The November 2011 National Defense article, “10 technologies the U.S. Military Will Need for the Next War,” noted that there has been an innovation gap in the Defense Department’s research and development programs. This has caused the U.S. military to assume a reactionary posture to enemy tactics.
To address the innovations necessary to eliminate these gaps is going to require creative thinking by developers and the utilization of existing technologies in novel ways. The Unconventional and Emerging Armament (U&EA) Committee of the Armaments Division of the National Defense Industrial Association was recently formed to establish a forum whereby all forms of non-traditional, unconventional armaments and technologies at any stage of development can be showcased.
One of the highlights from the article was the military’s need for nonlethal weapons technology, specifically directed-energy weapons. This is a large and wide-open category of armaments that encompasses all forms of energy — microwave, laser, electrical, chemical, etc. — and is ripe for innovation. The U&EA would like to foster that innovation. Currently there are many nonlethal and less-than-lethal weapons used in law enforcement and peacekeeping operations. Improving and adapting these technologies to make them suitable for combat operations offers another spectrum of improved capabilities to be addressed by this new committee.
The public expects that nonlethal weapons are just that, but can any weaponry truly be nonlethal? The Defense Department’s stance on the weapons is that they don’t have to have a zero probability of producing fatalities or permanent injuries — just a minimal probability. These are all topics that can be addressed at the U&EA meetings.
Other areas of interest within the Defense Department — and of specific focus within the U&EA — are directed-energy and electric-weapon system technologies. These armaments have the potential to address future war-fighting concerns related to anti-access, area-denial and power projection through game-changing and disruptive technological innovation. This technology includes fielded and target demonstrated prototype systems in high-powered microwave and high-energy lasers. It also includes other concepts being researched that are more than a decade away from fielding. They include electromagnetic rail guns, hypervelocity weapons, and the free electron laser.
The U&EA committee seeks to foster and promote these technologies and their related research in such areas as: policy; platform integration; basic science and technology; interoperability; concepts of operations; research and development, and testing and evaluation.
This is just a small sampling of the kind of technological applications and issues the new committee is focusing on. The new committee is looking at all forms of technologies from lethal to nonlethal, counter personnel/material, directed energy from a variety of energy sources and sensor defeat. We are looking for technology to revolutionize the way people think about and use armaments.
For further information or interest in serving on the U&EA committee, contact the chairman, Dan Hartman: office (407) 346-5718, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
U&EA Committee CharterThe Unconventional and Emerging Armament (U&EA) Committee technology focus areas include (but not limited to) electromagnetics, hypervelocity weapons, lasers, high-power
microwave, nonlethal counter-personnel and counter-material, hypersonic, sensor defeat (including spectrum denial), and other emerging armament technologies. This committee addresses matters of enabling technologies, integration, analysis and simulation, training, mission application, operational considerations and safety across the technology focus areas. U&EA Committee scope shall include technologies, systems, capabilities, and applications that encompass a wide range of alternative combat effects and target defeat technologies across the full spectrum from nonlethal to full lethality and scalable effects against personnel, structures and equipment.