Information Warfare: August 22, 2005


After over a decade of development and testing, the U.S. Department of Defense is still reluctant to send its microwave Active Defense System (ADS) to Iraq or Afghanistan. Instead, another $7 million is being spent on more testing. To make sure this "non-lethal" device lives up to its name. The defense bureaucrats are deathly afraid that this non-lethal weapon will hurt someone. They know well that the blowback from that would be lethal to the careers of those who signed off on ADS being non-lethal. 

The microwave ADS looks like a radar dish. When pointed at people and turned on, it creates a burning sensation on the skin of its victims, causing them to want to leave the area, or at least greatly distracts them. The microwave weapon has a range of about 500 meters. ADS is carried on a hummer or Stryker, along with a machine-gun and other non-lethal weapons. The proposed ROE (Rules of Engagement) for ADS are that anyone who keeps coming after getting hit with microwave is assumed to have evil intent, and will be killed. The microwave is believed to be particularly useful for terrorists who hide in crowds of women and children, using the human shields to get close enough to make an attack. This has been encountered in Somalia and Iraq. 

However, past experience with non-lethal weapons has shown two things. One, there is no such thing as a non-lethal, weapon, only less-lethal ones. Second, electronic non-lethal weapons are scarier than non-electronic ones. Getting your eye put out by a rubber bullet causes much less media commotion than if microwave ADS does it. So, while the bureaucrats scurry for cover, the troops in the combat zone do without. Never doubt the combat power of the media. Fear is a weapon with a long and chilling reach.


Article Archive

Information Warfare: Current 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close