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Training with the nonlethal capability set.

The nonlethal capability set (NLCS) provides a wealth of tools that a commander can use to support force protection and peacekeeping missions in a variety of threat environments. Nonlethal capabilities can be incorporated into the following:

* Installation perimeter security.

* Troop or supply convoy security.

* Access denial.

* Entry-point crowd control.

* Camp detainee control.

The commander's creativity and the soldier's training are the only real limitations to using the NLCS.

Most of the NLCS equipment, by itself, is deceptively simple, but some requires a considerable amount of training before successful emplacement and operation. The portable vehicle-arresting barrier (PVAB) is such an item. At the touch of a button, the PVAB raises a net across a roadway. This net can capture and immobilize a vehicle traveling up to 45 miles per hour without injuring its occupants. Pushing the button is easy--assembling the net, cables, pneumatic erectors, electronic actuators, and anchoring systems properly is fairly complex. The challenge here is to train a unit to incorporate effectively some or all of the NCLS to achieve mission success. To meet this challenge, we developed the NLCS training support package (TSP).

The NLCS TSP is a tool unit trainers use when preparing their unit for deployment. The first draft of the TSP was developed in March 2001. The first use of the TSP was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, from 4 to 8 March by the 716th Military Police Battalion for members of the 2/502 Infantry, and 3/502 Infantry. What follows is a description of this training and the TSP.


The TSP consists of both classroom and hands-on training for staff planners (up to battalion level), company-level leaders, and soldiers who will use the set. The intent is to effectively prepare any unit for this portion of its mission in the shortest time possible.

Just before deployment, designated units receive detailed training in the operation and employment of the NLCS using the TSP. Military occupational specialties trained using the TSP have ranged from MP, to infantry, to air defense. The TSP is based on the Interservice Nonlethal Individual Weapons Instructor Course, existing Joint and Army doctrine, and lessons learned from units that have used nonlethal capabilities. The following is a description of the lessons:

Equipment Overview

The equipment overview provides a quick rundown of the characteristics, use, and maintenance of the equipment contained in the NLCS. This is the only training for many of the simpler items such as flashlights and bullhorns.

Media Relations

You are hot, dead tired, and covered in sweat and dirt. You are headed back to the vehicles for the ride "home." The operation was a success. It took a couple of hours and things got pretty physical, but your platoon dispersed the crowd without any serious injuries. Suddenly a microphone appears and a reporter is asking questions. His partner, with camera rolling, stands a few feet away. They want your comments to go with the video they shot of the operation. They plan to show some of the video they just shot and your comments on the evening news back in the United States in about 12 hours. Sound familiar?

This situation has become a common part of peacekeeping operations around the world. Leaders and soldiers learn how to interact with the media effectively before, during, and after missions. This lesson discusses the impact of media operations on commanders and identifies methods, tactics, and techniques that allow commanders to accomplish their mission while at the same time inform the public.

Crowd-Control Dynamics and Communication Skills

A key principle is to know your adversary, his purpose, and his reaction to various situations. Crowd-control dynamics teaches soldiers to assess a crowd situation quickly and decide what to do to prevent a riot from beginning or stop one in progress. The different types of crowds, the behavioral aspects of crowds during civil disturbances, and the factors affecting crowd behavior are outlined. More of this information is taught in the communications skills lesson plan. The principles, skills, and techniques of recognizing, reducing, and managing anxious, aggressive, and violent individuals/groups are covered. Cultural differences that can cause a leader or soldier to escalate the situation unintentionally are explained.


The NLCS is one of many tools for commanders to use in mission accomplishment. The tactics lesson discusses the integration of nonlethal and lethal capabilities. Some topics covered are--

* Planning and logistical considerations; for example, communications and terrain.

* Understanding the types of obstacles that adversaries may use.

* Using aviation resources for movement and observation.

* Employing a nonlethally equipped platoon in a quick-reaction force or crowd-control mission.

The fact that the unit must always be ready to transition to lethal combat operations immediately is emphasized.


As the training progresses, the emphasis shifts to hands-on training. Soldiers are given individual/group training on the riot baton and body shield using the crawl-walk-run methodology. Individuals are taught how to defend against thrown objects and retain possession of their shield. They are then shown how to present a mutually supportive crowd barrier and move into various positions without allowing breaks in the barrier. Individuals practice the correct use of the riot baton against aggressors who are holding strike bags or wearing a training suit for protection. Gunners practice firing nonlethal munitions on a standard ruing range. The gunners then fire from behind the shield holders just as they would in a crowd-control formation.

Bringing it all Together

When the unit leadership is satisfied with the soldiers' individual performance, platoon-level operations training begins. The soldiers assume their positions in various crowd-control formations and practice moving as part of the formation. They also practice changing from one formation to another on command. Gunners conduct live-weapons fire from within the full formation.

The Final Test

Each platoon must complete simulated missions that test its readiness to employ nonlethal capabilities. Although several sample missions are provided, these may be modified to fit real-life deployment situations. The opposing force (OPFOR) soldiers, dressed as civilians, are instructed on their role and responses to various platoon actions. Reducing the risk of injury or damaged equipment is critical--tennis balls serve as rocks and lengths of PVC pipe as sticks.

First, the chief evaluator gives the platoon leader a mission. The platoon leader must rapidly formulate a plan, issue a fragmentary order, inspect the platoon, and move toward the incident. The evaluators monitor the platoon's activities, assess how well it overcomes obstacles, and observe its arrival on the scene.

These simulated missions are structured so that the platoon must practice all of its previous training. (NOTE: For obvious safety reasons, no actual munitions are fired.) The evaluators escalate or deescalate the actions of the OPFOR crowd in response to the platoon's performance. Immediately after the chief evaluator halts the engagement, the Public Affairs Office staff, who act as representatives of the national and local media, interview platoon members. At the end of the interviews, an after-action review takes place. Additional training and practice are given until the unit commander is satisfied.

Changing the TSP

Keeping the TSP current during changing times when nonlethal doctrine is still emerging is a significant challenge. The trick is to provide training for new equipment and doctrine as it is fielded (but not before) so that training matches the equipment and doctrine that units will use during deployment.

To provide the most current information possible to the field, lesson plans, suggested training schedules, training aids, references, and other useful documents are posted on the Worldwide Web at A link to the Web page is posted on the United States Army Military Police School Home Page under "resources." Your comments and suggestions are strongly encouraged.

Mr. George Anderson is the Chief of the MP Warfighter Modernization Division, DOTD, MANSCEN.
COPYRIGHT 2002 U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Military Police
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2002
Previous Article:Army MP and homeland defense in World War II.
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