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The influence of Neurotechnology on Just War: Pushing the Boundaries of Self-Sacrifice
The influence of Neurotechnology on Just War: Pushing the Boundaries of Self-Sacrifice
by Holly Senatore

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This paper will discuss the use of neuroscience[3] by the United States Armed Forces to further develop emerging technologies in the field of neurotechnology for purposes of National Security in conjunction with a discussion of its use in terms of Just War Theory. It will secondly pose the question as to whether or not it is ethical to continue the use of human research experimentation within the United States Armed Forces for the development of neurotechnology. The second portion of this question is examined in conjunction with regard to the possible undermining effects that this emerging military technology will have on integral aspects innate to any warrior ethos, such as courage, bravery, and honor and are hence trans-cultural.

Neurotechnology is intended to alter the capability of human cognitive[4] function and manipulate mental states of US Service-members. As such, neurotechnology and the testing of it on human research subjects within the United States Armed Forces, or the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) sponsored human experimentation for the development of neurotechnological enhancements or should only be considered moral or ethical if used in a defensive war waged for a Just Cause.

It has been stated that even once a Just War is waged, it is still possible to breach morality by employing disproportionate force against an enemy.[5] Yet, what if the means of achieving said force by the host government is also disproportionate? Should there be constraints on a host government or military in the way or the degree to which they use the soldiers as a means to an end? What if the United States wages a defensive war for a Just Cause but the means of achieving victory in warfare are unjust because such means include the manipulation of various facets of the human condition through human subject research?

Within the realm of Just War discourse, there is little examination of the question of the ethical or moral nature employed of how one’s own Armed Forces prepares for war or in the way it treats its own soldiers. Traditional Just War Theory analyzes both the ethical unchanging principles or reasons for war Jus ad Bellum (Just Action for War) and the behavior in war or the morality in the execution of the war itself against a foe Jus en Bello (Just Action in War). The latter weighs conduct in war towards an enemy through the dual parameters of proportionality and discrimination, and does so from the purview of disproportionate force towards the enemy and it differentiates legitimate targets (combatants) versus non-legitimate targets (non-combatants). Recent theorists have also added the principle of accountability to Jus en Bello. This principle states that the responsibility of action in war should reside with those at the top, such as the government.

Yet, the implications of Jus en Bello with regards to the implications of the effects of neurotechnology will not be examined in the traditional light in this paper, or in a manner whereby the moral implications of neurotechnologies use in war against the enemy will be weighed. Instead, this discussion of Jus en Bello will seek to address the moral implications of neurotechnological experimentation on US soldiers prior to, during combat, and after the conclusion of combat. This examination further argues that Jus en Bello should be examined through the light of disproportionate force or technology used upon our own military in achieving a military goal.

If the mental and cognitive states of the soldiers of the US Armed Forces are altered in a Just manner, and for defensive purposes, how will current neurotechnology “improvements,” including but not limited to, the manipulation of fear, guilt, or memory (Jus en Bello) effect these soldiers future decision making capabilities for Jus ad Bellum if they are to become the future leaders within the United States Armed Forces? What will be the effect of neurotechnology on the Western view of Just Warfare, and more specifically on Jus en Bello (proportionality and discrimination)?[6] Leadership within the Armed Services demands experience, continued training and drill, and it calls for someone to learn from those experiences who has the personal ability to aim towards self-discipline, courage, and strength of their own volition.

Lastly, this paper will attempt to answer how the development of neurotechnology will affect the traditional notions ascribed to the warrior code of ethics within the United States Armed Forces. How will the effects of this emerging military technology affect the warrior code of the United States military? The characteristics that warriors of previous generations have striven to overcome such as fear, fatigue, or memories of the battlefield are now subject to alteration through the use of drugs. Will the concepts of honor, courage, and bravery hold their same meaning on this new battlefield? If fear, guilt, and memory are physiological factors that are subject to manipulation by outside controls, soldiers may not experience battle as it truly was, and in the process, they will be disabled from evaluating the cause and effects of the environment around them.

Ultimately, there may be a paradox to both the manipulation of fear and memory enhancement in the soldiers. If fear is manipulated or controlled, it leads to the assumption that a soldier will not fear his enemy in combat. Yet, if memory is also manipulated, after a war, there is a greater likelihood that this same soldier will be able to recount the memories of the war itself with a heightened sense of clarity. While soldiers in post-combat situations have been known to experience, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), will a heightened memory only make the effects of PTSD more severe? Research is also being conducted on how to suppress fear through the alteration of naturally occurring chemicals in the brain. The chemical, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been injected into the brains of rats to suppress conditioned fear.[7] This neurotechnological development may have implications for the treatment of soldiers who experience PTSD.

With a stronger memory, soldiers may have the ability to recall that they used to have the emotion/ instinct of fear. How will the inability to fear, in tandem with the knowledge that one used to have such a capacity affect the psychological state of a soldier?

While current research in the field of neurotechnology, may change how much control individual soldiers have over their own cognition, within the rubric of Just Warfare, this technology, and the research aimed towards its successful execution, serves a Just Cause. This is because neurotechnology is presently a defensive technology in nature. Its fullest uses, effects, advantages, and disadvantages must be examined by the United States Armed Forces since current, potential adversaries, China (PRC) and Iran, are also exploring the possible uses of such a technology for offensive military capabilities.

In order to exploit its fullest advantages, one must test these applications on members of the Armed Services, and in many respects, the soldiers become the technology itself - thus bringing into question the moral dilemma of Jus en Bello. Although action in war is related to the cause of war, these principles must be analyzed both separately and as a unit. Therein, it may be found that while a nation has waged a war for a Just Cause, the means by which that cause is achieved, is unjust.

The future application of neurotechnology includes the development of systems that are capable of relaying messages, including images and sounds, between human brains and machines, or from human to human. These messages or commands would be possible through the use of electrodes placed in the brains of these soldiers. “The long-term defense implications of turning thoughts into acts, if it can be developed, are enormous. Imagine US war-fighters who only need to use the power of their thoughts to do things at great distances.”[8] Since DARPA was established in 1958, the agency has been researching and developing scientific methods of improving the defense capabilities of the US military. Currently, this involves improving intellectual and cognitive endurance by exploiting the neurosciences for the development of neurotechnology.

