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MindNet Journal - Vol. 1, No. 42a * [Part 1 of 3 parts]
V E R I C O M M / MindNet "Quid veritas est?"
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Editor: Mike Coyle
Contributing Editors: Walter Bowart
Assistant Editor: Rick Lawler
Research: Darrell Bross
The "Tables" in this article referred to as:
"...Tables 2-4 and 2-5 present the depth of penetration of
various frequencies of electromagnetic radiation in
...are not included in this reproduction. They are available
at the MindNet FTP site as: [mn142c.txt].
LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT AND MODERN TECHNOLOGY
LtCol David J. Dean, USAF, _Editor_
With a Foreword by CONGRESSMAN NEWT GINGRICH
Air University Press, Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research,
and Education, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, June 1986.
Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data
Low-intensity conflict and modern technology.
Papers presented at a workshop conducted by Air University
Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education (CADRE),
1. Low-intensity conflicts--Congresses. 2.
Munitions--Congresses. I. Dean, David J. II. Air University
(U.S.) Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education.
U104.L69 1986 355'.0218 86-3537
The United States is on the verge of a dramatic change in
its ability to cope with low-intensity conflict. We must become
a great deal better in the process of fighting this kind of
"small war"; the world will not give us any choice. We may learn
to adjust our current systems, procedures, and understanding
quickly and intelligently, in which case we will come to cope
with low-intensity conflict very rapidly. Or, we may learn this
difficult art in a grudging, confused, and halting manner, in
which case the next 20 years will be very painful and very
expensive, both for the United States and for the case of
This book is a serious effort to make thinking about and
working on low-intensity conflict easier, more understandable,
and more effective. It is a major contribution to what is a
growing literature and dialogue on the obligation of the United
States to respond to the challenge of low-intensity conflict.
This book is needed because the United States finds itself
dramatically challenged by conflict below the level of full-scale
war. Unfortunately, our recent intellectual and bureaucratic
traditions and systems fail to address adequately the challenge
of low-intensity conflict. The organization of power in the State
and Defense Departments and the relationships between the
Congress, the news media, and the executive branch are all
unsuited to fighting a low-intensity conflict effectively.
The United States has a long history of coping rather
successfully with low-intensity threats. From the opening up of
the West by the US Cavalry in the face of the American Indian to
the Philippine insurrection and the turn of the century to the US
Army's pursuit of Pancho Villa into northern Mexico to the US
Marine Corps presence in Nicaragua and Haiti in the twenties, the
United States systematically subdued low-intensity threats to
Generally, these forces were used almost without debate or
news coverage. The country went about the process of becoming
more prosperous and more powerful in the pursuit of everyday
life, while allowing its professional soldiers to engage quietly
in dirty little wars in faraway places with almost no regard for
legal nicety or the technical problems of international law.
However, the dominant tradition of the American State Department,
the American news media, and the average American intellectual
community was shaped not by the American experience in the West
or the Philippines or Mexico and Central America, but rather by
the nineteenth century tradition of European thought.
The European tradition is based on the concept of sovereignty
and formal declarations of war. Sophisticated lawyers focused on
the laws of England, Germany, and France. Sophisticated
academicians educated in England, Germany, and France came to
shape the concept of legality which had application to Europe,
but totally ignored European behavior outside of that continent.
In Europe, boundaries were not to be crossed by foreign armed
forces without a formal declaration of war. Once the boundaries
were crossed, a formal war would immediately ensure.
That practice did not pertain to most of the world. British
colonial expeditions against local tribes, bandits, and guerrilla
operations, for example, were routine and primarily military.
These expeditions went virtually unreported except in books like
those of Winston Churchill. When they were covered as spectacular
adventures against backward local natives. The emphasis was
almost always on the heroism of the British rather than on the
use of overpowering force against clearly overmatched natives
simply fighting for their own freedom. If the British campaigns
against the Mahdi, the Zulu, and the Afghans in the nineteenth
century were covered today, we would notice major shifts in
emphasis and bias in that coverage.
The British approach to low-intensity conflict in the
nineteenth century was virtually schizophrenic. This approach had
no place among the legal niceties of international laws that
governed sovereign states which tended to be only European. Thus,
wars could be fought in the gray area between civilized and
uncivilized nations without anyone noticing.
The post-World War II United Nations declared, in effect, that
all of us are civilized and have human rights. The European
concepts of sovereignty and international law became applicable
to all people. This new approach radically changes the approach
of low-intensity conflict. It requires that an entire new area of
international law be developed with those situations in which one
state does not wish to declare war, but, nevertheless, finds
itself engaged in violent action or facing the potential for
violent action with other states.
