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POSTED: August 26, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Photo by Lewis Levine/

Lisa Stone adjust the prosthetic leg that she wears.

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Rubber bullets, Tasers, sponge grenades, face shields, batons, shin guards and equipment the Army is not eager to talk about are being issued to soldiers of the First Brigade at Fort Stewart.
The Raiders are the first unit in the Army to receive the new non-lethal combat sets. Platoon-sized elements of the brigade are receiving five-day classes in the use of the new additions to the armory.
The protective equipment and enhancement devices are designed to give soldiers and commanders non-lethal capabilities so they can respond to situations and determine what’s going on without immediately resorting to lethal force.
“Non-lethal options allow soldiers to react with an appropriate level of force based on the situation, prior to resorting to lethal force,” Maj. Thomas Aarsen, NLCS project officer, said, “But non-lethal measures are not used unless lethal options are available as backup.”
The sets were developed by engineers in the office of the program manager for Close Combat Systems at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
Representatives from the Army Military Police School, Non-lethal Scalable Effects Center at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., traveled to Fort Stewart to instruct soldiers on using the equipment. Soldiers then could incorporate the technology into their tactics, techniques and procedures, Jeff Teats, NLCS technical trainer, said.
Aarsen said the sets are composed of four types of modules for mission-specific tasks, and one Taser sub-module the brigade commander would distribute based on mission requirements.
“We’re just introducing soldiers to the equipment,” Aarsen said. “It’s not yet in the formal training, tactics or ROEs (rules of engagement)”
The NLCS kits are in large, weatherproof containers that are easy to transport.
The four modules include: a dismounted module with various non-lethal items troops can use during walking patrols, the checkpoint module, crowd control and detainee ops module and a convoy module.
Checkpoint modules have non-lethal equipment to establish and operate hasty and deliberate checkpoints. Counter-material devices including tire spikes — known as caltrops — vehicle lightweight arresting devices and the Picatinny-designed portable vehicle-arresting barriers — capture nets that can stop vehicles. All are used to deny vehicles access to critical facilities at roadblocks and checkpoints.
The checkpoint modules also have mirrors, lights and traffic cones to assist soldiers inspecting vehicles.
Crowd control and detainee operations modules provide non-lethal protective equipment for platoon-size elements when conducting crowd control or detainee missions.
Convoy modules provide non-lethal equipment to support and equip vehicles. The sets are equipped with high-intensity lights and voice amplification devices that focus sound out to 500 feet.
“The speakers are good and clear and can definitely be used in Iraq,” said Sgt. Maria Martinez, Alpha Company, 3rd Brigade Support Company.
The dismounted modules provide non-lethal equipment to support platoon-sized elements in an urban environment or when conducting dismounted operations.
Some elements of this module include high-intensity lights and devices that translate simple English commands into Arabic when translators are not available.
As a complement to the NLCS, additional training was conducted on non-lethal munitions for the 12-gauge shotgun and the 40mm grenade launcher. Although the munitions are not issued with the set, they are part of the non-lethal capabilities available within the Army.
These items permit commanders to apply military force in crowd and riot control while reducing risks to noncombatants and soldiers.

 

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