In the following examination, the types of neurotechnology that will undergo analysis will be: neuro- physiological advances in detecting and measuring indicators of psychological states and intentions of individuals; the neuropsychopharmacological [9] effects of certain drugs which inhibit the emotional functional processes of the amygdala, and the hypothalamus, or technologies that can alter human physical or cognitive abilities (including memory enhancing or memory altering drugs); and gene alteration or experimentation to test the impact of the “fear” gene, stathmin.[10] Other types of neurotechnology that will be discussed in the following paper include advances in real-time brain imaging; brain chips- also known as a brain prosthesis; and breakthroughs in high-performance computing and neuronal modeling that could allow researchers to develop systems which mimic functions of the human brain, particularly the ability to organize disparate forms of data. Improvements in cognition would also be developed through the acquisitions of neurostimulation (electrical brain stimulation), and through transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS.) Yet, it has also been stated that, “Mental manipulation that is more insidious and perhaps more effective than torture and measures that are not biological or toxic, have not been subject to explicit examination.”[11] An evolutionary trait in humans has been the ability to filter out unnecessary or useless information. Will memory enhancing measures counter-act this process, lending to a person recalling an overwhelming mass of useless information to the detriment of what they should recall?[12]

As a military technology in itself, is neurotechnology moral? The difficulty in establishing the morality of neurotechnology stems from the offensive and defensive applications that neurotechnology holds. Military technologies of the past have been designed with either primarily offensive or defensive capabilities. B. Liddel Hart argued that ‘Certain weapons alone make it possible under modern conditions to make a decisive offensive against a neighboring country.’ These include: mobility, striking power, and protection for the greater motive of peace enforcement. Yet few of the technologies have been designed so that they can accomplish all three. The very nature of a given military technology, whether it gives an advantage to the offense or to the defense has the likelihood of affecting the nature of a war, including its final outcome.

It can be argued that behavior modification through neurotechnological interventional is a key component of peace enforcement. The primary objective is to prevent violence and to facilitate diplomatic resolutions to a conflict. As such, neuroscientific innovations that improve the cognitive state of a soldier and, in turn, enhance the methods of training and battlefield performance -all directed towards the survival of the soldier, are protective in nature. DARPA must develop these measures not only before our potential adversaries do but also so that we can develop our own countermeasures to them. Such an advantage may also have the ability to discourage potential adversaries prior to the outbreak of hostilities. In this regard, neurotechnology is a defensive technology.[13]

Nueortechnology is likely to alter or affect the existing Laws of War and the historical interpretation of the offensive and defensive use of weaponry. This is because Neurotechnology, unlike technologies of that past, is excessively dangerous if it is used unwisely. It is not the excessive use of the technology or its misapplication that makes it so threatening, but technology’s very ability to alter the “beingness” as an integral part of human thinking and cognition, changing the way that people function. Humans would no longer use weapons of war but instead, the soldiers themselves become the weapons.[14] Even though there are no technological panaceas (a ‘defensive super-weapon’, for instance), advances in neurotechnology, which include, implantable brain-chips, neuro-imaging of mood states, PET [15] Scan lie detectors, and psycho-pharmaceuticals, give humans an unprecedented control over the realm of cognition. This technology gives DARPA the ability to change the fundamental nature as the technology becomes incorporated into the psychical beings of certain people.[16]

With such a precaution in mind, one memory-enhancing device that researchers from the University of Southern California developed, with sponsorship from DARPA, is the silicon based “brain prosthesis.” The hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for storing memory, is often damaged in persons who have either strokes or who have epilepsy. To compensate for such damage, an artificial hippocampus, or chip, was invented, which can be encoded and placed on the damaged area. “Wires leading from one side of the damaged area to the device and from the device to the other side of the damaged area essentially bypass the damaged circuits.”[17] The manipulation of certain genes also offers a way of enhancing the memory of a soldier. Neuroscientists have isolated the gene that codes for N-methly-D-asparate (NMDA) receptors in the brain. When adult mice were given copies of this gene, they showed superior learning skills. Yet, in humans, a drawback to genetic memory enhancement is the possible occurrence of an overload of unnecessary or irrelevant memories that come with enhancement. If a soldier experienced an influx of excessive memories during a combat situation, it could potentially put him or other members of his team at greater risk than would normally ensue if he was in charge of his own faculties.

A greater ethical problem with genetic enhancement of one’s memories is in conducting experiments on persons that already have a hippocampus that is incapable of storing memory perfectly. Such a research subject may be incapable of remembering that they consented to the experiment or remembering what its purpose is.[18] Despite the implications of enhancement, neuroscience is being researched and new technologies that are currently under development, have the potential to alter the very state of human thinking and the way that wars are fought.

There are four basic fields in which neuroscience is being researched, manipulated, and exploited for National Defense purposes. These include, firstly, behavioral and the manipulation of certain genes or chemicals in the brain to affect how a soldier thinks or reacts. Secondly, the integration of the human- machine interface system. This would enable technologies to help humans overcome perceptual and cognitive constraints. Thirdly, neuroscience is being utilized for “learner specific” Education and Training to assess how current training methods and learning techniques are being processed. Examples of this include the ability to measure over-training in specific areas. Will this increase a soldier’s response time in reacting to a threat or does it make them more apathetic to a threat? If a person is over-trained, the repercussions would be that it would reduce response time because thought to possible alternatives would be weakened in favor of an anticipated favorable outcome upon which the subject has been ‘pavloved’ to act.[19] To customized to the variable strengths and weaknesses of learners minimizing knowledge acquisition time and maximizing outcomes. “The ability to define the systems of neurons that are activated as a human learns, practices, and performs mental tasks has allowed impressive integration of the constantly accruing understanding of how neurons use their genes….which has led to the ability to correlate brain images with function and behavior.”[20] The fourth and last field includes the treatment of brain injuries and disorders.

The first category, behavioral neuroscience, is currently under examination with the aim of increasing a soldier’s ability to learn and retain greater amounts of information. The plasticity of the human brain in reference to the acquisition of new skills, is increased when the number of neurons applied to it and associated with it gradually decrease.[21] This plasticity is attributed to one specific chemical in the brain known as GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid) which is secreted by the motor cortex. When the levels of GABA are reduced, the neural system becomes more plastic lending to the ability to learn more quickly and efficiently.

