“Brain Brinkmanship In Neuroscience and National Security” By Robert Mccreight (2014)

“Brain Brinkmanship In Neuroscience and National Security:” By Robert Mccreight, Pennsylvania State University (2014)

Epigraph Quotes:

1) This (gangstalking-mind control-electronic torture) is the most important policy of the U.S. government.

The elite have plans to get rid of 2/3 of the world’s population with electromagnetic warfare, chemical warfare, and psychological warfare…. Mind control, MK, is listed as a “non-lethal weapon” by the military… (In 2002), the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) in Geneva, Switzerland, designated mind control as a weapon of mass destruction along with nuclear bombs… This technology links the brains of people via implanted microchips to satellites controlled by ground-based super-computers….

…All the US military branches are involved in the development of the technology, in cooperation with civil institutions like the Department of Health, in what is known as the NEURAL NETWORK ASSOCIATION. At their 1991 conference, it was revealed that they submitted and endorsed over 1000 projects in brain-computer technology at 350 medical centers, universities, etc.

…The best way to control people without their knowledge is through mind control. According to the CIA Director in 1972, mind control means a world where every thought, emotion, observation, and need is controlled….. Cybernetics, full neurological control and communication, has been in use since the 1940s without the knowledge of the public… The objectives are behavior modification and influencing mental and bodily functions, processes, and emotions remotely through computer-satellite links….

…Directed Energy (DE) weapons, mostly EMF (electromagentic frequency) and acoustic weapons, act on the psyche and the body of human beings and all living creatures. They have been called by many names: Psycho-physical weapons, weapons of information warfare, psychotronic weapons, cognitive weapons, neurological weapons, mind-invasive weapons, mind control and electronic harassment weapons, remote neural monitoring, active denial systems, weapons of electronic warfare, means of neuro-linguistic programming, means for behavior modification, means of influence technology, computerized brainwashing machines, devices to zombify people, means to induce mental and physical illness, means for hostile surveillance, people zappers, and weapons of mass destruction.

…(And) the Swedish military research (FOI) declares in their report of activities that their goal is to direct the cognitive functions of people for a lifetime.

… On July 21, 1994, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) proposed that “non-lethal” weapons be used against anyone engaged in activities that DOD opposed. That could include almost anyone. DOD’s potential enemies may be counter-cultural individuals, those with opposing political viewpoints, economic competitors, biological undesirables, etc.

From my point of view, the uses of this new technology philosophically are comparable to and amount to the Biblical Fall of man, the eviction from paradise. The all-encompassing thought-reading and mind-influencing capacity (of this technology) divides man into two encampments: Those few “God-like” people, who are allowed to use these means, and all others, whose freedom and free will is being taken away.

We have been very surprised to hear about school and shopping center shootings. How many realize that these are tests where mind control programming is used to create a human robot. The serial killer is a victim himself, being programmed to be an emotionless robot and following orders to kill. The real killers sit behind computers and send him electromagnetic beams to the brain.

…. the secret services and their sabotage and terror “departments” are the biggest “terrorists” in the world and work together with the mafia. That was the case even in World War II, as has been published decades ago…. More crimes against humanity have been committed under the shield of “national security” than the people can ever know…. possibly even more than the mafia.

…To label the (non-consensual) human experimentees, the victims of mind control, as paranoid-schizophrenic is a crime against humanity…”

The late Dr. Rauni Kilde, former Chief Medical Officer of Northern Finland, author, activist, and political insider. Her torture-targeting began in 1985 and culminated in her murder, probably by induced heart attack, in 2015. From her book, “Bright Light on Black Shadows” (2015)

2) “Thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, ideas, and behaviors could be made directly vulnerable to external threat and control for the first time in human history.”

Robert Mccreight, (Pennsylvania State University), “Brain Brinksmanship In Neuroscience and National Security (2016)

Brain Brinksmanship in Neuroscience and National Security

Brain Brinksmanship

Devising Neuroweapons
Looking at Battlespace,
Doctrine, and Strategy

Robert McCreight

Background and Brinksmanship

As the twentieth century came to a close some years ago, the United States possessed an interesting array of military might that stood apart from all other nations because the once vaunted superpower rivalry with the Soviet Union had ended. Despite numerous theories about the reasons for that ending, there is little doubt that in economic and military terms, along with democracy’s appeal, America emerged as the world’s singular superpower. However, the term superpower is ultimately measured using a combination of economic, social, cultural, scientific, or other epochal ingredients mixed in with the sheer gravitas of military power. The cold war’s end meant the United States found itself in something of an atypical global leadership position afforded by its military capability finding itself dominant in a very uncertain and unstable world where military strength, by itself, was no guarantee of security.

The tragic events of the 9/11 attack veried that conventional defense and the idea of “fortress America” were woefully inadequate. Prior strategic thinking about security, thwarting attacks, and preparing for enemy behavior were eroded in the classic and conventional sense and instead redefined, and dramatically new
frontiers of threat and deterrence had to be considered (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks 2004). Even the denition of security itself had become less clear and more multifaceted with the rise of cyber systems and ever-advancing scientic technologies.


