What lengths will the U.S. go through to ensure China doesn't abuse its military power globally?
Three and a half years ago, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center released a 3-minute long video depicting "The Soldier of the Future," a look into the ideal U.S. uniformed soldier supported by advanced technology and guided by intelligence.
In the 1:42 mark in the video, which can be viewed below, it presents what it calls the "Human Dimension" that makes up a soldier, outlining five things: Distributed/Adaptive Training and Immersive Simulation, Neural Engineering, Optimized Human Performance, Nutritional Intervention, and Physiological Status Monitoring.
But what exactly is "neural engineering" and does it fall into the ethical limits of the Constitution in relation to the development of "super soldiers"?
Neural engineering or neuroengineering is defined by Britannica as the biomedicine discipline that uses engineering technologies and mathematical and computational methods combined with techniques in neuroscience and biology to "[enhance the] understanding of the functions of the human nervous system and the improvement of human performance, especially after injury or disease."
So how is this field of study being implemented in the military and does it break ethical limits? Is the U.S. a step closer to creating "super soldiers" to counter its enemies such as China's?
If the U.S. Army CCDC Soldier Center video on "The Soldier of the Future" is any indication, the answer might probably be yes.
CBN News reported that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA is already working on an "advanced implant" that will enable putting the human brain "online" and using eye and ear implants among other circuitry to create, essentially, an "optimal fighting machine."
What some may believe are the "super soldiers" of the future could be enhanced humans or cyborgs, which are part human and part machine.
Back in December 2020, former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, in which he warned against China as a rising power. He declared that the People's Republic of China is the "greatest threat" to the U.S. and is the "greatest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide" since the second World War.
He argued that based on intelligence, "Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically" through its "rob, replicate and replace" strategy.
This strategy involves stealing U.S. intellectual property, replicating technology, and then giving American businesses a run for their money.
As China poses as the primary national security threat to the U.S., it's interesting to know that the American military is gearing up to face one of its biggest enemy by possibly developing "super soldiers" of its own.
In December 2020, NBC News reported that according to U.S. intelligence, China has already conducted "human testing" on some of its People's Liberation Army members in the hopes of creating "super soldiers" with "biologically enhanced capabilities."
A paper written by scholars Elsa Kania, a Chinese defense technology expert at the Center for a New American Security and former Navy officer and China matters consultant Wilson VornDick read, "Chinese military scientists and strategists have consistently emphasized that biotechnology could become a 'new strategic commanding heights of the future Revolution in Military Affairs."
It is important to ponder now how the U.S. will stay within ethical limits to address the growing concern over China's military power. George Lucas, U.S. Naval Academy Professor Emeritus, told CBN that soldiers should be given the freedom to refuse "exotic technologies" such as computer parts being placed into human bodies.
Nevertheless, if the U.S. remains committed to staying within ethical limits, one thing is for sure as per CBN - "it's likely our adversaries, like China, will not."