In tandem with research conducted on the chemical processes that take place within the brain, neuroscientists have also been studying memory enhancement capabilities such as increasing the bandwidth of soldiers’ brains in which the company Cyber Kinetics has been interested. DARPA has also been interested in such a venture and has such sponsored Cyber Kinetics for their research into this project. The benefits for soldiers, sailors, or fighter pilots in a combat-rich environment are immense if they are given the ability to retain greater quantities of information. Cyber Kinetics has been able to train monkeys to move a cursor with only their thoughts and has also developed the system known as Braingate. Braingate, although currently used with monkeys, has the potential for human use in connecting a human to a computer memory including its reserve of RAM for information-dense combat zones.[22]

Yet, should memory be manipulated through outside factors? A major concern with external memory manipulation is that the ability for humans to forget irrelevant information is an evolutionary trait. Even selective memory enables a person to block out memories which are psychologically damaging or painful. Will memory-enhancing measures also incorporate a resurgence of unnecessary or perhaps painful memories for those who seek to focus on only certain memories?[23] When individuals have control over their own faculties and their own memory, they have the ability to reflect upon their previous decisions, courses of action, and behaviors. Individuals are capable of learning through their previous experiences through the process of self-reflection and self-evaluation. Yet, this necessitates the ability that they be able to draw upon experiences from their past.

It is reasonable to deduce that other technologically advanced nations who pose a threat to the United States have focused research and development on each of these areas. However, United States Intelligence has not comprehensively monitored the progress or research into neuroscience in which other countries may be involved. The U.S. should not engage in compensatory, “catch-up” research programs, as this will be costly to our national security from both an economic and pragmatic perspective. There are few fields that are as rapidly advancing as brain science. Combined with innovations in nanotechnology, genetics, microelectronics, etc., advances in brain science will only accelerate, and it is probable that major breakthroughs relevant to national security are both viable and imminently achievable. Consequently, here is need for a coordinated, strategic effort to address the ramifications of brain science in the interest of US national security.

According to a study by sixteen scientists of the National Research Council (NRC), both China and Iran have been making advances in their cognitive neuroscientific capabilities. While there is a short list of other nations that have the ability to research and develop technologies in the field of neuroscience, the only two future potential enemies of the United States are China and Iran. There is further reason to believe that these two potential adversaries of the United States are also conducting extensive research into biotechnology and neurotechnology for military purposes. The report given by the National Research- Council emphasized that China is becoming a particularly dangerous threat to the United States in relation to their ability to develop neurotechnology. This is due to China’s ability to requisition a relatively inexpensive labor force in tandem with a contingent of scientific experts within the university system. The NRC has also stated that it remains a mystery as to what specific strategies or weapons China is developing within the auspices of neurotechnological research. Yet, it was also stated that proper precautions should be taken by the United States since China is most likely pursuing advances in cognitive neuroscience to enhance its national defense capabilities.[24] As such, recommendations have been made by the US Intelligence Community that a more centralized indication and warning process should become established so that analysis of the threats emanating from plausible potential adversaries, such as China and Iran can be determined with greater accuracy.[25]

US Intelligence Community evaluations directed towards neuropharmochology also indicate the nefarious potential of this emergent military technology in posing threats to US service-members. “An enemy of the United States could train/ design soldiers to operate under the influence of chemical agents that ordinarily disrupt performance or could modify soldiers to resist such agents.”[26] This resistance could be achieved through several methods including the alteration of genes, physiology, or pharmacology. Neuropharmochology research may also allow soldiers to detect their own degenerative state more accurately, allowing them to take corrective measures.[27]

The United States Intelligence Community has found evidence to support the contention that Potential adversaries such as China and Iran have been researching and developing areas of neurotechnology research including Human- Machine Interface systems for military and intelligence applications and into neuropsychopharmocology.

For example, there is a probability that any manipulation of the hypothalamus will affect the Reticular Activating System (RAS) of a person’s innate being. The responsibility of RAS, within the brain stem, enables humans to think and perceive both our inner selves and the outside world. It does this by both sending sensations to the brain stem, keeping it in an alert and conscious state and in communicating with the limbic system [28] (responsible for emotion and motivation). The limbic system contains the hippocampus (responsible for short term memory), the amygdala, and the hypothalamus. Whether these changes will be manipulated for an adverse agenda or for benevolent purposes cannot be determined and is a factor that is subject to the culture of which the individual is a participant. For example, if a US Soldier became a POW of an adversary of the United States, this adversary could potentially utilize neuropsychopharmeceutical measures to alter the person’s mental state for nefarious purposes.

The United States Military has also been conducting experiments (both invasive and non-invasive) on its own service members for decades while the notion of informed consent in human subject research has remained an issue of contention. [29] Yet, if neurotechnological research is deemed a defensive technology, does this also mean that human experimentation will be deemed as Just? In placing the significance of the ethical dilemma into context, this portion of the paper is designed to begin with the impact of present standards and gradually to go back in time to draw conclusions in assessing the role of human research experimentation in the Armed Forces. These emerging patterns should assist in developing ethical methods of treatment for continuing and future experiments.

Both the United States Army and the United States Navy have a policy regarding human subject research as guided by the 1974 Belmont Report. According to the Belmont Report, the basic ethical principles that should guide all research which involve human subjects include respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. The maxim of respect for persons itself also includes the subcategories that state persons must be treated as autonomous agents and that persons with diminished autonomy must be entitled to increased protection. Autonomous persons are those who are able to think and to rationalize for themselves and who are capable of self-determination. It must be emphasized though that, “…self-determining soldiers don’t have much of a future in the military” and that failure to obey a direct order will most likely result in a court martial.[30] The notion of benefice includes the concomitant features of ‘do no harm’ and maximizes possible benefits while minimizing possible harm. The notion of justice deals with the ethics of who should bear the burden of the research and who should benefit from its findings.

In 1974, in tandem with the establishment of the Belmont Report, the National Research Act became law, and with it, was the creation of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects in Biomedical and Behavioral Research. One of the responsibilities of the Commission included establishing four basic ethical criteria in the guidance of human subject research. These guidelines included: the acknowledgement of the boundaries between behavioral and biomedical research, including the acceptance of the routine practice of medicine, the assessment of the role of the risk-benefit ratio in the determination of human subject research, appropriate guidelines for the selection of research candidates, and the nature and definition of informed consent in research practices.[31]

The United States Army, in proactively exploiting the advantages of neuroscience-based research, for national security purposes, is currently integrating neuroscience-based concepts into its arsenal of defense. The Army is looking to first, improve its ability to predict the performance of individual soldiers in the short term, and secondly, to assess the practicality of the methods used to assess the potential of future candidates in the long term. In order to fulfill such goals, the United States Army currently conducts human subject research in the form of both invasive and non-invasive field methods. Invasive imaging is beneficial in that it provides the most direct information about the brain very expediently. However, the disadvantage is that it always requires surgery. Noninvasive methods of experimentation used by the Army include EEG’s, MEG’s, fMRI’s , yet the information collected through noninvasive methods have been found to be less specific than invasive methods and they take more time to complete.[32]

