Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 40, September - October 1999
NATO Press Statement on Non-Lethal Weapons"NATO policy on non-lethal weapons", Press Statement, October 13, 1999.
1. The purpose of this document is to establish NATO Policy for Non-Lethal Weapons.
2. This policy applies to all NATO Non-Lethal Weapon research, development and acquisition programmes, employment of Non-Lethal Weapons, and related activities. It does not apply to information operations or any other military capability not designed specifically for the purpose of minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property and the environment, even though they may have these effects to some extent.
3. The following definition is applied as far as this policy is concerned:
Non-Lethal Weapons are weapons which are explicitly designed and developed to incapacitate or repel personnel, with a low probability of fatality or permanent injury, or to disable equipment, with minimal undesired damage or impact on the environment.
III. NATO policy
4. It is NATO policy that Non-Lethal Weapons, relevant concepts of operations, doctrine and operational requirements shall be designed to expand the range of options available to NATO Military Authorities. NLW are meant to complement the conventional weapons systems at NATO's disposal.
5. Non-Lethal Weapons should enhance the capability of NATO forces to achieve objectives such as (not necessarily in order of priority) to:
7. Neither the existence, the presence nor the potential effect of Non-Lethal Weapons shall constitute an obligation to use Non-Lethal Weapons, or impose a higher standard for, or additional restrictions on, the use of lethal force. In all cases NATO forces shall retain the option for immediate use of lethal weapons consistent with applicable national and international law and approved Rules of Engagement.
8. Non-Lethal Weapons shall not be required to have zero probability of causing fatalities or permanent injuries. However, while complete avoidance of these effects is not guaranteed or expected, Non-Lethal Weapons should significantly reduce such effects when compared with the employment of conventional lethal weapons under the same circumstances.
9. Non-Lethal Weapons may be used in conjunction with lethal weapon systems to enhance the latter's effectiveness and efficiency across the full spectrum of military operations.
10. NATO planners shall ensure that the potential contribution of Non-Lethal Weapons is taken fully into account in the development of their plans.
11. Non-Lethal Weapons shall conform to the definition contained in Section II above and have, as a minimum, the following characteristics:
IV. Additional Policy Guidance
13. Any future request for additional policy guidance shall be referred to the North Atlantic Council".
© 1999 The Acronym Institute.