New complex situations with fighters operating among civilians are challenging conventional warfare and require new responsive technologies. NATO sponsored a Non-Lethal Technology Exercise organised by Belgium from 19 to 30 September 2016 to practise the use and assess the military utility of non-lethal weapons in land operations.
Non-lethal weapons (NLW) are weapons, such as lasers, acoustic and kinetic devices, that can be used as a tool to minimise the loss of life while achieving mission success and ensuring protection. “Non-lethal capabilities are critical for force protection purposes and to give commanders a range of different options to bring potentially hostile situations rapidly under control, while avoiding escalation and the disproportionate use of force,” explained Dr Jamie Shea, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. They allow suspects to be stopped without killing them and are of strategic and tactical importance, particularly in urban environments. The Alliance is supporting various activities in the field of non-lethal weapons.
Under the overall framework of NATO’s Defence Against Terrorism Programme of Work (DAT POW), Belgium organised the NATO Non-Lethal Technology Exercise-Land (NNTEX-16L) at the Elsenborn military camp. It allowed troops from four participating Allies — Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States — as well as troops from partner country Austria and additional assessment teams from Denmark, Germany and Norway to practise with and assess the military utility of non-lethal weapons in land operations.