Within the United States Navy, the Secretary of the Navy is the final authority in the delegation of task management during the process and the evaluation of human subject research. The responsibilities delegated to the Secretary of the Navy include the ability to waive the right to informed consent, especially in situations that are classified as emergency research cases. The Under Secretary of the Navy has the authority to approve research that involves “severe or unusual intrusions, either physical or psychological, on human subjects (including but not limited to consciousness-altering drugs or mind-control techniques).”[33] The use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and drugs are currently being researched for possible improvements in attention, memory, and cognition.[34]

The Department of the Navy currently follows the ethical principles outlined in the Belmont Report as the foundation for its human research protection program.[35] “The Department of the Navy supports human subject research to develop, test, and evaluate war-fighting systems, casualty- care, and personal protection systems, and devices. As defined, research includes a systematic investigation, including research and development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalized knowledge. Human subject research is essential to protect the health and optimize the performance of sailors and marines.[36] ” Accordingly, the DON states that voluntary informed consent, which contains the elements: information, comprehension, and voluntariness, is required throughout the process of human experimentation. It is also stated that, “due to the possibility of greater than minimal risk arising from human subject research, an arrangement for emergency medical treatment and necessary follow-up action must be made available.”[37]

The notion of informed consent contains the elements of: information, comprehension, and voluntariness. Yet certain problems can arise when fully informing a subject of some pertinent aspect of the research in that it will likely impair the validity of the research. In some cases, it is suggested that subjects be invited to take part in research in which some of the features will not be revealed until the research is concluded.[38] Some question as to whether or not the subjects that undergo the experiments are also fully cognizant of the medical implications and/ or possible repercussions of the research that is taking place upon them. They are not practicing physicians and might not understand all of the ramifications of the testing.

Under the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45, part 46, section 102c, informed consent during emergencies (such as wartime) can be waived.[39] Reasons for waiving informed consent include situations in which the subject is facing a life-threatening situation that necessitates immediate intervention. A waiver of the right to informed consent can also be waived if an experimental form of defense will most likely save his life. If the human research subject is unable to give personal informed consent, a Legally Authorized Representative (LAR) may be given the authority to give consent to experimentation for him. A LAR is defined an individual or judicial or other body authorized under applicable law to consent on behalf of a prospective subject to the subject’s participation in the procedure(s) involved in the research. The regulations state that “no investigator may involve a human being as a subject in research covered by this policy unless the investigator has obtained the legally effective informed consent of the subject or the subject’s legally authorized representative.”[40]

This was the situation during the First Gulf War when the Department of Defense received special permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), (which had not approved of the Botulism vaccine), to use the vaccine on soldiers without their informed consent. The waiver of the right to informed consent was based on the need to protect combat troops with methods “thought to provide a reasonable prospect of defense against these threats and an extreme measure demanded by the current circumstances.”[41] Those in the FDA knew that this situation might come up in the future and as such they adopted Rule 23(d) which allowed their commissioner to waive the consent requirement for those in combat situations in which consent is not feasible.[42] This decision was upheld through the mid-1990’s. In 1996, the HHS Secretary announced, under Title 45 part 46, section 101i, a waiver of the applicability of the regulatory requirement for obtaining and documenting informed consent for a strictly limited class of research, that is, research that may be carried out in human subjects who are in need of emergency therapy and for whom, because of the subjects’ medical condition and the unavailability of legally authorized representatives of the subjects, no legally effective informed consent can be obtained. It is suspected that informed consent was and is a policy that is often considered the exception and not the rule.[43]

When the laws of the jurisdiction in which the research is being conducted provide a reasonable basis for authorizing an individual to consent on behalf of a prospective subject to their participation in the research procedures, OHRP would consider such an individual to be an LAR as defined by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Code of Federal Regulations at Title 45 under part 46 “Protection of Human Subjects.” Institutional Review Boards may wish to consult with legal counsel when deciding who can serve as an LAR for subjects of proposed research.[44]

The statute of informed consent within the United States Military was a principle originating in the immediate Post World War II years. In 1947, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) was established and with it began the debate between national security precautions and scientific integrity concerning the use of people in national security experiments. In that year, it was decided that doctors could be trusted to do the right thing without requiring that the human subject be informed of the procedure, its risks, or outcomes that might take place.[45]

During these same years, under the Truman Administration, the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials did however, make an impression on the AEC and its members were well aware of the Nazi doctors who were found guilty of the barbarous “concentration camp studies.” [46] In response, the Nuremberg Code of Medical Ethics was created in tandem with the newly established Department of Defense (DOD) yet it was created so quickly that it also had numerous gaps within its structure, especially in reference to human experimentation. The Nuremberg Code consisted of both general and specific rules that were designed to guide scientists in their research. It was later found that these rules were often inadequate during complex situations or they were difficult to interpret.[47]

The Nuremberg Code also had harsh critics such as Henry Knowles Beecher, who was both a Harvard professor of anesthesiology and a well known and respected researcher in his field. Although Beecher was a staunch advocate of ethical medical experimentation, he criticized the Nuremberg Code as a hindrance to medical research and a burden that would do more harm towards impeding scientific progress than it would do good to the patient. Beecher also criticized the Code’s requirement that a subject as well as the scientists must have full knowledge of the procedure that they would be consenting to and conversely, practicing. He also criticized the Code’s assertion that human experimentation should not be random and in doing so, he cited many medical breakthroughs that originated through accidental situations. Above all, Beecher believed in protecting the independence of the medical researcher and not confining him to regulations imposed upon him by forces outside o the medical profession.[48] The effect of the Nuremberg Code on American Medical practices was minimal at best.

In the end, both military and medical officials agreed that an unwritten code of medical ethics was preferable to the legalities of a written policy so as not to interfere with the independent nature of scientific progress. The Nuremberg Code of Ethics did not make a huge impression upon American medicine. Yet, what did make an impression was the Modern injunction against physician harm towards (The Declaration of Geneva) patients, which had precedents in the Hippocratic Oath.

