Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this study takes a fresh look nonlethal chemical technologies, yielding valuable insights for emerging twenty-first century unconventional approaches to global counterterrorist operations. The author identifies specific recommendations that could extend the legal range of options for SOF. Some uses are intuitive, such as SOF units supporting law enforcement counterterrorist operations. Others address the new developments in pharmaceutical agents used extensively by international counterterrorist forces. Finally, Commander Whitbred is clearly on mark when he concludes that the Chemical Weapons Convention must be reviewed in light of the new developments in nonlethal chemical technologies, both in the context of conventional armed conflict and unconventional counterterrorist operations. While analyzing strategic impacts, this study calls for fundamental change to be considered.
The possible use of nonlethal chemical technologies in counterterrorist operations is drawing much attention in the ongoing global war on terrorism. The examination of their use comes at a time when the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits their application in any type of armed conflict. International law governing the use of new developments in antipersonnel and antimaterial nonlethal chemical technologies has recently been the subject of intense public debate, resulting in congressional hearings questioning the ratification enforcement protocols to the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Although the exercise of nonlethal chemical technologies is not prohibited in domestic law enforcement applications, US special operations counterterrorist forces encounter situations where military combat and law enforcement tactics, techniques, and procedures amalgamate into an overarching methodology. The Afghanistan and Iraq wars sparked controversy as to the possible application of nonlethal riot control and calmative-type agents against insurgents who are entrenched physically within the geographical commons.
The decision to apply nonlethal technologies requires an understanding of their overall effects, both tactically and strategically. This paper provides background information on both antipersonnel and antimaterial nonlethal chemical technologies; their applications within the special operations forces (SOF) counterterrorist environment; and their operational applications during armed conflict, combat search and rescue, and hostage rescue. Comparisons of technologies are made, their differences highlighted, and recommendations for use offered. While it may appear that nonlethal chemical technologies are new, their path to development has been navigated with forethought and discretion.