Background and Brinksmanship ………………………………………………………………….109
Evolving Neuroweaponry………………………………………………………………………. 115
Neuroweaponry and the Global Battlespace………………………………………………….. 116
Toward Emerging Doctrinal Strategy— Mitigating Risks of Conflict ……..120
Issues Involving Control, Proliferation, and Deterrence…………………………………………..122
Concluding Comments………………………………….123
References …………

Terrorism threats aside for a moment, many strategic analysts might argue that by dint of military prowess and advanced weapons systems, including especially nuclear, stealth, and unmanned aerial vehicles, the United States stood alone as a fearsome global force. Many experts still believed the United States would remain
the sole superpower as the twentieth century ended (Art et al. 2012; Associated Press 2012; Kagan 2012; US Department of Defence 2012).

Instead as the first decade of the twenty-first century elapsed, there are no illusions to that effect. It became clear that other nations were eagerly in pursuit of near equivalent superpower status. In turn, the United States continued to modernize and update its arsenal. That relent-less desire remains unabated today. The array of twenty-first century weaponry, which has emerged in different realms of the globe, reflects an expanding and modernized military among a variety of European, Asian, and Middle Eastern states.

True enough, some of these nations exhibit the typical array of tanks, warplanes, bombers, artillery, howitzers, rockets, bombs, mines, submarines, and super carriers. Several countries, such as China, Russia, India, Israel, Iran, Malaysia, Thailand, and Brazil, have embarked on advanced weapons systems with the explicit goal of directly keeping pace with the United States. Some nations can even lay claim to chemical, biological, and nuclear weaponry that have been enhanced and modied (Alexander and Heal 2003; Auslin 2012; Dockery 2007).

More recently, we can see some nations acquiring newer weapons involving lasers, acoustic waves, directed energy, satellite-based, drone attack craft, cyber-strike systems, neutron radiological devices, stealth subs, and all weather jet fighters among many others (Arms Control Association 2012; Burgess 2012). Given tendencies toward technology sharing and proliferation, this array of weapons systems will soon likely be within the arsenals of several nations. Human history and tradition have taught us that there can be a suitable defense found, and in many cases an effective deterrent developed, to most new weapons.

The irony is that as each new weapon system is developed and deployed, competing advances in rival weaponry, better defense systems, and deterrent strategies escalate proportionally to match, neutralize, or overcome each new weapon that comes along.

Nevertheless, the perennial search continues for a perfectly invincible weapon, that is, 100% reliable and effective: The quest involves a super-weapon against which no adequate defense or deterrent can be found. The search for a perfect, invincible weapon seems embedded in human military history (Herbst, 2006; O’Connell 1989), as such a weapon would be a strategic game changer and likely revolutionize the balance of global power.

Pursuit of a cutting-edge all but invincible weapon continues. What seems elusive and difcult to discern is whether a whole new weapons system may emerge during the period 2015–2025. A key concern is whether that decade will reveal a new type of weapon which could be a strategic geopolitical game-changer. Owing to breakthroughs in global science and technology, as well as the dynamic influence of convergent technologies, it is conceivable that new weapons would be devised and tested that seem to be border-line science fiction today.

Would this new decade usher in the dawn of neuroweapons (Giordano and Wurzman 2011) (see also Chapter 7)? Indeed, such innovations would completely redefine and revolutionize the potential battlespace, if not, they would trigger a renewed appreciation for what weapons really are. Human brains, thoughts, and ideas would ostensibly become “targets” if one could devise and harness a genuine neurocognitive weapon. Thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, ideas, and behaviors could be made directly vulnerable to external threat and control for the rst time in human history.

It is fair to claim the complete reordering of global power and the epochal re-prioritizing of strategic arsenals would be transformed in unexpected ways, and perhaps to an extent, never seen before. Targeting with the mind to unravel its secrets is one thing, steering human thought, shaping decisions, influencing behavior, altering perceptions, and penetrating the subconscious is quite another. Worse, we must allow for the distinct possibility that external and undetected neuroweapons attacks of some sophistication could possibly originate in governments, organizations, cybernetic machines, criminal or terrorist groups or even individuals.

Neuroweapons defy easy explanation and denition. An agreed global definition of this term does not exist and differences about core components, structure, design, and intent will no doubt continue as populations wrestle with the notion that such a category of weapons can be created at all. Until quite recently, a facile and broadly applicable denition of neuroweaponry–and neuroweaponology—has remained somewhat obscure. However, ongoing research has launched a reasonable, lucid, and well-established definition of these techniques and technologies along with the ways that neuroscience might be employed to “. . . contend against hostile others.” (Giordano and Wurzman 2011) (see also Chapter 7).

As time passes, we must come to grips with the reality of neuroweapons development, emerging as it does alongside advances in synthetic biology, and the merger of nanobiotechnology with robotic-cybernetic self-aware logic. Each discrete avenue of advanced science will relentlessly pursue its own form of progressive perfection and one day some of those endeavors will combine and integrate. Distinctions between laboratory curiosity and applied research will dissolve. Spillover and synergistic effects between areas of advanced research must also be considered (Giordano 2012; Vaseashta 2012).

Futurist James Canton foresees possible applications of neurotechnology including stem cell therapy for memory repair, brain–machine implants to overcome paralysis, silicon nano-retinas to provide sight, genomic neurotherapy to reprogram disease-causing genes, enabling neurons that control robotic arms and legs, and neural engineering to rewire brains and combat mental illness. These are benecial breakthroughs to be welcomed, but there is a darker side embedded in dual-use neuroscience and weaponization research (Canton 2010; see also MIT Media Lab 2010).