The General Assembly of the World Medical Association formally adopted the Declaration of Geneva in 1948 and amendments were made to it in 1968, 1984, 1994, 2005, and in 2006. The Declaration of Geneva was designed as a declaration of a physician’s duty towards a patient, and the humanitarian aim of medicine. The Declaration of such goals was largely important especially in lieu of the Nazi medical crimes that had been brought to light during the Nuremberg War Crimes trials. The most important principles of the Declaration as it pertains to human experimentation and informed consent in the United States Armed Forces are, “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life…I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity” and “The health and life of my patient will be my first consideration.”[49] The Declaration also states that it explicitly rejects discrimination on the basis of ‘religion, nationality, race, party politics, or social standing.’[50] Should not this also include those who serve in the Armed Forces? Yet, it has also been argued that the men and the women of the Armed Forces lack certain aspects of the First Amendments Rights that civilians have.

While Military Medical Officials supported the notion that an unwritten code of ethics was preferable to the idea of informed consent, President Truman’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Lovett and assistant defense secretary, Anna Rosenberg, advocated a written consent policy. Yet, opposition to any written consent was so strong that this debate was handed over to the incoming Eisenhower Administration and the newly appointed Defense Secretary, Charles Wilson.[51]

During the 1950’s, after the Declaration of Geneva had been established, and coinciding with the establishment of the DOD, was the threat from the Soviet Union. Fears that Soviet scientists were making greater amounts of progress in research and development into unconventional weaponry, including the use of human experimentation, urged US officials to address how to defend against this threat.

During the 1950’s, the Pentagon “technically” required informed consent during human experimentation procedures. However, in the early 1950’s, Truman’s Secretary of Defense, Robert Lovett, expressed grave concerns over the lack of preparedness by the United States government in case of chemical or biological warfare.[52] During these years, members of the US Military were exposed to atomic radiation as well as to chemical and biological nerve agents. Yet, these events were conducted under the auspices of “field trials of environmental contaminants involving human subjects or as training exercises” and not as “human experimentation.” As a result, the rule of informed consent did not apply.[53] Yet the ability to differentiate the difference between the development of a new military technology and methods of training versus experimentation on human subjects was not always clear. The key factor that often differentiated human experimentation from regular training exercises was if a doctor was supervising the medical aspects of the event or not.[54]

Throughout the 1950’s, the Air Force and the Army conducted human subject research even while the debate over the Nuremberg policy was happening. Many of the various types of experiments done in the 1950’s, chemical, biological, and radioactive, were conducted without the informed consent of the participating individuals. While a logical explanation for such a breach of individual rights is clear, many senior officers in the Armed Forces argued that they were not aware of a written-consent policy.

Under normal conditions, civilians have the right to refuse medical treatment that is meant to enhance their cognitive or mental faculties. However, according to the 1950 Uniform Code of Military Justice, ‘soldiers are required to accept medical interventions that make them fit for duty.’ This includes experimental treatments, where in the past the US Government has shown a tendency to defer to the judgment of commanders in the field if they suspect that a treatment might inflict more harm than benefit to a soldier.[55]

The Nuremberg Code of Medical Ethics has influenced both the general and the specific guidelines within the 1974 Belmont Report. Yet, the Nuremberg Code was assessed in a manner meant to guide researchers and practitioners in a generalized manner in their work. It has not been used as a concrete set of rules or regulations that must be adhered to. “Such rules often are inadequate to cover complex situations; at times they come into conflict, and they are frequently difficult to interpret or apply. Broader ethical principles will provide a basis on which specific rules may be formulated, criticized and interpreted.” From such a point, practitioners and researchers have the medical liberty to decide what is best for the human subject.[56]

Under the 1950 UCMJ, there are four main articles that curtail free speech within the US military: Article 88, Contempt towards Officials; Article 92, Failure to Obey an Order or Regulation; Article 133, Conduct Unbecoming; and Article 134, General Article.[57] Article 92 states that, “A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution…or for some reason is beyond the authority of the official issuing it.” If an order is given, it is presumed that it is lawful. [58] Does the UCMJ article 92, “Failure to obey an order or regulation” in regards to an order given or consent by a superior given for the testing of human experimentation, clash with the Declaration of Geneva, adopted in 1948 (which in itself is a derivation of the Hippocratic Oath)? The elements of article 92 are,: (a) a certain lawful general order or regulation was in effect; (b) the accused had a duty to obey that order or regulation; and (c) the accused violated or failed to obey the order or regulation).

Even though the men and women of the US Armed Forces have curtailed First Amendment Rights, this does not preclude their right to informed consent. Nevertheless, some medical ethicists would argue that objective informed consent is impossible in a wartime setting because there will be circumstantial limitations that retard the sterile nature of the experiment regardless of any moral intent to protect the subject. [59] But what would one say to the medical ethicists in the case of a protracted war, such as in Vietnam or Afghanistan? Or with the ‘War on Terrorism’ where there is no Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA)?

It stands to reason that because the possibility of self-sacrifice is fundamental to service in the US Armed Forces, that military personnel would make the most justifiable and legitimate candidates for human-research experimentation. Yet, in tandem with this mentality, is the debate between military officials- those who do not wish for the soldiers to be perceived as guinea pigs in laboratories and those who would argue that submitting to medical experimentation is a natural extension of the requirements that include military discipline and for one to follow orders without question. [60]

Human experimentation within the US government is a necessary requirement for the defense and security of our armed forces and civilian populace. The Department of Defense is guided by the framework of the Common Rule, designed to protect human research participants. The Common Rule both requires that an Ethics Committee review a proposal for research and that informed consent is obtained. This procedure generally works, but it can always be bypassed if a military authority requests a waiver of the informed consent on the basis of national security. [61] Through limited and controlled testing, human experimentation should seek to prevent, destruction and harm caused by our potential adversaries on a mass scale. Human experimentation in the military protects future soldiers and a greater proportion of them if the effects of the threat are understood. For this, the government must investigate metacognitive concepts such as learning, memory, perception, intelligence, decision- making, and situational awareness to improve the capabilities of the soldier. [62] “Even prior to one’s participation in conflict, neuroscience-focused innovations may be able to enhance the selection, training, and prospect for the survival of troops long before they are deployed.” [63]

Neuroscience based innovations will have the ability to optimize performance and focus in battle as well. Neurotechnology is intended to counteract hindrances such as fear, guilt, memory, or sleep deprivation.

Two generalized categories of fear are those expressed by inexperienced soldiers and the fears expressed by soldiers with combat experience. Cross-cultural studies indicate that the former is rooted in the fear of dismemberment or a painful death while the latter is rooted in the fear of not fulfilling one’s obligation to their team. Neuro-pharmacological intervention that nullifies the instinct of fear may yield hazardous results. It has often been stated that the infantryman on the battlefield fights not for his country but for the man beside him on his team. If enhancements are used on the soldiers, it could potentially lead to recklessness and weaken unit cohesion because one will no longer “fear” letting down the man beside him.

