could be developed and fielded through formal product manager programs (an ongoing process).

This anticipation of user needs and ability to field badly needed materiel capabilities led to Picatinny Arsenal's being selected to provide support to the Army's Project Manager, Close Combat Systems (PM CCS). The PM CCS mission is fielding standard Nonlethal Capability Sets (NLCSs) to the Army. In this support role, from March 2000 to the present, Picatinny Arsenal helped field NLCSs to the following areas:

* U.S. Army Europe (Kosovo and Bosnia)

* Forces Command (Fort Drum, New York, and Fort Lewis, Washington)

* Central Command (Kuwait)

* Southern Command (Guantanamo Bay)

* Crane Army Ammunition Activity (integrating NL assets into sets)

* Other CONUS and outside CONUS locations

Within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Picatinny Arsenal is leading the way toward complying with a defense capability initiative requiring that members have NL capabilities by 2005.

Feedback from the in-theater use of fielded NL munitions has been highly encouraging. In April 2000, Task Force Falcon in Sevce, Kosovo, used 40-millimeter NL munitions during a significant crowd-control engagement--U.S. soldiers were being hit with tree branches and stones. Lieutenant Colonel James Brown, the Task Force Falcon Provost Marshall, said, "The bottom line was ... NL munitions worked well and kept us from having to kill someone." Significantly, the MP battalion involved in this incident was awarded the prestigious Holland Award for its conduct in this first major incident using NL munitions. For a detailed look at this mission, see article on page 27.

NL munitions fielded by Picatinny Arsenal were used in a second incident in February 2001, in Pasjane, Kosovo. There, U.S. forces were able to completely disperse an unruly mob--without loss of life--that had grown rapidly from 100 to 300 individuals by selectively targeting specific people. Picatinny Arsenal continues to proactively provide the critical NL capabilities U.S. soldiers need to enhance their effectiveness in peacekeeping missions.

Mr. John Cline is the systems manager of the Nonlethal Technology Integration Cell at TACOM-ARDEC, Picatinny Arsenal He graduated from Villanova University in 1982 with a bachelor's in mechanical engineering, earned a master's in business administration from Florida Tech in 1987, and is Army Acquisition Corps-certified.
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Author:Cline, John
Publication:Military Police
Date:Apr 1, 2003
Words:589
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