Denitional issues are important, but accepting the reality of neuroweapons as part of our collective future is an equally important milestone. While diverse denitions may eventually emerge, consider one fairly neutral version that synergizes the existing lexicon and is broad enough to capture the essence of this concept. Here, the claim is made that neuroweaponry encompasses all forms of interlinked cybernetic, neurological, and advanced biotech systems, along with the use of synthetic biological formulations and merged physio-biological and chemical scientific arrangements, designed expressly for offensive use against human beings. are intended to influence, direct, weaken, suppress, or neutralize human thought, brainwave functions, perception, interpretation, and behaviors to the extent that the target of such weaponry is either temporarily or permanently disabled, mentally compromised, or unable to function normally.

Those who would argue that neuroweapons verge on obscene science ction would have to demonstrate that such devices and approaches are technically impossible to create, that cleverly designed collaborating systems could never produce neuroweapons, or that they are so far beyond the scope of human reason and intelligence as to stand at the threshold of being beyond human capability. Some may argue that neuroweapons could potentially negate human thought, redirect will, or weaken spirit and therefore should be outlawed before they are created. They may even expect society and government to enact systems and security measures to thwart their present development, before further research brings us closer to the realities of weaponization. (Glannon 2006; Rees and Rose 2004) (see also Chapter 14).

The problem is that none of those statements about neuroweaponry are reliable, valid, or true. Neuroweaponry is, in fact, possible to create. It seems likely that sophisticated engineered systems’ integration of biophysical, nanochemical, cyber-dynamic, and related elements could—or more accurately will—be engineered to produce a neuroweapon. To claim that neuroweaponry is beyond human intelligence and logic also fails to address or acknowledge the current state of engineered integration and merging of diverse technologies. Such trends must be seen as possible, probable and a strategic risk of epochal global impact that must prepared for, else we should expect instead to suffer dire consequences for collective ignorance of its import (Giordano et al. 2010).

If the central goal is to manipulate human thought, emotions, and behavior through a combination of psycho-pharmacological, biotechnical, and cybernetic activities and synergized systems to steer, influence, and shape thought and conduct—then we must be and remain alert to such potential goals and progress toward them to date.

Bringing the perfect mixture of scientific, engineering, psychological, behavioral, and medical properties to influence, redirect, sublimate, subdue, and repress any thoughts or actions that would ordinarily be seen as aggressive, hostile, or murderous merits global interest. What nation would hesitate to develop and field a weapon that could control, shape, or redirect human thoughts and actions—given the power such a weapon would yield?

Nations that currently possess sophisticated or advanced weapons have built arsenals based upon knowledge that military forces on all sides pose both offensive threats and defensive capabilities, while simultaneously offering deterrent potential against attacks. Nations may be hesitant to be overtly provocative, engage in hostilities or even consider preemptive attacks knowing that some form of retaliation is likely. Instead, they may engage in elaborate postures that foster rising tensions, but that may also inadvertently yield some unexpected advantages. For example, new offensive missiles unveiled by one nation may stimulate deployment of advanced missile defense systems in other states, while others may choose instead to deploy their own rival missile systems. Nevertheless, nations may—and often do—go to extraordinary lengths to avoid inadvertent warfare and seek to increase pressures without resorting to a military strike or some form of preemptive action. There is a parallel thrust and parry set of maneuvers each nation may persuade or invoke so as to influence or redirect another nation away from open warfare—or lead them to the brink. This is referred to in the global security and international relations literature as brinksmanship.

Former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles defined (his policy of) brinkmanship as “. . . the ability to get to the verge without getting into the war is the necessary art.” (Sheply, 1956). During the Cold War, this was used by the United States to coerce the Soviet Union into military restraint. Since then it has been used numerous times to coerce a response from one nation, but it also contains an inherent risk that sheer coercive inuence may not produce the desired effect or may instead trigger an unwanted outcomes. Used by governments, this is not a game, but a political tactic. If there is a “winner” in brinkmanship, it is never the most reckless player, but the one who has achieved a specific goal. The point of brinkmanship, however, is to illustrate that a “win” by either side is impossible. Taking a conict over the brink will result in unacceptable losses by both sides. Brinksmanship can confer concessions with little sacrifice or loss.

In an unequal contest of power, brinkmanship generally favors the side that has the least to lose. Brinksmanship should not be confused with bluffing because it deliberately exaggerates and mischaracterizes what the bluffer is trying to conceal. Bluffing in a card game is a non-hostile form of psychological leverage intended to elicit a response—to get others to fold and retreat even though the bluffer has nothing, in fact, to sustain the bluff. By contrast, brinksmanship’s effectiveness derives from the implied genuine threat it represents rather than a display of an illusory or theatrical one. Can a state asserting possession of a neuroweapon exert strategic leverage over another? Arguably yes, but only if the implied threat is real and a genuine neuroweapon exists. Strategic coercive intimidation becomes a possibility whether or not a neuroweapon is actually used. It is the mere threat of use which triggers concessions.