The next emotion that often plagues those in the military is guilt. The emotion of guilt effects those in all echelons of the service as each must make choices that include putting other’s lives at risk or the taking of lives. Each culture or society differentiates between killing as murder and killing as a warrior/soldier. While those who are raised in civil society are taught that killing is morally wrong, once a person enters the military, he has the ability to take life for moral purposes. Yet, many individuals struggle with such a paradox of taking another human life. Those who do, accept the possibility of guilt as a result of the taking of life. If a soldier chooses not to kill even if it is necessary, he faces censure and shame.

The guilt felt by the men in the individual units is often the result of group pressure, loyalty to one’s comrades, respect for one’s leaders, concern for how one is perceived by both their comrades and their superiors, and an urge to contribute to success. [64] “The combat soldier appears to feel a deep sense of responsibility and accountability for what he sees around him. It is as though every enemy dead is a person that he has killed and every friendly dead is a comrade for whom which he was responsible. [65] The dualism of these coexisting emotions only reinforce the sense of guilt and helplessness that a soldier may experience in battle.

Drug therapies such as beta- blockers, including Propanelol, are being tested to see if they have the ability to block neurotransmitters that consolidate emotion with long-term memory. “Soldiers then, who could pop an anti-guilt pill might not accrue experiences that lead them to hesitate when faced with an enemy they have been trained to kill.” [66] If the fear or memory of soldiers is controlled through drugs, then that jeopardize the fighter’s own ability of restraint and discipline, including doing what is right, and everything that makes up ethics. By default, ethics represents the rules of right and proper conduct for an individual to be practiced by that person as the shaper of his own destiny by acting and living rightly. [67]

Certain physicians speculate that soldiers will feel that the pill will give them further incentive to carry out lethal force because it will numb them to the pain of any after effects, including the moral dilemma of killing another human being. [68] The other side of the dilemma that must also be given due consideration is the effect of such therapy on personal emotions such as courage, bravery, and patriotism and how these drug therapies will affect the bond forged between soldiers in combat.

As it relates to fear, guilt, or memory, if neuro-pharmacological intervention removes these factors from the equation, how will the manipulation of suppression of these affect a soldier’s behavior in battle if he knows that the consequences of his actions or inactions will not haunt him? If fear, guilt and memory are suppressed or manipulated, the components of loyalty and accountability will also inevitably become affected.

DARPA and the DOD fund the money for the research that scientists are doing. Accordingly, about 90% of DARPA’s budget is directed towards funding in the university system including the scientific field’s medical studies. [69] DARPA funds the majority of the brain research which has galvanized a minority of neuroscientists within the neuroscience community, to question the intentions of the persons who fund their work. Many DARPA-funded scientists continue to do research however, because they argue that many military funded technologies yield positive results for civil society, including the use of prosthetic devices for the disabled. [70]

According to the director of DARPA, Tony Tether, one program that is currently being worked on, the Continuous Assisted Performance (CAP) Program, is designed to research ways to prevent fatigue and enable soldiers to stay alert, awake, and effective for up to seven days without suffering any mentally or physically harmful effects. [71] The deleterious effects of a lack of sleep and the way in which it affects the cognitive capacity of a soldier will be discussed in greater detail later in the paper. The way in which a lack of sleep affects a soldier is simply one aspect that DARPA researches.

Under the direction of program manager, Amy Kruse, who holds a doctorate in neuroscience, DARPA has been a major leader in the research and development of neurotechnology for national security. The two main elements of DARPA’s research have included how computers reading brain waves may one day speed up the ways intelligence analysts detect targets in satellite images and may also alert unit commanders when soldiers are losing situational awareness. Advances in this field will not only speed up target acquisition but it will also enable soldiers to maintain situational awareness in dense combat situations.

According to Dr. Kruse, "The operational environment will continue to become more crowded with information, so it is clear that our soldiers must be able to manage complex situations with faster, more accurate, and more concentrated cognitive capabilities. This means that issues such as cognitive overload, fatigue, and decision-making under stress are fast becoming crucial factors in performance." [72]

The point is that in combat, when a soldier is under stress and trying to take in too much information at one time, he can find himself the victim of "tunnel vision.” In a training situation, for example, the soldier may be looking for the enemy over a hill while being subjected to simulated fire. Then an explosion occurs nearby. Meanwhile, the platoon commander is yelling at the soldier to turn right and to move away from his current location.

The program, Neurotechnology for Intelligence Analysts, will aid in counteracting the problem of environmental overload not only for those who sort through the vital information but also for the soldiers who use that information in the field. It is currently taking the analysts too long to turn the data into usable information that can be acted on by decision-makers and war fighters. While it currently takes an expert analyst an hour to review intelligence, the goal is to cut the time it takes an expert analyst to review imagery down to a matter of 10 minutes. In one exercise, the NIA project found that sorting through 5-10 images per second was possible. Similarly, an inexperienced analyst will be able to improve his review time, which takes an average of six hours, on the same material and condense it down to one hour. The projected date for the operational use of the NIA program will be in 5 10 years. [73]

The Honeywell Image Triage System (HITS) is a technology that shows major promise in speeding up the rate at which Intelligence Analysts detect and decide vital information and turn it into actionable intelligence. It does this through first reading the Analyst’s brain waves, which indicate recognition of a target even before the person has processed that they have seen it. Smith says it is the equivalent of a person seeing something "out of the corner of his eye."

HITS takes a satellite image and breaks it up into smaller image "chips" that can be shown to an intelligence analyst like flash cards at a rate of 5-20 images per second. When the Intelligence Analyst examines an imagine flashing by, his brain produces electrical activity, which is recorded through electrodes placed on the subject’s scalp. As the analyst looks at one of the imagines flashing by, there is corresponding increased brain activity.

During the study, while each image flashes by, the subject is asked to look for an airplane. Even if the subject may answer that they did not view such a target, digital signal processing of the brain wave activity reveals that, in fact, he did see an airplane on slide 32.

