Army Officers are normally mandated with certain job skills, but that does not mean they cannot attain other skills and training. The Army, as well as other United States military systems keep track of all the skills and training that their personnel have. They use codes to keep track, and for the next several articles that I will be writing, I am going to examine Additional Skill Identifiers (ASIs).
In today’s post, I am going to look at Army ASI 2A: Non-Lethal Weapons Trainer.
Brief Military History of Non-Lethal Weapons
We can look back in history and see many circumstances where weapons that would not kill, but would incapacitate would have been quite helpful. One such tragedy I can distinctly remember was at Kent State University in Ohio in the year of 1970. There was a protest of the issues in Vietnam and Cambodia, and the Ohio National Guard was sent to guard against upheaval. Tensions were high and to make a long story short, Guards members opened fire and killed several students and injured many more.
Many people wonder what the outcome would have been like if non-lethal weapons would have been available.
There have been many situations where military personnel have been in a difficult position. They have been ordered to carry guns with no ammunition, and ordered to disperse crowds armed with only clubs and shields. In the 1990’s, there was a strong call to develop non-lethal weapons. There are situations in which crowds must be stopped, but killing them would not be morally right. In the mid 90’s, non-lethal weapons started becoming a reality.
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Some of the Army’s Non-Lethal Weapons
The Army now has a long list of non-lethal weapons they can use in a variety of situations. Some are developed to control humans, while others are made to control primarily vehicles. The Army ASI 2A must be adept with all of these, so they can train others in their use. These are some of those weapons:
12 Gauge Rounds: The Army employs 3 types of non-lethal 12 gauge shotgun rounds which include sock, sting-ball and fin stabilized.
Grenades: There are multiple types of non-lethal grenades that can be used including sting-ball, vehicle launched, M-84 flash bang and the NICO BTV-1 flash bang.
Oleoresin Capsicum Dispensers: Somewhat similar to what is known as tear gas, this stuff will cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.
Acoustic Devices: These are devices that can be used to send different sound waves or as a loudspeaker for crowd control. There is also an underwater version to deter divers,
Modular Crowd Control Munition: This is designed like a Claymore Mine, but sends out around 600 hard rubber balls.
Spike Strip: Police agencies have been using these, and so does the Army. They are used to flatten tires of vehicles.
Caltrops: These are also designed to flatten vehicle tires. They are a simple 4 pronged piece of sharpened steel that will puncture a tire.
Lightweight Arresting Net: These are designed to stop a vehicle moving at 30 mph. The net wraps around the front end and punctures and locks up the front drive of a vehicle.
These are a few of the non-lethal devices the Army uses. There are tests being made on many more.
Army ASI 2A Training
An Army Officer who desires to carry the ASI 2A must commit to a serious training regiment. They will, after all be training others in the use of non-lethal weapons. We must always remember that these weapons are still dangerous, and if not used properly, they can be lethal.
The training will take personnel through this Field Manual with hands on usage of non-lethal weapons. Some of these weapons will be used on the trainees so they can understand the effects they have. Trainees will go through:
An overview of non-lethal weapons including the history, organization and capabilities with the development and employing non-lethal weapons.
How to train for non-lethal weapons.
When and where to employ non-lethal weapons, and the determination on whether to use lethal, non-lethal or no weapons at all.
Scenarios where the trainees will have to determine the type of non-lethal weapon to use. This will have examples including prisoner situations, public order, pier side and escalations of force against perceived threats.
Who Can Take The Non-Lethal Weapons Course
Non-lethal weapons are becoming a common used technique in and with the United States military. Any service member can, and should take this beneficial course. Also, Department of Defense contractors and civilians can take the course, but this is just the course. Those seeking to have the ASI 2A designation must take a course that trains trainers.
If you desire to take the non-lethal weapons course, you can take it on line, and it is available at these websites:
But, to gain the instructor level for non-lethal weapons, and to hold the Additional Skills Identifier A2, you must take the Non-Lethal Individual Weapons Instructor Course. The course lasts for 2 weeks and is intense. The primary training location is at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, but there are also mobile training teams. It is estimated that 400 instructors are trained yearly. There are around 10 resident courses held yearly. More information can be found on the Non-Lethal Individual Weapons Instructor Course held at the Marine Corps Detachment at Fort Leonard Wood here.
With the many situations that members of United States service members are entrenched in, non-lethal weapons are a good possibility to save lives of both service members and citizens. Personally, I believe all forces should have to learn the use of non-lethal weapons, and I think that as time moves on, this will become reality.
The Marine Corps is the primary leadership and development force of the non-lethal weapons course. We would love to hear from any of you who have taken the course and even better, those who have ASI A2.
Please provide any comments, suggestions or questions below. With that, I will leave you with the Vision Statement of the Department of Defense’s Non-Lethal Weapons Program:
To Have a fully integrated non-lethal competency within each Service to complement lethal effects, enhance the Joint Force’s adaptability and support strategic objectives that include minimizing civilian casualties.
Have a great day, and thank you for visiting.