06/19/2010 02:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Border Security: The Solution... But You're Not Going to Like it

I would like to start out by making a disclaimer, as this post is sure to generate some criticism. I am in no way anti-immigration, nor do I support government action restricting the rights of immigrants (legal or not) such as the law recently enacted in Arizona allowing police to demand proof of visa/citizenship from anyone they suspect of being in the United States illegally. In fact my own father immigrated to America. I am, however, a security blogger, and the following is meant to bring your attention to a certain new technology that could have uses far beyond what the military is currently thinking.

For the past few years, the U.S. military has been developing what it is calling an "Active Denial System," or as Wired Magazine has dubbed it, a "Pain Ray" (aka the "Goodbye Weapon" or the Vehicle Mounted Active Denial System (V-MAD)). When I first head of this device back in 2007, the military was testing to see if it could be used to non-lethally disperse crowds in Iraq. Essentially what this technology does is concentrate microwaves across a limited distance. All organic tissue within a close proximity to the rays beam will experience an extremely hot sensation similar to opening a hot oven. From videos of the testing I have seen, the ray is very effective at getting people to instinctively move away from an area. The military claims that the weapon is entirely non-lethal and causes no permanent damage, although in one case a test subject had to be rushed to a hospital and treated for burns. As reported by Wired, this system has also recently been deployed for testing in Afghanistan.

Now how does this relate to border security? Imagine a string of these microwave devices planted across the southern border of the United States all rotating in a random order such that only a minority of the border is hit with the ray at any one time, but ensuring that over a certain period of time, the entire border is covered. This would negate the selective use of certain easy border crossing points as anyone crossing at any point along the border would risk being hit with the ray.

Human rights groups would obviously go crazy if the U.S. government were to even float the idea of such a system, and I for one am not advocating it use either. However, I can imagine instances when such a system might have to be at least considered in emergency situations. Say, for instance, if terrorists were caught trying to smuggle nuclear material over the border. There would be in instant public outcry to seal the borders once and for all. You can't put up a huge fence overnight but you could deploy these Active Denial Systems in a matter of hours if you had a deployment plan already worked out. Furthermore, if the Mexican government were to fail, which according to the Defense Department is on par with the likelihood of the Pakistani government failing, the U.S government would need some way to temporarily stop a mass exodus of millions of people from Northern Mexico. In my opinion using this system would result in far fewer casualties than deploying the National Guard and the Minutemen down to the border armed with M-16's.

I know this is not a popular thought, but I personally believe that it is never wrong to think and we welcome any and all debate on this topic.

Originally Posted on Demagogues and Dictators