Super soldiers (Part 1): What is military human enhancement?

Patrick Lin, Maxwell Mehlman, Keith Abney, Jai Galliott

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    After World War II, much debate unfolded about the ethical, legal, and social implications of military human enhancement, due in part to Adolf Hitler’s war on the “genetically unfit” and the United States military’s experimentation with psychedelic drugs such as LSD. Interest in that debate has waxed and waned since the 1940s. However, it would be foolish or perhaps even dangerous to believe that America and its modern allies have abandoned efforts to upgrade service members’ bodies and minds to create the “super soldiers” necessary to match the increasing pace of modern warfare and dominate the strengthening militaries of China and North Korea. Slogans such as “be all that you can be and a whole lot more” still reign strong at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and, according to some military futurists, the so-called “War on Terror” has only proven that military superpowers need a new type of soldier that is independent, network-integrated, and more lethal than ever before. Patterns of public risk perception, military expenditure, and new technological developments suggest that it is now time to re-open or reinvigorate the original debate. The authors’ contribution comes in two parts. In this chapter, they provide a brief background to military human enhancement before defining it carefully and exploring the relevant controversies. In the second, they more explicitly examine the relevant legal, operational, and moral challenges posed by these efforts.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGlobal issues and ethical considerations in human enhancement technologies
    EditorsSteven John Thompson
    Place of PublicationHershey
    PublisherIGI Global
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9781466660113
    ISBN (Print)9781466660106
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Publication series

    NameAdvances in human and social aspects of technology book series
    PublisherMedical Infor Science IGI
    ISSN (Electronic)2328-1316


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