Soldier enhancement: ethical risks and opportunities

Abstract

Over the past decade, interest in human enhancement has waxed and waned. The initial surge of interest and funding, driven by the US Army’s desire for a ‘Future Force Warrior’ has partly given way to the challenges of meeting operational demands abroad. However the ethical opportunities provided by soldier enhancement demand that investigation of its possibilities continue. Benefits include enhanced decision-making, improved force capability, reduced force size and lower casualty rates. These benefits — and enhancement itself — carry concomitant risks, including morale issues due to tension between enhanced and unenhanced soldiers, the issues of enhanced veterans and ownership of enhanced bodies, challenges to the army’s core values and personal identity issues. A range of measures should be designed to highlight the opportunities offered by enhancement while also minimising the potential risks. This includes providing advice on which areas the army ought to demonstrate restraint in research for ethical reasons.

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Author Profiles

Sandra Lynch
University of Notre Dame Australia
Mattt Beard
University of Notre Dame Australia

Citations of this work

Trump’s Military as the De Facto Environmental Leader.Jai Galliott - 2018 - Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (1):13-16.
Human enhancement – ethical aspects.Lukáš Švaňa - 2017 - Human Affairs 27 (2):155-165.

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References found in this work

Moral enhancement.Thomas Douglas - 2008 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (3):228-245.
Freedom and moral enhancement.Michael J. Selgelid - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (4):215-216.
Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military.Jonathan D. Moreno - 2013 - Monash Bioethics Review 31 (2):83-99.
Military Medical Ethics - A Review of the Literature and a Call to Arms.Michael L. Gross - 2013 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 22 (1):92-109.

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