Brinksmanship deserves to be explored as the reality of neuroweapons emerges over the next decade. Prodding an opponent in subtle, invisible and unverifiable ways has great strategic value. Rational choice, objective analysis of options, development of plans and strategies may all be at risk. Brinksmanship arises when one contemplates the degree to which danger, threat and opportunity are potentially misperceived or misunderstood. Can leaders really grasp their strategic options, can they assess their opponents’ reactions, can they estimate what is effective versus merely a foolish gesture? Do they know if and where the red lined boundaries of leveraging weaponized neuroscience really exist?Geopolitical gambles in recent history provide evidence that brinksmanship is part of the global game and the assertion of geostrategic power (see Chapter 16).

Is it the mere threat of weapons’ use that sometimes elicits desired behavior from an opponent? Does building a nuclear reactor to enrich uranium compel neighboring states to assume that nuclear bomb-making is at hand? Does it alter the way in which the state electing to “go nuclear” is treated and regarded by the international community? Does it trigger as many gestures to favor and persuade as it does to invite criticism and sanctions? Persuading a state with nuclear energy to forsake nuclear weapons involves an exquisite blend of diplomatic, economic and political leverage with no implied guarantee of success. As a state builds steadily to a new weapons’ capability of intimidating effect, the array of external pressures to stem hostile activity grows in proportion to the presumed new threat. This is a sophisticated game we understand very well.

Multiple sources provide evidence that brinksmanship in normal diplomatic analysis and discussion of regional security affairs typically entails strategic risk-taking (Chen 2011; Dareini and Jakes 2012; Farre 2012). In such a context, it is seen as the practice, especially in international relations, of taking a dispute to the verge of conict in the hope of forcing the opposition to make concessions or to capitulate towards a favorable position. It is also sometimes seen as the technique or practice of maneuvering a dangerous situation to the limits of tolerance or safety in order to secure the greatest strategic advantage, especially by creating diplomatic crises. Such maneuvering can include genuine threats, phony threats or mixed messages that deliberately favor the sponsor in an effort to keep opponents off balance or unaware of the extent of concessions progressively made. Hidden agendas are paramount as brinksmanship plays out.

Herein what is offered is a perspective on brinksmanship and its relevance to neuroweaponry in order to equate it with the advantages, issues and leverage that aspiring nuclear states currently can derive from adopting a posture where simply the potential for weapons development is at least as great as actually possessing them.

We can examine the cases of Iran and North Korea, for example, to see how much leverage the apparent possession or near acquisition of nuclear weaponry provides. International efforts to divert, subdue or deflect aspiring nuclear states from their apparent power trajectories always carry a proverbial package of carrots and sticks which, over time, grant the “aggressor state” some degree of geopolitical leverage and inuence. Such states can derive greater concessions, despite their pariah status in the global community, among nations seeking to keep the number and variety of nuclear powers stable and in this way preserve the geopolitical status quo. The chief concern is that even today we are witnessing the gradual and nascent emergence of neuroweapons as an element of this power calculus. Those who can develop, acquire and refine such weapons will have more than a strategic advantage.

On a political–psychological perspective, significant and substantive work focused on the research and development of neuroweaponry almost equates to the actual possession of neuroweapons. Threshold knowledge of neuroscientific manipulation of brain function and neurotechnologic influence of thought and behavior is well within the realm of reason and possibility. In so doing, dramatic leverage in regional and global security affairs is likely to be accrued by states embarking on this path to obtain an influential if not decisive neuroweapon. Whether they actually achieve such neurotechnical feats or not is irrelevant. Nations meaningfully engaged in serious and deliberate research and development of neurological technologies can be regarded with the same degree of strategic attention as those states embarking on a nuclear energy program. It is inherently a dual use endeavor and deserves some measure of international review and scrutiny.

In some instances, inside certain states, the overall effort to develop and devise some form of neuroweaponry has been going on for decades, openly rooted in legitimate medical science research, and proving that neurological research steered towards military purposes will be much harder to demonstrate. It is the sheer capacity for dual use that ought to provoke wider global attention.

This crucial issue is being raised prior to a substantive discussion of neuroweapons in order to illustrate how the global mix of offensive and defensive measures and research related to the gradual evolution of neuroweapons could trigger an open ended, while inadvertent, frenetic arms race. Finding powerful measures and inducements to steer aspiring states away from developing and engaging neuroweapon research may prove too daunting to place on the global agenda. Switching from hardware-based weapons to neural-software based weapons seems as much a paradigmatic shift as anything else.

Mere possession of a credible and viable neuroweapons research program can result in global reaction toward, and some accommodation with, the nation so engaged. This is because it conjures up images of a weapon that could provide a geostrategic edge to its possessor, making conventional defensive measures of comparatively limited value. What combination of restraints, self-imposed discipline or global opprobrium could dissuade an aspiring state from embarking on neuroweapons’ research (especially if a state saw this as the great equalizer)?

Some states may even expect that acquiring this capacity elevates them to superpower status. Few, if any, could resist the lure of instant geopolitical power, and it remains to be seen if this technology can be stolen, mimicked or reverse engineered to produce valid copies. If copying, theft and proliferation are possible—what then? A new currency in the global balance of power arises (Giordano and Benedikter 2012).

The darker dimensions of neuroweaponry go beyond external manipulation of brain function and human performance by neurochemical agents, neurotoxins or neuromicrobials, to include remote inuence of directed thought, external acoustic and brainwave interference and subtle mood-altering stimulants from afar (Giordano and Wurzman 2011) (see also Chapter 7). Like the speculative frontiers of psychological warfare itself, memory, perception, cognition, analysis, and thought can be influenced by coercion, pressure, intimidation and dominance that are blended carefully and intended to render targets passive, confused, fearful and hesitant. Whether this can affect thousands versus one person at a time remains to be seen. Is the target a population, an army, a bevy of generals, societal leaders, scientific experts or a head of state?

