(TMU) – Both China and the U.S. want to genetically modify soldiers to create “super soldiers” pushing us into a new era of neuroscience warfare.
In a recent article by The Sun, the publication highlighted a defense think tank’s opinion on China developing “terminator style” super soldiers. The think tank, Rusi, also expressed that America is doing much of the same research that China is doing.
“The threat is obvious and real. Chinese money could be stealing a march on western armed forces and that is deeply concerning,” Rusi’s Professor John Louth told The Sun.
“GM technology is proven with plants, it could absolutely be applied to the person,” Prof Louth added.
“In China, it is reasonable to assume that they are enhancing their battlefield soldiers on all these fronts.”
The two countries have both discussed modifying their military for a new domain of warfare. ‘The Chinese People Liberation Army’ is sponsoring research into gene editing and human performance enhancement.
China’s national strategy of military-civil fusion (军民融合) highlighted biology as a priority going all the way back to 2017. Thus far, China has been leading the world in the number of trials utilizing CRISPR, a gene-editing technology in humans. Over a dozen clinical trials are known to have been undertaken editing human genes.
In fact, the foundation for Chinese studies into biotechnology actually goes back to 2015 and may even go back even further.
James Town Foundation writes the following about Chinese research into biotechnology.
“Chinese military scientists and strategists have consistently emphasized that biotechnology could become a “new strategic commanding heights of the future Revolution in Military Affairs” (军事革命, junshi geming) (PLA Daily, October 2015).”
The foundation goes on to state:
“Notably, Major General He Fuchu (贺福初), former president of the Academy of Military Medical Sciences (AMMS) and now vice president of the Academy of Military Sciences, has long been a prominent proponent of the militarization of biotechnology (PLA Daily, October 6, 2015). Maj. Gen. He has anticipated that “Modern biotechnology and its integration with information, nano(technology), and the cognitive, etc. domains will have revolutionary influences upon weapons and equipment, the combat spaces, the forms of warfare, and military theories” (Reference News, August 24, 2017),” James Town wrote.
Meanwhile here in the U.S., the Pentagon and the ‘Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’ (DARPA) – which is apart of the Department of Defense (DOD) – has also expressed an interest in the science of creating Captain America like soldiers. The effort appears to be clearly underway by the Biomedical, Human Performance, and Canine Research Program.
In 2018, the U.S. military United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) announced that its BHPCR would be funded for upwards to $15 million dollars for research to create “bio-enhanced” super-soldiers. That money could result in soldiers with “enhanced physiological performance” that require a fraction of a normal night’s sleep, as well along with other “human performance optimizations,” according to documents from the Defense Department.
There is also an interest in using telepathy so a pilot can control up to 250 drones through a brain-computer interface (BCI), or to be rapidly healed on the battlefield through tissue regeneration and neuro-tech.
Boy, never a dull moment over there at @DARPA. Here's a look at their #brain-computer interface that allows for telepathic piloting of #drones: https://t.co/MuqdWLW80b @thesociable #BCI #neurotech pic.twitter.com/SsGzXVqH1w
— IEEE Brain (@IEEEBrain) September 12, 2018
DARPA also wants to use gene editing to develop defenses against biologically engineered threats before they are ever unleashed, the agency’s director Steven Walker said during a meeting last year at Center For Strategic And International Studies (CSIS.) That includes proactively editing troops’ DNA to produce a wide array of antibodies, and biochemically blocking hostile attempts to edit DNA. In other words, creating super-immune soldiers ready to take on any biochemical threat.
“Our focus is about the protection aspect and the restoration, versus enhancement,” Steven Walker said. “All these technologies, they’re dual use. You can use them for good; you can use them for evil — and DARPA is about using them for good, to protect our warfighters.”
The other two options besides directly affecting human biology are using nano-augmentation in combination with high-tech prosthetic implants or utilizing high tech outer body exo-suits that enable a wearer to have abilities like super strength. The Pentagon in the past has detailed its interest in developing exo-suits dubbed Ironman and has even previously developed prototypes of the mechanical device. This is all under the Warrior Web program by DARPA which began in 2011. Business Insider also reports that Warrior Web isn’t the only innovative suit that is being worked on, the Special Operations Command has its own Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit project or TALOS.
It seems our reality is turning into a video game, like Deus-Ex or a Tom Clancy novel with Cyborg Soldiers, which the DoD estimates will be here by 2050. Although, with advancements in the technology and China racing ahead, it could be here sooner than later.