U.S. adversaries are already working on something America is reluctant to: Enhanced Human Operations (EHO).
EHOs entail modifying the body and the brain itself, creating what some have called “super soldiers.” At a press conference laying the Defense Department’s future research and development strategy on Monday, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work warned that America would soon lose its military competitive advantage if it does not pursue technologies such employing artificial intelligence.
“Now our adversaries, quite frankly, are pursuing enhanced human operations, and it scares the crap out of us,” Work said.
Altering human beings from the inside to more effectively fight in combat presents ethical dilemmas for American scientists and military planners. Work says those ethical concerns typically don’t apply to authoritarian governments like Russia’s or China’s, but their lack of hesitation in developing EHOs may force America’s hand.
What sort of enhancement are we talking about? As yet, the Pentagon has not been specific, but we can infer several likely human mods from previous work done by DARPA, and our own imagination.
When the Defense Department launched the “Second Offset” — precision guided weapons, stealth, and networks — circa 1975, “we knew the Russians, the Soviets, couldn’t follow,” Work said. Today, “we can’t make that assumption,” he said. “This is much more like the interwar period” — between 1919 and 1939, when the Germans developed blitzkrieg while the US and Japan led on aircraft carriers — when all the technologies were available to anyone, and the advantage went to whoever put the pieces together best.
As early as 1985, retired four-star Army General Paul F. Gorman sketched out a “SuperTroop” exoskeleton for DARPA that would protect soldiers from chemical, biological, electromagnetic, and ballistic threats, including direct fire from a .50-caliber bullet. Audio, visual, and haptic (touch) sensors were part of the design.
More recently, the Navy has explored the use of exoskeletons for lifting heavy loads and enhancing shipboard firefighting/damage control operations. In 2013, DARPA partnered with U.S. Special Operations Command on a light exoskeleton suit called TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit). Every time the discussion comes up, someone mentions Iron Man.
DRUGS AND VACCINES
You could argue that humans have already been boosted, at least primitively. ISIS and other terrorist organizations have an extensive history of handing their fighters hallucinogens and other drugs to bolster their savagery.
Apparently DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office (DSO) investigated a mind-altering pain vaccine. Once injected into a soldier who had been shot, the vaccine would theoretically reduce the pain from inflammation and swelling. After 30 seconds of agony, the soldier would feel no pain for 30 days. As long as the bleeding was contained the soldier could keep fighting.
The government’s research into halting the bleeding yielded another program that involved injecting millions of microscopic magnets into a person, which could later be brought together into a single area to stop bleeding with the wave of a wand.
DARPA has also studied whales and dolphins—mammals that don’t need to sleep in long chunks like humans do—as inspiration for creating a soldier who requires little to no sleep for a week or more. Whales and dolphins independently control the left and right lobes of their brains, keeping one alert while the other sleeps. It’s not known if DAPRA scientists made any progress with human lobe control, but they did explore powerful anti-sleep drugs like Modafinil.
Enhancing soldiers’ endurance isn’t limited to exoskeletons. Under a program called the Brain-Machine Interface, DSO investigated how brain implants improve cognitive ability. Scientists sought to implant a computer chip in a rat’s brain to see if they could remotely control the animal’s movements. If success could be replicated in humans, it might eventually lead to remote guidance or control of a human being on the battlefield. Seriously. The program also explored the possibility of enabling soldiers to communicate with each other by thought alone.
Enhanced Human Operations would also theoretically include psychological or cognitive programming. Again, it could be argued that humans have long been psychologically programmed for war, from Nazi soldiers to Al Qaeda terrorists. But brain implants that trigger specific thought patterns or even instructions might be in the cards. So too might be extending the human being as an information, surveillance, and reconnaissance node by infusing the body with a variety of sensors and communications relays.
The possibilities for EHOs may be limited only by our imagination—and how much our own creations scare the crap out of us.
As far as I can see, my country is dead, and because I believe in the values that I hold dear to my heart, I am a domestic terrorist.
Until those of us with the same value systems can organize an effective response, it’s over. It’s also clear that there is no difference in the 2 mainstream political parties.
What does this have to do with Enhanced Human Ops? Money. As long as feeding illegal alien migrant vermin is more important than national security, DARPA is likely to become another Islamic Outreach Agency.
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