Enhanced Warfighters: Risk, Ethics, and Policy - Ethics + Emerging ...

Jan 1, 2013 - as “biological weapons” under the Biological and. Toxin Weapons ... Internet and Society; and Australia's Centre for. Applied ... sity; retired US Army Brigadier General and JAG officer); Prof. ... History has seen an evolution of.
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Enhanced Warfighters: Risk, Ethics, and Policy

Prepared for:

The Greenwall Foundation

Prepared by:

Patrick Lin, PhD Maxwell J. Mehlman, JD Keith Abney, ABD California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo College of Liberal Arts Philosophy Department Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group Case Western Reserve University School of Law School of Medicine The Law-Medicine Center

Prepared on:

January 1, 2013




Index Executive summary Disclosures

iii iv

1. Introduction 1.1. Purpose 1.2. Background 1.3. Questions

1 2 3 8

2. What is human enhancement? 2.1. Controversies 2.2. Working definition 2.3. Variables 2.4. Technology survey

11 12 17 18 21

3. Law and policy 3.1. International humanitarian law 3.2. US domestic law 3.3. Operations

28 28 36 38

4. Bioethics 4.1. Research model 4.2. Medical model 4.3. Public-health model

43 44 50 54

5. Risk Assessment 5.1. Risk-benefit model 5.2. Risk factors

57 57 61

6. A hybrid framework 6.1. Legitimate military purpose 6.2. Necessity 6.3. Benefits outweigh risks

66 66 67 67

Enhanced Warfighters: Risk, Ethics, and Policy Copyright 2013 © Patrick Lin, Maxwell J. Mehlman, and Keith Abney.


6.4. 6.5. 6.6. 6.7. 6.8. 6.9.

The warfighter’s dignity is maintained Burdens are minimized Consent Transparency Fair distribution of risks and benefits Superiors are accountable

71 71 72 75 75 76

7. Other considerations 7.1. Character and virtues 7.2. Emotions and honor 7.3. Broader impacts 7.4. Conclusion

77 77 80 84 86

8. References


Appendix 1: List of acronyms Appendix 2: Authors Appendix 3: Contact information

105 106 108

Enhanced Warfighters: Risk, Ethics, and Policy Copyright 2013 © Patrick Lin, Maxwell J. Mehlman, and Keith Abney.


Executive Summary The United States military is making substantial investments to develop technologies that would enhance the ability of warfighters to complete their missions safely and effectively. Driven by neuroscience, biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, and other emerging technologies, this research includes combating sleep deprivation, improving cognitive performance, increasing strength, reducing muscle fatigue, and other enhancements to the human body and mind. As with other emerging military technologies, such as robotics and cyber-capabilities, human enhancement technologies challenge existing laws and policy, as well as underlying ethical values. But while the implications of human enhancement generally have been widely discussed, little analysis currently exists for the military context—specifically operational, ethical, and legal implications of enhancing warfighters, such as:

We start with an analysis of international and domestic law, military policy, bioethics, and risk assessments. Then we offer a new framework for evaluating human enhancement technologies in a military context. As an initial model, we also discuss further considerations—related to character and honor, as well as broader social impacts—that can be integrated later into this evaluative framework. Given a significant lag time between ethics and technology, it is imperative to start considering the issues before novel technologies fully arrive on the scene and in the theater of war. Consider, for instance, the sudden explosion in number of robots in war and the ensuing confusion and controversies over their use. This report, therefore, is intended to help avoid similar ethical, legal, and policy surprises, as well as technology misuses that affect national reputations and real lives.

How safe should these human enhancements and new medical treatments be prior to