The political and social ramifications are truly epochal and severe. As futurist James Canton (2012) has noted, we nd ourselves locked in a perpetual dilemma. Neuroscience research must advance because human health, longevity, and scores of health related issues may be promoted and sustained. The entire globe, all of humanity, stands to gain from neuroscientific breakthroughs. However, like the insidious nature of all dual use science, neuroscience holds keys to doors that may open to nefarious avenues toward controlling thought, perception, emotion, and behavior to such an extent that will enable scientific fact to realize ideas that were heretofore merely science fictional.

evolving neuroweaponry

The U.S. Department of Defense retains a keen interest in the emerging eld of “neural network enhanced performance projects” where the modest and unimpeachable aim is to augment human sensory threat assessment, or radically improve warfighter performance and combat effectiveness. This work has been progressing for well over two decades (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 2008; Clancy 2006; Hearns 2008; Huang and Kosal 2008).

Obviously, if western nations within NATO (e.g., the United States and its allies) are committed to neuroscience research, it is reasonable that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea would be similarly invested in such work. It should be expected that other nations will also develop new technologies that apply biotechnology to anticipate, find, fix, track, identify, and characterize human intent and physiological status.

For example, research involving transcranial pulsed ultrasound technology that could be fitted to troops’ battle helmets would allow soldiers to manipulate brain functions to boost alertness, relieve stress, or perhaps even reduce the effects of brain insult. Manipulating the brain to enhance warfighting capabilities and maintain mental acuity on the battleeld has long been a eld of interest for the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) and various military research labs, (Adams 2005; Boyle 2010; Hoag 2003; Smith and Bigelow 2006) but this remains relatively limited in scope.

It is not unrealistic to expect that certain technologies, packaged in a warfighter’s equipment array, could allow soldiers to stimulate different regions of the brain, helping to relieve battle stress or to enhance alertness during long periods without sleep. Soldiers might relieve pain from injuries or wounds without resorting to pharmaceuticals. Such ends could be seen as a benign and legitimate pursuit of advanced technology.

To a great extent, this research and development is largely defensive in nature, designed to enhance protective options for individual soldiers. Its undeniable benefits, however, deserve to be weighed against its long-term offensive potential. Turning to psychological warfare experiences and precepts may be somewhat helpful, albeit to a limited extent. Looking at the immediate and long-term effect of neuroweapons and their foundations in brain science, Giordano and Wurzman (Chapter 7)


Given the relative nascence of neuroscience and much of neurotechnology development and use of neuroweapons are incipient, and in some cases, their utility is speculative. But speculation must acknowledge that neurotechnological progress is real, and therefore consideration of neurotechnologies-as-weapons is both important and necessary.

So, like most scientific research, there is an inherent dual-use devil embedded in all aspects of neuroscientific advancement. Opportunities for benefits, well-being and tools to improve human life abound, but so does the darker side of escalating use, misuse, and abuse that arises from weaponization. Brain science progresses at a pace that may outstrip the time needed for ethical reflection, the formulation of ground rules and guidelines, and mechanisms for governance (Giordano and Benedikter 2011). Regrettably, this may allow malevolent diversion and misuse to flourish alongside benevolent achievement and application. One could speculate that deliberate manipulation of news items, editorials, media tautologies, and ongoing perceptual warfare campaigns—like a psychological operations (PSYOPS) program—could subtly steer a point of view driven by economic and/or geopolitical interests.

neuroweaponry and the global Battlespace

The Department of Defense defines a “battlespace” as “. . . the environment, factors, and conditions which must be understood to successfully apply combat power, protect the force, or complete the mission. This includes the air, land, sea, space, and the included enemy and friendly forces, facilities, weather, terrain, the electromagnetic spectrum, and information environment within the operational areas and areas of interest.” (US Department of Defense 2011). So where this definition is the allowance for neuroweaponry or similar kinds of mind-altering, influencing, or redirecting systems of modern warfare? Should we assume it is axiomatically included within the broad ambit of the definition provided?

Such a definition falls short even when dealing with the known spectrum of cyberwarfare. One aspect related to this categorical problem is defining the strategic frontiers for future national defense purposes. Other strategic frontiers beyond outer and cyberspace include frontiers in nanospace, genomic space, and “neurospace.”

Conceivably, these are legitimate domains for future conflict because they are as yet ungoverned spaces akin to their geographical counterparts. They reflect a no-man’s land of unrestricted activity where hostile and benign activities are equally permissible. No formal doctrinal definitions of these new realms of security activity and frontiers of geostrategic thought have been devised thus far. If these are genuine strategic frontiers, a main issue is determining where neuroscience fits into the existing operational definition of redefined battlespace. Certainly, we have seen both outer space and cyberspace progressively redefined as part of the strategic battlespace.