"This process allows us to do triage on large amounts of visual information we get from different sources and improve an analyst's ability to go through a large amount of imagery," says Smith. In fact, the analyst can do the job 5-7 times faster using the triage system than unaided. In fact, the effort "builds on what we have been doing in human factors in avionics for a long time," relates Smith, and relies on the company's understanding of the man-machine interface. [74]

Smith reports that at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground, Honeywell equipped infantry soldiers with brain and physiological sensors and monitored them during field training exercises. “The brain sensors were designed to monitor activity in the frontal lobe. The physiological sensors included ones for the heart (electrocardiogram) and eyes. The data was used to determine workload, state of cognitive activity, and the soldier's level of attentiveness at a particular time.” [75]

In the demonstration, it was shown that soldiers could be instrumented with a wireless computer to help them and their commander manage stress and information overload. Knowing that a soldier is no longer absorbing additional data may suggest to the platoon leader that he should not give that person a key task during an attack. Through the results of experiments such as these, experts at DARPA argue that the future of NIA technology, based on the use of neuroscientific techniques, shows great promise not only for the US Military but also for the US Defense Department.

The most current research, Improving Soldier Information Intake Under Stress (ISIIUS), currently under development, seeks to expand the information capacity rate and gathering speed of the human- computer soldier’s symbiosis by demonstrating quantifiable enhancements to human performance in stressful operational environments. According to the mission description, “The main goal of the program is to develop a closed-loop computational system in which the computer adapts to the state of the soldier to significantly improve performance.” [76] One person will be able to do the job that normally takes three persons to accomplish. DARPA has designed a “cognitive feedback helmet” for this mission to record and interpret brain activity through sensors that record blood flow in the cortex down five centimeters deep. [77] Theoretically, any blood flow data associated with stress, anxiety, or confusion could be monitored through outside controls. Orders could then be changed or combat instructions could be clarified without the soldier even having to report on his state of mind. [78]

The confusion and error that is often innate to combat is also a result of sleep deprivation and exhaustion. Military scientists and DARPA, through the Preventing Sleep Deprivation Program (PSD), have been researching an effective intervention method that could both minimize the need for sleep while retaining full cognitive capacity. Through the use of fMRI scans, DARPA researchers have been able to pinpoint which neural pathways in the brain work more efficiently than others while a person is in a sleep-deprived state. With such research, neuroscientists have been able to identify an area of the hypothalamus, the suprachiasmatic nuleaus (SCN) as the key portion of the brain responsible for the sleep-wake cycle. If it is cut or removed, the sleep-wake cycle is subject to alteration. The exposure to light at random hours is another less invasive measure of altering the sleep-wake cycle. [79] Experimentation that involves the hypothalamus though, whether invasive or non-invasive, should be handled with extreme caution. The hypothalamus is responsible for ensuring that the various aspects of body functions are in balance, which include the flow of blood, the level of carbon dioxide in one’s system, body temperature, hunger, thirst, and sleep regulation. The hypothalamus sends these signals through the automatic nervous system as well as triggering a response of the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The importance of the RAS is that it triggers or ‘awakens’ the brain cortex- the area of the brain that gives humans the ability to reason, to perceive, and to think. The RAS is also responsible for the regulation and control of perception, and the flight or fight instinct in humans. [80]

A person’s RAS, the brain’s limbic system, and the prefrontal cortex are all interconnected and impact the way that a person views himself and the world. Imaging studies indicate that a person’s notion of ‘self-relevance,’ personality, and the ability to identify the mental states of others are located primarily in the prefrontal cortex. [81] Physiologically, the prefrontal cortex is mainly responsible for ‘executive function’ among individuals, which translates into the ability to differentiate good from bad, future outcomes of current behaviors, and social controls. Any alteration in the processes of the limbic system may adversely and irreversibly affect the executive function of individuals.

How does this affect the warrior code? How will current Neurotechnology usage and the manipulation of memory or fear (Jus en Bello) affect soldiers’ future decision making capabilities for Jus ad Bellum if they are to become the future leaders?

In the United States, each branch of the Armed Services has its own unique qualifications and code of behavior for the war fighter serving within its ranks. Yet, there are specific character values that are fundamental to each of the Armed Services as well. The modern warrior ethic stresses valor, loyalty, and duty even under the direst of circumstances. This ethic, it would appear, serves two functions which are especially important given the environment in which one works. Ethics helps a war fighter to differentiate between the killing he is required to do and between simple murder. He is constrained to project force only in certain and limited circumstances. If he complies, he is honorable - if he doesn’t - he is a thug, or a sadist. The ethic therefore provides constraint. It can also help to justify the force used. The warrior is a representative of the state for which he fights.

The very emotions that drive a soldier to become courageous, demonstrate honorable behavior on and off the battlefield, and to be loyal have been reinforced within the warrior culture of the US Armed Forces as expressed in each services own unique code of ethics. Each ethical code inculcates the value of selflessness to one’s fellow man and to one’s country, courage in the face of defeat or to confront the enemy, loyalty, obedience to one’s superiors, and above all, patriotism. [82] Two other aspects of the Code of Conduct for each branch of the US Armed Forces include discipline and trust.

A driving purpose of the warrior code is to offer guidance and a form of protection for soldiers in combat. When neurotechnology begins to change 'psychological inhibitions,' the role of morality is called into question. Similarly, we must consider whether the act of altering one’s cognitive or mental faculties equates to the disproportionate use of measures utilized to achieve the outcome of the war and therein break the rules of Jus en Bello. If neurotechnology is used for defensive purposes, according to Western Just War Theory, the use is therefore also Just. As Saletan points out, 'once technology manipulates ethics [83] , ethics can no longer judge technology.'[84]

How will neurotechnology affect the traditional notion of the warrior code and the need for training, drill, and discipline? Each is used to override emotionality, impetuosity, and fear. [85] “For the critical element of discipline and the reflex of training is the ability of a formation to stand fast in the face of an enemy, whether attacking or being attacked, without giving way to natural impulses of fear and panic.” [86] The only way to effectively harness true command and control of oneself is by first experiencing the rigors of fear, doubt, or panic and learning to temper them. Those in positions of authority, who possess high moral and physical courage, do so because they experienced battle as it was.

If this same soldier was under the influence of neuropharmeceuticals, he would not have that ability. It would be a case of the ends justifying the means. The argument can be made that a warrior code itself is a burden and that a system of neuro-technological enhancements will be able to relieve a soldier of the physical, mental, and emotional stresses that are caused through warfare. With the advent of neurotechnology, there will be no need to have sympathy or support from one’s peers, no need to have identification or a bond with comrades, no need for concerns of bravery, loyalty, and honor. Proponents of neurotechnology argue that war can be made entirely sterile through the intersection of neuroscience and military technology.

