Document Type



Politics and Economics (CGU)

Publication Date



Defense and Security Studies | Military and Veterans Studies | Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


The purpose of this paper is to promote an understanding of and research into a new category of weapons, designated nonlethal by military services, and less than lethal or less lethal by law enforcement agencies. The intent is to create an initial term and reference listing to help support joint force and dual use initiatives focused on identifying the potential drawbacks of integrating nonlethal weapons into our military services and law enforcement agencies. The paper is split into two sections: a list of terms that describes nonlethal weapons along with the concepts both surrounding and inhibiting their use, and a comprehensive listing of references to facilitate further research. Nonlethal weapons are listed under the categories of acoustics, opticals, antilethals, antiplant agents, barriers, batons, biotechnicals, electricals, electromagnetics, entanglers, holograins, markers, obscurants, projectiles, reactants, and riot control agents. Nonlethal weapons concepts are divided by the following categories: ethical, functional, operational, physiological, and theoretical.


This is an occasional paper.

Rights Information

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