In the physical world, battlespace is well known and its parameters defined. Similarly, an act of aggression or war in the physical sense is just as well defined. That is not the case when it comes to potentially novel and unexplored battlespaces. Federal officials, military leaders, policy scholars and security experts are all looking at this issue and struggling to answer the question—what constitutes an act of war in these new battlespaces? Kevin Coleman (2008) argues: “The contemporary definition of “battlespace” is, in my opinion, too conning. Battlespace is often defined as a three-dimensional area—width, depth, and airspace. Its fourth dimension of time and distance, tempo and synchronization, is also already considered, as is the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. The battlespace’s fifth dimension is cyberspace, an area where battles will be fought anonymously but tenaciously. However, the overlooked but critical and dynamic factor of the twenty-first century battlespace is the human factor. This proposed “sixth dimension” of human factors includes leadership, motivation, ingenuity, and patience—factors that shape every aspect of the battlespace from the application of force through the effect of bandaging a child’s hand.”

Thus, it is fair to raise questions of whether neuroweapons constitute yet a seventh dimension beyond the cognitive and behavioral, or do weaponized neurotechnologies lie within the sixth dimension residing as it does in the broad array of human factors as described? Arguments that place neuroweaponry in the seventh dimension are rooted in psychology, perception, and interpretation of phenomenon that go beyond behavioral and autonomic responses and actions. These are thoughts, behaviors, and perceptions that are formulated on the basis of interpreted reality and external stimuli. According to Richardson, this dimension deals with complex thinking and situational assessment of novel conditions, options, and activities that engage emotion, motivation, ingenuity, and patience. It is the frontier of self- consciousness and rational mental operations (Davidson and Begley 2012; Posner and Russell 2005).

This underscores one of the many issues embedded in neuroscientific research—the assessment of control networks within the brain. While there remains much to discover, the question is whether the pace of research will prompt global interest in advancing neuroscience to the extent that the likelihood of incurring risks of incipient neuroweapons has rendered neuroethical preparation and prevention to be little more than a race against time.

Following Richardson’s theory, the seventh dimension tackles meta-thought and strategic analysis issues as its fundamental driving force: it is cumulative, derivative, and hierarchical in nature. Here, an argument can be made that there are no boundaries, geospatial limits, or shielding zones to perimetize defending the “mind.” The extent to which the mind is unprotected, open, and exploitable by external elements is as the body was before the invention of armor, sword, and shield.

Neuroweaponry makes the global landscape a potential level playing field. It is no longer an inherent strategic advantage to possess killer satellites, long-range missiles, laser weapons, and advanced weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) if cognitions, emotions, and behaviors can be accessed and channeled toward outcomes
independent of other extant weapons system. The global battlespace will be dramatically altered and in light of this, it will be necessary to design and implement systems to protect humans from neural interference if impending neurowarfare is to be regarded as realistic and eventual.

A paper by Tim Thomas (1998) of the US Army’s Command and General Staff school entitled “The mind has no firewall” delved into the degree to which Russian military scientists, and a specific researcher, Chernisev, had focused upon what was termed “psychotropic weapons.” Such weapons included the following:

• A “psychotropic generator,” which produced a powerful electromagnetic probe capable of being sent through telephone lines, TV and radio net-works, supply pipes, and incandescent lamps.
• An autonomous generator device that operated in the 10–150 Hz band, which at the 10–20 Hz band formed an infrasonic oscillation destructive to living creatures.
• A nervous system generator, designed to paralyze the central nervous systems of insects, which—upon further development—could exert similar effects on humans.
• Ultrasound pulses, which were supposedly capable of effecting bloodless internal manifestations without leaving external evidence.
• Noiseless cassettes that placed infra-low frequency voice patterns over music that could be subconsciously detected and which were claimed to be used as “bombardments” with computer programming to treat alcoholism or smoking.
• A “25th-frame effect,” wherein each 25th frame of a movie reel or lm footage contained a message that would incur subconscious effects on cognition, emotions, and/or behavior. This technique was advocated to curb smoking and alcoholism, but was also noted to possess wider applications if applied on a TV or movie audience or a computer operator.
• Psychotropics drugs as medical preparations used to induce trance, euphoria, or depression. Referred to as “slow-acting mines,” such agents could elicit symptoms of headache, auditory and visual hallucinations, dizziness, abdominal pain, cardiac arrhythmia, and cardiovascular arrest and could be administered to individuals, groups, a politician’s food or a population’s drinking water supply (Thomas 1998).

While this research is over 15 years old, it is illustrative of international efforts to analyze human cognition so as to exert influence and control over thought, emotions, and actions. Thomas emphasized that, “The point to underscore is that individuals in . . . other countries . . . believe these means can be used to attack or steal from the data-processing unit of the human body.”

Some argue that mind–machine interfacing is well within our grasp. They posit that extrapolations of information dominance and areas where artificial intelligence, cybernetics, nanotechnology, and advanced biotechnology can be usefully blended into something new and unique is at hand. This has received some degree of serious international attention, yet skeptics may still counter that the capacity for engaging in neuroweaponry is decades away (Morris 2009; Pickersgilla 2011; Syd 2009; Yokum and Rossi 2009). What degree of authenticity can be extended to these notions? DaVinci could describe and theorize ight centuries before it was ever attempted, does this render his ideas and sketches as valid scientific speculation or fiction? In the same context, we must ask what ideas about types of neuroweapons mean when contemplating special operations, psychological operations, and intelligence gathering.

