September 13, 2006

TRANSCRIPT - Air Force Secretary On Nonlethal Weapons, Testing, US crowds

[In response to my query to the Air Force regarding the nonlethal weapons story and what was actually said by Secretary Michael Wynne, this was received directly by email from:

SECAF Strategic Communications Advisor
HAF/CX, 4E547
DSN 224-8065;


Context: Defense Writers Group, 12 Sep
Current line of questions concern F-35

15 minutes, 13 seconds into interview

Q. Why haven't you sold the capabilities, the non-lethal, the HPM, capabilities of this (the F-35) airplane? I went to talk with the Australians and that was one of the big things they wanted out of it, was the weapons and jamming capability and the communications capability and the radar. The Italians said the same thing, they said 'our parliament hates dropping bombs on people' they want a non-lethal weapon, but yet, nothing is said about those capabilities and your desire to push them. Do you want to push them? Is there resistance against it?

A. Non-lethal weapons are still being reviewed by the medical group. It's a kind of an interesting thing about non-lethal weapons. I will tell you that having seen the high-powered microwave that is a crowd disperser, the ADS system, used in a system and actually being invited to put your finger in the hole and by golly you'll see that your resistance is somewhat weakened when the beam hits you. Basically my point to them was (that) we need to start using that here in the United States on Americans. And if we start using that here in the United States on Americans and you start getting relief from people, because if the first people you use it on are your enemies, then unfortunately the first thing they will do is cry out that you have hurt them medically in a way that is pejorative.

Q. You mean like in police work?

A. Yes. So I think we should use it, if we're not willing to use it here, against our fellow citizens then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation. And I say that knowing the way the world works right now is that - the Indians as you remember in the early 1800s and mid-1800s thought you were stealing their soul when you hit them with a flash camera. You were actually covering them in soot, which may have been the same thing. But nowadays if I hit someone with a non-lethal weapon and they claim it injured them in a way that was non-intended, I think I'd be vilified in the world press.

Q. So we're not going to see funding to develop those non-lethal capabilities in the F-22 and F-35 then until?.

A. Until that is resolved.

Q. Ok, would that then put a horizon on the development of those kind of capabilities out 10-15 years?

A. I'd say that the platform as a platform contains enough power, which is derived from the engines. I think the power is there to support a high-powered non-lethal device, but right now the tech lags, and it lags primarily in size. Fighters are only so big. And the scope of usage. It's right now the stuff of great novels.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in journo | on September 13, 2006 08:39 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
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