Napalm and Flame-throwers. Designed for use against armored vehicles, bunkers, and built-up
White phosphorous. Designed for igniting flammable targets such as fuel, supplies, and ammunition and for
use as a smoke agent. White phosphorous (Willy Pete) artillery and mortar ammunition is often used to mark targets for
Protocol III of the 1980 Conventional Weapons Convention. Prohibits use of air-delivered incendiary
weapons on military objectives located within concentrations of civilians. Has not been ratified by the U.S. The U.S. is
currently considering ratifying the protocol - with a reservation that incendiary weapons may be used within areas of
civilian concentrations, if their use will result in fewer civilian casualties. For example: the use of incendiary weapons
against a chemical munitions factory in a city could cause fewer incidental civilian casualties. Conventional explosives
would probably disperse the chemicals, where incendiary munitions would burn up the chemicals.
Lasers. U.S. Policy (announced by SECDEF in Sep. 95) prohibits use of lasers specifically designed, as their
sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision. Recognizes
that collateral or incidental damage may occur as the result of legitimate military use of lasers (range-finding, targeting).
This policy mirrors that found in Protocol IV of the 1980 Conventional Weapons Treaty (this portion not yet ratified by
U.S.). The Senate is reviewing the Protocol for its advice and consent to ratification.
Chemical Weapons. (FM 27-10, para. 37.) Poison has been outlawed for thousands of years. Considered a
treacherous means of warfare. Problem--once unleashed it is hard to control. (HR, art. 23a.)
The 1925 Geneva Protocol. (FM 27-10, para 38, change 1.) Applies to all international armed conflicts.
Prohibits use of lethal, incapacitating, and biological agents. Protocol prohibits use of "asphyxiating, poisonous, or other
gases and all analogous liquids, materials or devices. . . ." The U.S. considers the 1925 Geneva Protocol as applying to
both lethal and incapacitating chemical agents. Incapacitating Agents: Those chemical agents producing symptoms that
persist for hours or even days after exposure to the agent has terminated. U.S. views riot control agents as having a
"transient" effect--and thus are NOT incapacitating agents. Therefore, the treaty does not prohibit their use in war.
(Other nations disagree with interpretation.) There are, however, policy limitations that are discussed below. Under the
Geneva Protocol of 1925 the U.S. reserved right to use lethal or incapacitating gases if the other side uses them first. (FM
27-10, para. 38b, change 1.) Presidential approval required for use. (E.O. 11850, 40 Fed. Reg. 16187 (1975); FM 27-10,
para. 38c, change 1.) HOWEVER THE U.S. RATIFIED THE CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION (CWC) IN
1997. THE CWC DOES NOT ALLOW THIS "SECOND" USE. Riot Control Agents: U.S. has an understanding to the
Treaty that these are not prohibited.
Riot Control Agents (RCA). U.S. RCA Policy is found in Executive Order 11850. Applies to use of Riot
Control Agents and Herbicides; requires presidential approval before first use in an armed conflict.
EO 11850: renounces first use in armed conflicts except in defensive military modes to save lives such
as: controlling riots in areas under direct and distinct U.S. military control, to include rioting prisoners of war; dispersing
civilians where the enemy uses them to mask or screen an attack; rescue missions for downed pilots/passengers and
escaping PWs in remotely isolated areas; and in our rear echelon areas outside the zone of immediate combat to protect
convoys from civil disturbances, terrorists and paramilitary organizations.
Oleoresin Capsicum Pepper Spray (OC) a/k/a Cayenne Pepper Spray: U.S. classifies OC as a Riot
Control Agent. (DAJA-IO, Information Paper of 15 August 1996, Use of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) Pepper Spray and
other Riot Control Agents (RCAs); DAJA-IO Memo of 20 September 1994, Subject: Request for Legal Review - Use of
Oleoresin Capsicum Pepper Spray for Law Enforcement Purposes; CJCS Memo of 1 July 1994, Subject: Use of Riot
1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) (ref. 9). The CWC was ratified by U.S. and came into
force in April 1997.
Law of War