Have the concept and fundamental assumptions undergirding these endeavors changed through the advent of neuroweapons? If, in fact, an applied technology of neuroweaponry is realistic, does this not force a rethinking of those activities? Have we opened up a realm of inquiry and influence at the level of the synapse that may be extendable to the conduct of the self in society? Is this the new battlespace upon which to focus, or is this merely a frontier domain of science that is not well dened or understood? Should we risk waiting until the tangible rst evidence of neuroweapons research has landed on the front page of our major newspapers and CNN?

What measures should we be contemplating even now to anticipate and prepare for this eventuality? In response, let me support the invocation provided by Giordano in this volume and elsewhere (Giordano et al. 2010) that the time to face the reality of operationalized neuroweapons is now, and not at some unforeseen point in the future, or as an “after the fact” reaction.

To wit, the new battlespace is the brain itself. It is the substance that gives rise to our perceptions and thoughts and seems completely vulnerable to manipulation. Isthis a problem for which no rational defensive doctrine can be developed because the offensive applications far outstrip anything designed to insulate or protect? Are we defenseless against the presumptive actions of neuroweapons (and those who may employ them)? How would we discern and sense an attack against our own minds? Would we even recognize an attack if perceptions were somehow altered and viewpoints reduced to blithering neutrality?

If one posits a battlespace similar to the cyberwarfare domain, where does it originate and how can forensic science find, determine, and pinpoint the attacker? What type, form, and extent of new doctrine would be needed to reflect this new battlefield?

What policies and agreed protocols would provide a governing framework for global engagement in neuroweapons activity? What are the overall implications for this new science in terms of classical geopolitical strategy? Could it be argued that neuroscience research that focuses on control of thought, perception, behavior, and emotion necessitates regulation and governance by virtue of intent and potential application in war? Can we sort benign research from malevolent research and can we imagine new thresholds for action if and when we discover that neuroscience is being used to control human thought and behavior to an “unacceptable” degree? By whose standards? Under what conditions? (For further discussion, see Chapters 10 through 15).

One problem is that a legitimate neuroscientic battlespace exists well before the development of the weapons themselves. This is not novel. In looking at his-tory, did any nation have doctrine and strategy on the uses of airpower in 1912?

In 1951, did any nation have developed military doctrine on the use of intercontinental ballistic missiles before those missiles demonstrated their capabilities? In both cases, doctrine was developed not upon recognition of a potential battlespace, but upon the emergence of the battleeld technology. Is this a reasonable guide to the future with regard to neuroweaponry, given the speed of expected research and development? In effect, doctrine suitable for weaponizable neuroscience and technology may not emerge until well after the new technology has displayed proof of concept.

toward emerging doctrinal strategy— mitigating risks of conflict

Faced with these sobering possibilities how will the training and force doctrine of global militaries be changed? What constitutes asymmetric warfare in the age of neuroscience and neuroweaponry? Is this a new era that combines cybersystems and brain functions?

Must we develop a defensive strategy based on risks that our forces could be victimized by neuroweapons used by an enemy state? Or, should we explicitly embark on a program of neuroweaponry strategy that completely revises the doctrine and principles of traditional conict? How does the emergence of neuroweaponry alter our conventional understanding of warfare? Will it feature split autonomy and control by the military and civilian leaders? Does it require authentication and two-party key control?

Who can or should participate; which agency and which officials decide? Is this a human rights issue or something even more profound? External penetration of and influence over the minds of others does not readily lend itself to clarity of purpose or meaning in law, politics, society, or warfare. The power to inuence or direct the thoughts and behaviors of others without them knowing crosses a threshold in human behavior and criminal conduct we have never seriously encountered or examined. Is using neuroweaponry to any degree, however, small or large in scale, whether domestic or transnational, automatically a formal act of war? Can we know whether civil insurrections, staged coups, urban riots, or border uprisings were naturally occurring or externally induced? Such questions are neither esoteric, inappropriate, or premature.

Neuroweaponry in the hands of an aggrandizing state leader or rogue nation is one thing. Having it available for terrorists and criminals, or excluded from the arsenals of less developed states is quite another. Today, there are no ironclad assurances against either scenario. Like nuclear weapons, neuroweapons convey a special status to those who possess them, especially if the technology cannot be readily shared, reverse engineered, or stolen through espionage or commercial theft. It places a relatively invincible weapon in the hands of a state or actor that may use this technology for domination or to simply extract submission and surrender from foes and enemies. Unlike nuclear weapons, sophisticated mechanical, bio-physical, and related scientific systems may not be necessary to develop or acquire neuroweapons.

When a new weapons system is devised, it is almost axiomatic that the sponsoring military must develop doctrine—a set of objectives and criteria—to dene the most effective use and focus of this technology in a warfare setting. This compels raising additional questions that must be used to inform and formulate any doctrine, strategy and use guidelines. When, how and to what degree will neuroweaponry be used? Could it been seen as a weapon of mass destruction (WMD)? Should it be seen that way? Could it reside only inside a closed and concealed command and control system not unlike the launch codes for nuclear missiles? Who could have access and who should be trained? How would this weapons system be deployed alongside conventional, or strategic weaponry? Is there an obligation to safeguard and protect its existence or must it be globally declared? If the mere existence of a neuroweapon is proven, how would it be revealed or demonstrated to a skeptical world and press?

