Secretary of Defense William J. Perry announced today the policy of the
Department of Defense on blinding lasers:
The Department of Defense prohibits the use of lasers specifically designed to
cause permanent blindness of unenhanced vision and supports negotiations
prohibiting the use of such weapons. However, laser systems are absolutely
vital to our modern military. Among other things, they are currently used for
detection, targeting, range-finding, communications and target destruction.
They provide a critical technological edge to US forces and allow our forces to
fight, win and survive on an increasingly lethal battlefield. In addition,
lasers provide significant humanitarian benefits. They allow weapons systems
to be increasingly discriminate, thereby reducing collateral damage to civilian
lives and property. The Department of Defense recognizes that accidental or
incidental eye injuries may occur on the battlefield as the result of the use
of legitimate laser systems. Therefore, we continue to strive, through
training and doctrine, to minimize these injuries.