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The Marine Corps’ Non-Lethal Capabilities

Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett grimaces at the initial wave of heat from the Active Denial System during a demonstration at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., March 9. The ADS is a non-lethal weapon that projects a long range, man-sized beam of millimeter waves that produce a reversible heating sensation to the skin, much like opening a hot oven. It is one of many non-lethal weapons the Marine Corps is looking to deploy into combat zones to minimize casualties and collateral damage. It can be used for perimeter defense, crowd control and area denial against any human threat. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Daniel Wetzel)

Earlier this week, we hosted our first Facebook town hall meeting to discuss the capabilities of the Marine Corps’ new non-lethal system, the Active Denial System. The ADS uses a 95-gigahertz, millimeter wave beam that penetrates only 1/64 of an inch into the skin and has a 1,000-meter range. The system causes a reversible heating sensation to the skin and is intended for use in perimeter defense, area denial and crowd control.

Click here to see the Active Denial System in action.

After showing you the ins and outs of the system, we want to know what you think about the Corps’ non-lethal weapons program.




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21 Responses

  1. Inkanta says:

    For all the people saying “we should not have these non lethal weapons, we are not a police force” Well, in this war we partly are! Checkpoints freakin everywhere and if I’m looking downrange and some unsuspecting driver is coming towards me and doesnt stop hes gonna get the generic warnings, but he wont stop. This gives a way to eliminate all doubt as to who our targets are. As it says, reduces unnecesary casualties. You want us to shoot them and then have it be on the news n reduce public opinion on both sides?

  2. Macskayak says:

    Any non lethal weapon may reduce the threat of immediate attack, but may allow an increase the likelyhood in the future of an attack if they regroup.  History has suggested that too much reliance on technology ensures a failure of said technology. It is this “Murphy’s law” idea that most skeptics seem to be voicing.  And remember, the dead do not become repeat offenders! That said, we have a familiarization with CS gas to allow us to experiance the threat and learn from it how to remain a cohesive and effective unit, as well as what to do when we meet this threat.  The enemy may learn from repeated exposure, what to do to “adapt, improvise, and overcome”.  Just sayin’.

  3. Sandmeyer says:


  4. Amy says:

    my brother in law was in the marines in vietnam at that time. he just showed us some old video he had transfered.

  5. Tartanfms says:

    Should be on-site at every Embassy in the 3rd world…   No one will be breaking into from a 1,000 meters out!

  6. Ranter911 says:

    I don’t see the need for non-lethals when your training gives you such immense control. However, they do provide dynamic options for entry and clearing of buildings that can result in less casualties on both sides. Some of these can brushed in the place of an extra man making it possible to have fewer men in situations where they might have to serve as two men. Others make for good perimeter control, it is still recommended to have sentries posted because the non-lethals only work when no one realizes they are there. Once they are exposed then they can be circumvented.

  7. Leatherneckm31 says:

    First …. pantywaist  ROEs, Congressmen callings is “murderers”, then gays and now Buck Rogers Donthurt’em guns…. I’m glad I’m not gonna live long enough to see our beloved Corps be emasculated and shape-shifted into some left-wing idea of a military Peace Corps….. or as the CnC says… “Corpse”.  CPL GA (glad I was in the Old Corps — 1969 M/3/1 Vietnam)  

  8. Spencer says:

    Non lethal is for the Army…

  9. Vance Markus Jones says:

    the marine corps was not born to pacify.  period.  the marines are not taught nor is their job to play police.  non-lethal weapons have no place within the marine corps role in our combined armed forces.  the marines are meant to storm beaches, and sorry but no non-lethal weapons will be of any valuable use there.  tell me how many lives a non-lethal weapon would’ve saved on the beaches of iwo jima, tarawa, quadal.  think it would’ve slowed down the german advance at belleau woods?  nope, not one iota.  the marines sole training from the time you step off of the bus at PI, SC we are taught to kill and follow orders. 

    /end all discussion right there

  10. Kelley Fletcher Flores says:

    No! The Marine Corps is not a police force. The only weapons they should have are the most lethal ones possible. If you want a stun gun call the police.

    From a very Pround Marine Mom

  11. Cory 0331 says:

    I’m tired of touching the world with kid gloves on. You want mercy, send in the Army. When Marines get involved the SH*T has hit the fan. Do not weaken our Corps or our mission by making us an even softer Corps!!

  12. RLAndrews57 says:

    Are there valid, battle-wise arguments against having non-lethal weapon systems used in the Marine Corps? I would like to hear such arguments before casting my ignorant civilian vote in your poll.

  13. kevin says:

    well in certain circumstances it could be vital and usefull and give the marines the dge to use non lethal and lethal to get out of and prevent certain situations.

  14. Dfleckhj says:

    Thank you

  15. Chuckcoulee says:

    I think at the Town Hall it was painfully obvious that this non-lethal weapon was not well taken by the vast majority. I again would say I think there would be to much ease for enemies to counter or neutralize the effects of this system. It would have much more potential in the private sector with Police or security systems. I also think that it is likely there are some higer ups that want it to be a “GO” no matter what the cost. Interesting concept… just not well suited for the Corps. Drop it and save anymore wasted money.

  16. Marine Dad says:

    Does it penatrate walls ?
    What a great option it would be to flush out the enemy rather than kicking in doors.

  17. Immadbro says:

    The only real use for that is against we the people,  That being said if push comes to shove We the 270 million people, will and can change out 500 idiots in DC.Dont piss us off.. Semper Fi.

  18. Weeman8455 says:

    Speaking as an mp and knowing the effectiveness of oc spray and some other non lethal weapons they work and can be very crucial to our mission at home or deployed.

  19. Chrisgearhart says:

    Whatever gets the job done,has anyone considered remote controlled non lethal drones?

  20. Hera Ming says:

    I understand and agree with the logic that more tools mean more options, which means more strength. But this is a one-dimensional view of the matter.

    In the long-term, it would become more politically correct for our government to use the military AGAINST U.S. CITIZENS as military weapons options grow less destructive to person and property.  There is already recent legislation in place that takes a great step in this direction.  We absolutely must stop our society’s march in this direction.

    Also, potential enemies of the U.S. could easily be convinced by propaganda that such a move as a sign of growing weakness, in both our psychological willingness and physical ability to wage war, regardless of any facts to the contrary.

    I have little doubt that the Marines, and other military branches, will pursue these tools.  I will hope and pray our so-called “leaders” will only order their use for purposes of serving the People who employe them, never for controlling them.

    Best wishes.
    Semper Fidelis

  21. Abby says:

    Only problem is we would use non lethal but the enemy would use lethal. I like killing the enemy before they kill us.