Irregardless of the large numbers of hostages involved in this situation, FSB Al'fa's intent of using a nonlethal agent was less focused on their rescue and more so on killing the Chechen terrorists.
Harassing agents, commonly referred to today as nonlethal agents, are defined as chemical agents that produce a temporary disablement on an individual.
Between 1945 and 1955, improvements in technology resulted in the development of new forms of lethal and nonlethal agents. Nerve agents, incapacitating agents, and herbicides became of interest to militaries throughout the world due to their persistency and quick effect on the battlefield.
The critical role played by tanks; 106mm guns that were the main armament of a virtually unarmored, six-gun, tracked vehicle; and liberal use of tear gas in turning the tide in favor of US Marines fighting in Hue reminds us that combat in cities is very likely to be costly in terms of soldiers' lives, and even more so of noncombatants' lives, particularly when such large caliber weapons and nonlethal agents
might well be proscribed by rules of engagement.
Here, nonlethal agents
functioned as a "force multiplier": they increased the lethality and effectiveness of conventional weapons.
The 1958 Duer Reeves Committee urged the military establishment to adopt chemical-biological warfare, particularly nonlethal agents
and agents that circumvent protective masks.
Among the topics are nerve agents, nonlethal agents
, live bacterial agents, hemorrhagic fever viruses, radiation emergencies, electronic and directed-energy weapons, and personal protection and decontamination.
These options include tactical assaults, strategic takedowns, the uses of nonlethal agents
and negotiation processes.
It is then easy to see how such nonlethal agents
when used in conjunction with other weapons would serve to increase the lethality of the battlefield.
We also had a biological weapons program, which supposedly trafficked in only nonlethal agents
, though what is nonlethal to a healthy young soldier supplied with antibiotics might have a very different outcome on the weak, the sick, the old.
But his greatest body of work involved nonlethal agents
and their delivery systems.