The code inculcates the ideals of honor, courage, and bravery in soldiers who physiologically, would not be apt to commit crimes in war yet who need these ideals to motivate them and to help them combat their own fear. Without a code, war becomes unrestrained and unregulated while all the while, the civilian populace interprets the killing as possible murder. A code distinguishes the killing of the enemy.

A code also restrains the warrior who may seek revenge in combat and sets boundaries on his behavior. ‘Warriors seek to be seen as defenders and as protectors of their societies and a code enable a warrior to justify taking the lives that he must while not feeling that it is murder.’ A code is a type of moral self- discipline and regulation which prevents a soldier from simply reacting when witnesses atrocities from happening on the battlefield. The horrors of the battlefield function to incite fear, confusion, or terror in certain individuals. Yet, a code of behavior which emphasizes bravery and courage serves to ‘rescue’ these warriors and to keep them focused throughout the hell that they will endure. It helps to prevents him from committing those same atrocities himself. It regulations action and behavior and provides a personal sense of restraint for the warrior. The code sets certain parameters of moral and ethical behavior on the warrior in combat and it serves in aiding warriors who wish to protect their humanity. Warriors who are not personally restrained by a code, and who not limit their actions, can be considered effective but only at the loss of their humanity. [87] A code protects the warriors from serious psychological damage in that it helps them to distinguish what they are doing out of a sense of duty versus what a killer does for gain or for the sheer sadistic pleasure of it. [88] “If they take the duty of taking life too lightly, they risk losing their humanity.” [89]

The “Ethical Constitution of the Human Act,” which describes human actions or human conduct, consists of three factors. These factors are: knowledge, freedom, and voluntariness. [90] “Unless the human will is free, a man cannot choose between right and wrong, is not responsible for what he does, and cannot direct the course of his life.” [91] If a soldier, under the effects of neurotechnology, is given an unjust order, he will no longer have the ability to disobey it because of his own free will he disagrees with the morality of it. This takes away any individual initiative or ability to appeal to a higher transcendent moral authority.

Ardent proponents of neurotechnological enhancements argue that these innovations may well be capable of relieving the warrior of the frailties that the warrior code is designed to guard against. Physical frailties such as fear and lack of sleep can be ameliorated. Further, the new soldier will no longer need to worry about fatigue, disease on the battlefield, and a host of other conditions from psychological to amputation and disfigurement - all of which can be cured as well through a vast system of technologies. Gone will be anxieties traditionally connected with the enterprise of war - the fear, the pain, the imminence of death. Second thoughts- guilt, shame, and pride can also be dissipated, as can the need to question the use of force in the first place. Gone too would be the need for personal achievement - glory, honor, and the crush of neither agony nor defeat. What difficulties there might be, can be adjusted after the fact on an individual basis - no need for condolence or support from fellows, no identification with comrades, no concern over valor, loyalty, honor etc. These improvements would appear to be the logical extension of making the entire project of war pain free in order to obtain optimal efficiency - in itself a worthy goal.” [92]

Warriors who undergo neurotechnologial advancements will not have the freedom to experience a sense of honor nor will they be able to experience what it would be like to strive for a cause greater than oneself and to grow personally from it. More importantly, they will not be able to evaluate the weight of their actions nor the actions of their comrades in warfare. Men who serve in the ranks in warfare are often capable of serving in higher positions of authority down through the years and thus are able to reform what needs to be changed.

Other implications that may ensue as a result of neurotechnoligcal enhancements will be the loss of loyalty or duty to the cause of one’s nation. Will the loss of fear in battle, or the loss of identity to one’s comrades lead to the defection of soldiers, the apathy or indifference if soldiers to the military aim of the war, or will soldiers be more willing to spy for an enemy if they no longer have the personal feelings of allegiance to their country?

Soldiers in the heat of battle are often motivated by a sense of group identity and they form bonds not only with one another but also with their superiors. The most instinctive factors that drive soldiers to fight in combat include respect for their peers, admiration for their leaders, concern for their own reputation among both their peers and their leaders, and lastly, the incentive to contribute to the successful execution of the mission. [93] The benefit and driving force behind these emotional bonds between the soldiers is that it drives the force and motivates them out of feelings to protect one another. The negative repercussions of drug therapies upon these same soldiers would create the possibility of stifling these emotional responses leading to the possibility of an almost amoral or apathetic mindset.

As Defense and Military officials seeks to understand the place and impact of this emerging military technology, three considerations must be taken into account. Concurrently, the United States DOD and the Armed Forces must continue human experimentation research in the field of neurotechnology so that we will be prepared to protect our forces against an attack of this same nature. Otherwise, it would be immoral and wrong not to develop such a technology for the greater defense of the United States and those who serve it. While the development of neurotechnology offers many benefits and forms of defense for the United States service-members, it may come at the cost of their own identity. Yet, it is also highly probably that the potential adversaries of the United States, such as China and Iran, are also exploiting the field of neuroscience for military purposes. With this reality in mind, it would be criminally negligent and unethical for the DOD if it did not continue research in neurotechnology. Yet, the neurotechnology deemed appropriate for battlefield purposes by US soldiers must be done so after being filtered within the context of Just War. Whatever is accepted for use will nevertheless require new protocols for rotation of units in the field in tandem with the continuing evolution of command and control considerations. While the only Just way to pursue neurotechnology is in the pursuit of wars of defense, or Just Cause, this inevitably entails the research and experimentation of emerging technologies in the field of neuroscience on members of our own Armed Forces. In doing so, their short term and long term health is at risk for the greater welfare of many. The adverse long-term effects of neurotechnology are unknown. It is too new and, as such, the long-term effects or negative repercussions of it may not become apparent in the soldiers it was used upon for years to come. This is the conundrum with which we in the armed forces of this country must cope. Thus, the question of ethics remains, it is ethical to continue research in the field of neurotechnology on members of the United States Armed Forces? If this is not done for the sake of retaining a sense of humanity while the potential adversaries of the United States continue research and development of such a technology, will this be judged by future ethicists as criminal negligence?

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Copyright © 2012 Holly Senatore

Written by Holly Senatore. If you have questions or comments on this article, please contact Holly Senatore at:

About the author:
Holly Senatore was born and raised in San Francisco, California in a military household. Her goal is to teach U.S. Naval History or Modern Japanese Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD after she finishes her PhD in History. She has always had a passion for World War II in the PAC theater and in recent years, that interest has expanded to include relations between America and Japan since the mid-nineteenth century.

Published online: 03/04/2012.

* Views expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent those of MHO.
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