This area of international life lacks an intellectually
adequate American tradition. Our first great challenge in the
area of low-intensity conflict, is the next 20 years, to invent a
theory of law and structure of behavior that allows us to survive
and win "small wars," with a framework that maintains certain
basic rights for every human being. In addition, in the
nineteenth century tradition, there was no serious consideration
given to systematic organized terrorism. There were occasional
acts of violence committed by specific and usually identifiable
anarchists. These acts were mostly dealt with by various police
forces operating quietly on the fringes of society, in situations
in which the policemen were heroes. There was almost no
consideration given to the possibility that a sovereign
government was backing the anarchists. Thus, there was no
state-backed terrorism which directly threatened a particular
Whether it is the Irish Republican Army, the Palestine
Liberation Organization, or Islamic fanatics with direct backing
from Libya, Iran, or Syria or indirect backing from Cuba and the
Soviet Union, state-backed terrorism poses a new threat to the
West for which we have no framework to respond. We are going to
have to develop a capacity for striking at the cause of terrorism
and the source of terrorist support if we are to survive in a
free country. That is the second great challenge of out time in
Finally, in the nineteenth century, there was no single empire
systematically creating conflicts around the planet, looking for
weaknesses in its opponents which could be exploited by new
methods of warfare violence. The simple fact is the Soviet
empire and its colonies have studied the West and have come to
the conclusion that our greatest vulnerability is in
low-intensity conflict. In this type of conflict, the Soviet
Union suffers little if its client is defeated but gains greatly
if its client wins.
Since the Soviets have discovered the blind spot in our
intellectual armor for competition, we can expect more and more
low-intensity conflict for the foreseeable future. Only when we
have developed a deterrent to low-intensity conflict as
successful as our nuclear deterrent and our deterrence of
conventional war in Europe will we be able to suppress Soviet
efforts in this area. As long as the Soviet Union thinks it can
cause the United States trouble in Central America while we do
them little harm in Afghanistan, and as long as they can begin
various minor wars using second and third level puppets, clients,
and colonies while we are incapable of responding except by the
direct use of American forces, the Soviets are going to have a
great advantage. They are going to pursue this zone of
international competition with great intensity and great
Intellectually, politically, and professionally, low-intensity
conflict may be the most serious area of competition with the
Soviet Empire over the next 30 years. The free world must find a
legal, political, and diplomatic formula which enables us to cope
with low-intensity conflict. Until we find a way to deal with
Soviet-supported or other low-intensity conflict, we are going to
remain at a grave disadvantage in the competition for survival on
This book is a serious step toward grappling with the
technical, intellectual, and military problems of low-intensity
conflict. The breadth of topics covered clearly indicates the
complexity and range of difficulties which Americans and our
allies in the free world have to explore if we are to develop a
successful response to low-intensity conflict. Any student of
American survival and any citizen concerned with understanding
how this nation can cope with the challenge of low-intensity
conflict more effectively will be served by studying this work.
Its authors are to be commended for a job well done and a
process well initiated.
House of Representatives
(Pages 249 to 260)
THE ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM IN LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT
By Capt Paul E. Tyler, MC, USN
Although electromagnetic radiation is familiar to everyone,
the prototype being visible light, and although some magnetic
and "electrical" properties have been observed for centuries (the
lodestone, for example), not until late in the eighteenth century
did scientists identify electromagnetism for what it really is,
explore its physics, and develop rational theories for its
practical use. Major contributions to this field include the
experiments and studies of Harvey, Helmholtz, and Maxwell.
Maxwell finally formulated the basic theory of the
electromagnetic field, which Hertz later verified. Today,
research on electromagnetic fields is moving in directions far
different from what these pioneer scientists envisioned or
The results of many studies that have been published in the
last few years indicate that specific biological effects can be
achieved by controlling the various parameters of the
electromagnetic (EM) field. A few of the more important EM
factors can be manipulated are frequency, wave shape, rate of
pulse onset, pulse duration, pulse amplitude, repetition rate,
secondary modulation, and symmetry and asymmetry of the pulse.
Many of the clinical effects of electromagnetic radiation were
first noticed using direct current applied directly to the skin.
Later the same effects were obtained by applying external fields.
Electromagnetic radiation has been reported in the literature to
induce or enhance the following effects:
1. Stimulation of bone regeneration in fractures.
2. Healing of normal fractures.
3. Treatment of congenital pseudarthrosis.
4. Healing of wounds.
6. Electroconvulsive therapy.
7. Behavior modification in animals.
8. Altered electroencephalograms in animals and humans.
9. Altered brain morphology in animals.
10. Effects of acupuncture.
11. Treatment of drug addiction.
12. Electrostimulation for relief of pain.
13. Altered firing of neuronal cells.
These are but a few of the many biological effects and uses that
have been reported over the past decade. There are not exhaustive
and do not include many of the effects reported in the Soviet and
East European literature.
As with most human endeavors, these applications of
electromagnetic radiation have the potential for being a
double-edged sword. They can produce significant benefits, yet at
the same time can be exploited and used in a controlled manner
for military and covert operations. This paper focuses on the
potential uses of electromagnetic radiation in future
POTENTIAL MILITARY APPLICATIONS OF EMR
The exploitation of this technology for military uses is still
in its infancy and only recently has been recognized by the
United States as a feasible option. A 1982 Air Force review of
biotechnology had this to say:
Currently available data allow the projection that specially
generated radio frequency radiation (RFR) fields may pose
powerful and revolutionary antipersonnel military threats.
