Thursday, April 12, 2007


High Power Laser Pointers And Non Lethal Deterrent - Saving Military And Civilian Lives

US and coalition military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are employing high power laser pointers as means of non lethal deterrent and saving lives. High power laser pointers though are a new form of technology and are not yet standard military issue. Due to their immense value in combat situations, military personnel and their families are regularly buying high power laser pointers at their own expense.

Sergeant Maiolo of the OIF 3 is one of many military personal who privately purchased a high power laser pointer.

"I am deployed at Baghdad in OIF 3. I recently showed this laser product to the platoon leader and both of us came up with many possible uses for this military device.... This is a great alternative to tracer fire to direct troops or a great way to paint a target; also a great intimidation to our enemies overseas...We were thinking of ordering one for each platoon in our company. " Sgt. David Maiolo

In a recent response to the value of laser pointers as means of non lethal deterrent and saving lives, the US army Rapid Equipping Force (REF) at Fort Belvoir Va has expedited the shipment of 2000 laser pointers to soldiers in Baghdad, Iraq.

In terms of their use, a common dilemma often faced by soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan is how to warn/deter suspicious or aggressively driven vehicles that are approaching their checkpoint or convoy operations with out using potentially lethal force. This is particularly a problem during night operations when identification is more difficult. Laser pointers have been especially useful in this regard as a means of non lethal deterrent.

"The system was very effective in stopping oncoming traffic and personnel," – Spec. Loren active duty Iraq

The use of laser pointers in combat zones is not just limited to fixed positions and vehicles. Military personnel out on patrol or in the field have also used laser pointers as a non lethal means of deterrent. This use is clearly illustrated from a soldiers records of a Baghdad night patrol on Route Michigan.

"Hey!" the lieutenant shouted, shining a green laser pointer at a group of men, walking into the road from an alley 50-75 yards away. They scattered."

The importance of laser pointers in saving lives is also acknowledged by the Department of Defence (DOF). "When you consider the alternative which is a bullet, I honestly believe we can use [lasers]; we can use them effectively. We can use them in ways that don't necessarily even, quote, unquote, "light up" the individual, but provide a marker so individuals realize they are approaching a danger point. And we will do everything possible to inform the Iraqi people of their use, so when they see them, they react appropriately." – Lieutenant General (LTG) Pete Chiarelli

These high powered laser pointers are commercially available and are normally purchased by military personnel and their families online. In situations when lives are at stake, it is essential for the laser pointer to be effective. An effective laser pointer should be high power (at least 75mW), high quality components and have out standing beam specifications. Lives could easily be lost if poor quality, low power shoddy laser pointers were used.

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