Systems that could guard stockpiles and supplies, particularly during peace operations, must reliably deter thieves and intruders but must not be lethal to anyone except identified foes. This may require munitions that can give a variety of responses, ranging from warnings (e.g., flashers or sirens) to painful or distasteful events (e.g., sting balls or malodorants). The option for rapid lethal responses when required would also be useful.
A remotely deployable, controllable “munition field” equipped with an identification of friend-or-foe capability would allow U.S. soldiers and vehicles to move freely while impeding all others. With this system, a munition field could be placed around and in front of a U.S. position allowing soldiers to withdraw or attack through it, as the situation dictated. The system could even be deactivated long enough to allow an enemy to enter the munition field and then reactivated for an efficient enemy kill. This capability could make the difference between victory and defeat for an initial-entry force because the first units to land on hostile soil are certain to be initially outnumbered by enemy forces.
Along borders (e.g., the Demilitarized Zone in Korea and, perhaps, the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border), mines are both deterrents and alerting devices. They can also inflict casualties in the event of a full-scale attack. However, once cleared lanes have been established, current mines become less effective. Future systems could be capable of remaining effective without giving away their positions or being easily deactivated or cleared within a zone. Munitions could be equipped with noncontact sensing and tracking devices and some remote or area response. Remote response could be provided by rapidresponse rockets, antipersonnel versions of the Wide Area Munition (WAM), or robotic snipers. Area response could be provided by large fuel and air munitions, either placed in the ground or delivered remotely from a short distance away.