Identifying cultural factors affecting the use of non-lethal weapons
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
Non-lethal weapons (NLWs) provide useful options to military commanders in operations other than war such as those currently underway in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, commanders are not well-informed about the psychological and behavioral effects of these weapons on their targets. Relevant data are simply in short supply. Even less known are differences in the reactions to NLWs by members of different cultures; using a particular weapon in one culture may de-escalate violence whereas using the same weapon in a similar situation in another culture may escalate violence. This project will use structured interviews and focus groups with US and non-US personnel experienced in the use of NLWs to identify differences in the reactions of individuals and groups to the use of NLWs between cultures. Phase I will provide some of the information necessary for commanders to make the right decisions regarding the use of non-lethal weapons in a variety of cultural settings. The output of Phase I can help guide the development of tactics, techniques, procedures, and tools that will improve US performance in crowd situations and other situations that could see the use of NLWs. Results may also guide future research on cultural differences and NLW effects.
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