Directed-Energy Weapons Prioritized in New Defense Budget

Directed-Energy Weapons Prioritized in New Defense Budget
Defense Secretary James Mattis outside the Pentagon on June 20, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Joshua Philipp

Directed-energy weapons (DEW) are being prioritized in the new defense budget, which could promote further development of sonic and electromagnetic weapons.

The FY2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) calls on the undersecretary of defense for research and engineering to "develop, establish, and coordinate directed-energy testing activities" that are "adequate" to ensure the Department of Defense meets its goals for "developing and deploying directed-energy systems to match national security needs."

It specifically mentions tests at the High Energy Laser System Test Facility of the Army Test and Evaluation Command.

The weapons systems are still relatively mysterious, yet have made headlines recently due to suspected sonic attacks used against U.S. diplomats in China and Cuba.

Robert J. Bunker, an adjunct research professor at the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, described the weapons systems in a previous interview with The Epoch Times.

“As late as the early 1990s, information concerning non-lethal weapons (NLW) and their human bio-effects—at least the advanced DEW forms of them—was discussed primarily within the classified world,” he said.

“As an example, high-powered microwaves (HPM) targeted at humans can raise their brain temperatures, resulting in seizures and damage, while infrasound can create vibrations in the human body, causing disorientation and incapacitation, or potentially even causing organ failure."

Another section of the defense budget establishes authority for a Joint Directed Energy Transition Office to conduct research on high-powered microwave capabilities.

And another section lists "directed energy" as the top priority of four categories for research and engineering. The other three categories are hypersonics, artificial intelligence, and future space satellite architectures.

According to Bunker, "21st-century warfare is gradually shifting from conventional gun, missile, and bomb technologies, which are mechanically derived, into exotic and advanced DEW technologies that literally ‘weaponize bands of the electromagnetic spectrum’ and then direct them at opposing forces."

Joshua Philipp is an award-winning investigative reporter with The Epoch Times and host of EpochTV's "Crossroads" program. He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare, subversion, and historical perspectives on today’s issues. His 10-plus years of research and investigations on the Chinese Communist Party, subversion, and related topics give him unique insight into the global threat and political landscape.
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