On January 24, the military demonstrated its Active Denial System (ADS) millimeter wave directed energy beam in a test designed for the media, and hence, the public. Using enlisted airman, acting as "rioters," as "guinea pigs," a beam was directed at them from a parabolic antenna located 500 yards away atop a Humvee. The wave heated the skin of the "rioters" to 130 degrees, creating the feeling in the targets that they were being burned alive, scattering them in the process.
The military pointed out that the beam can penetrate winter clothing (which will be worn by those participating in Saturday's march) and 1/64th of an inch under the skin. As with any electronic weapon, it is clear that the "juice" can be turned up on Sheriff to cause more than a nasty skin burn, including internal organ damage, blindness, and death.
The weapon was developed under a contract awarded by the Pentagon's non-lethal weapons program office at the Quantico, Virginia Marine Corps Base to Raytheon.
The public testing of such a weapon by the military just prior to what may be the largest anti-war march in Washington since the Vietnam War is a clear message by the Pentagon to marchers that the millimeter wave technology exists and is deployable. Psychologically, most people find the idea of being burned alive frightening and this Pentagon "show and tell" was an obvious ploy to scare away marchers, especially those planning to bring their families.
However, marchers should keep in mind that a Humvee is no match against hundreds of thousands of marchers and that any attempt to use such a weapon would have one shot before an angry crowd descended on the vehicle and rendered it useless as both a weapon and a vehicle.