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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 482-95
September 01, 1995

DOD ANNOUNCES POLICY ON BLINDING LASERS

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.

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