Electroshock therapy indicates the ability of induced electric
current to completely interrupt mental functioning for short
periods of time, to obtain cognition for longer periods and to
restructure emotional response over prolonged intervals.
Experience with electroshock therapy, RFR experiments and the
increasing understanding of the brain as an electrically
mediated organ suggested the serious probability that impressed
electromagnetic fields can de disruptive to purposeful behavior
and may be capable of directing and or interrogating such
Further, the passage of approximately 100 milliamperes through
the myocardium can lead to cardiac standstill and death, again
pointing to a speed-of-light weapons effect.
A rapidly scanning RFR system could provide an effective stun
or kill capability over a large area. System effectiveness will
be a function of wave form, field intensity, pulse widths,
repetition frequency, and carrier frequency. The system can be
developed using tissue and whole animal experimental studies,
coupled with mechanisms and waveform effects research.
Using relatively low-level RFR, it may be possible to sensitize
large military groups to extremely dispersed amounts of
biological or chemical agents to which the unirradiated
population would be immune.(1)
The potential applications of artificial electromagnetic fields
are wide ranging and can be used in many military or
Some of the potential uses include dealing with terrorist
groups, crowd control, controlling breached of security at
military installations, and antipersonnel techniques in tactical
warfare. In all of these cases the EM systems would be used to
produce mild to severe physiological disruption or perceptual
distortion or disorientation. In addition the ability of
individuals to function could be degraded to such a point that
they would be combat ineffective. Another advantage of
electromagnetic systems is that they could provide coverage over
large areas with a single system. They are silent and
countermeasures to them may be difficult to develop. Assuming
that electromagnetic radiation can be controlled to produce a
specific adverse biological effect, the equal possibility exists
that one can produce a beneficial effect such as enhancing the
performance of the individuals. This development would provide
personnel with enhanced capabilities in time of need. For
example, if a small force is required to operate in isolation for
an extended period of time, then local exposure to the right
parameters of electromagnetic radiation may give this force the
ability to do so with minimal rest and still maintain peak
performance. One last area where electromagnetic radiation may
prove to be of some value is in enhancing abilities of
individuals for anomalous phenomena.
CLASSICAL THEORY VERSES RECENT THEORETICAL RESEARCH
Even though the body is basically an electrochemical system,
modern science has been almost exclusively studied the chemical
aspects of the body and to this date has largely neglected the
electrical aspects. However, over the past decade researchers
have devised many mathematical models to approximate the
internal fields in animals and humans. Some of the later models
have shown general agreement with experimental measurements made
with phantom models and animals. Presently most scientists in
the field use the concept of specific absorption rate of
dosimetry of electromagnetic radiation. Specific absorption rate
is the intensity of the internal electric field or quantity of
energy absorbed per unit time is per unit mass. The latest
edition of the Dosimetry Handbook discusses specific absorption
rate in detail.(2) Tables 2-4 and 2-5 present the depth of
penetration of various frequencies of electromagnetic radiation
in biological tissues according to current electromagnetic
theory. However, the use of these classical concepts of
electrodynamics does not explain some experimental and clinical
findings. For example, according to classical physics, the
frequency of visible light would indicate that it is reflected
or totally absorbed within the first few millimeters of tissue
and thus no light should pass through significant amounts of
tissue. But it does. Also, classical theory indicates that the
body should be completely invisible to extremely low frequencies
of light where a single wave length is a thousand miles long.
However, visible light has been used in clinical medicine to
transilluminate various body tissues. The technique is
particularly useful in observing the skulls of infants and the
various sinus cavities.
A second area of classical theory fails to provide an adequate
explanation for observed effects is in the clinical use for
extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields.
Researchers have found that pulsed external magnetic fields at
frequencies below 100 hertz will stimulate the healing of
nonunion fractures, congenital pseudarthroses, and failed
arthroses.(3) The effects of these pulsed magnetic fields have
been extremely impressive and their use in orthopedic conditions
had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Recently, pulsed electromagnetic fields have been reported to
induce cellular transcription.(4) At the other end of the
nonionizing spectrum, research reports are also showing
biological effects that are not predicted by classical theories.
For example, Kremer and others have published several papers
showing that low-intensity millimeter waves produce biological
effects. They have also shown that not only are the effects seen
at a very low power, but they are also frequency specific.(5)
As a result of theses and other studies, several groups of
scientists have been reevaluating their concepts and looking for
new solutions. Some of the newer approaches have included the
recognition that biological systems are nonlinear and rather
than apply simple linear functions to the interaction of
electromagnetic fields and biological systems, one must use
nonlinear wave mechanics. Some researchers have even
incorporated the mathematics of chaos dynamics.
[Continued to part 2]
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