The global arms control record is sobering. Despite bilateral agreements on nuclear arsenals and nuclear testing, proliferation of nuclear weapons technology still haunts us. Worse, we know from bitter experience that treaties dealing with chemical and biological weapons have been of limited coercive value, have not stemmed advanced research, and are unlikely to thwart actual use if a nation declared that employing such weapons was warranted. This brings us to the threshold question: when and under what circumstances would neuroweapons be warranted? Given the likelihood that some neuroweapons’ research will continue in the future, do we know confidently that the actual emergence of such weapons can and will be somehow constrained? Recall that first use of atomic weapons preceded written doctrine about its use by at least a decade.

Assuming that several nations acquire this new weaponry within years of each other, does this mean that the era of “neural conflicts” would then be fully upon us? Would it stimulate serious international discussion of a treaty or similar mechanism to curb excessive and warlike uses of neuroscientic research?

Would it instead signal that the first nation who holds such a weapon can neutralize, overcome, and vanquish any other armed power? How would neuroweapon strategies be adopted by an insurgent opponent or renegade power? Is it reasonable to expect a period where neuroweapons would be tested (upon both among witting and/or unwitting subjects)?

issues involving control, proliferation, and deterrence

From this, we can safely conclude that like most other weapons systems in modern history, there will gradually but inevitably be an arms race to competitively adopt and deploy neuroweaponry. Risks of proliferation will alarm the community of nations possessing this technology. In turn, this will lead to global outcries for control, restrictions, and curbs on such weapons. This may trigger the usual underground behavior among some nations to proliferate and share technologies with the aim of rivaling extant neuroscience capability with an aggressive edge. Anything underground that has a criminal taint will, of course, find some appeal among transnational criminals and terrorists. Putting the proverbial genie back in the bottle will be difficult, if not futile.It will become the kind of technology that contains many of the same inherent risks as nuclear energy. There are peaceful uses, and there are darker outcomes.

Speculating for a moment on the universal appeal of neuroscience in its most benign forms, many nations would seek access to such technology for allegedly peaceful purposes. There will be the corresponding problem of curbing excursions into neuroweaponry and keeping activities utterly peaceful in a global system. Absent that, an unregulated environment would allow research at least on defensive measures against neuroweaponry. However, when some degree of international neuroweaponry equivalence and balance is established, systems must be devised to develop countermeasures, defensive doctrine, and deterrence systems.

Today, global research and development in neurotechnology or what may be regarded as cognitive science continues in a relatively unrestricted environment. It is to be expected that offshoots of this research will be applicable to affect and control individuals or even populations. How can—or should—such research be controlled so as to optimize its positive effects and minimize its dubious or frankly injurious outcomes? What constraints, rules, and approaches seem best to steer such research away from the darker side of neuroscience? One has to wonder whether any ethical imperatives and research boundaries will operate at all. Openly progressive research done in bioscience and synthetic biology with some restrictive measures imposed by consensus may be one approach to consider (e.g., see Chapter 14).

Clearly, it is important to ask what can be done to address this emerging technology. Some argue that programs of neuroscience education and training are needed.

Some would insist that students learn about the potential societal impact of their work, its ethical and legal contours, and the specific ways it could be used by militaries, or terrorists, to create weapons. Others may favor revision of international treaties, particularly the chemical and biological weapons conventions, adjusted to account somehow for the new scientific realities. Brain chemistry is still a nascent eld of inquiry, and there is some speculation that the questions are daunting enough that we will have a few decades to prepare for neurowars. However, while such debates continue, time is not on our side.

The quest to improve warfighter performance, assess and access human thought, inuence well-being, manipulate emotions, and control neurochemical properties is unlikely to end. Instead, risks embedded in linking cybernetic, biotechnical, and neurochemical principles and systems will proceed apace (Suh et al. 2009). The cost of periodic progress, even given the irony of Moore’s Law, means we face the risk of deliberately or inadvertently developing a neuroweapon at the same time that we discover a cure for schizophrenia or neurodegenerative diseases.

Modern society entails the risks and benefits of scientific achievement every day. Collective fears about a possible neuroweapon emerging from the midst of neuroscience research still seems unlikely to many. We focus on the salutary effects of continued research and related projects to advance general public health and improve the quality of lives. To a great extent, this will continue largely because it is seen as generally benign. However, brain science research which directly, accidentally or randomly yields development of neuroweapons will change human history in profound ways. We cannot ignore that weaponization risks are definitely very real.

It is a dilemma that must be balanced, lest we thwart the rate and extent of scientific progress for all. The fact is that unless a globally enforceable mechanism is devised and agreed upon for controlling the conduct and outcomes of neuroscience research itself, we can expect to nd no real safeguards and no guarantees. Enhanced brain performance and reductions in battle trauma are welcome.

However, we must remain mindful and not be naïve that mechanisms, pathways, and technologies that engage the brain and its properties as weapons are certainly possible. As noted throughout this volume, neuroweaponry, however, we choose to define it, is clearly a case of when— not if.

concluding comments

It is far from clear whether any nation that is embarked on a robust neuroscience research effort will have the regard and discipline necessary to be wary of dual-use risks and the latent opportunities for devising neuroweapons. Inherent risk seldom dissuades serious science. During the next ten years, the genuine risks and trajectories for these speculative outcomes will become much clearer.

Several national and global policy questions related to ongoing neuroscience must be addressed as soon as circumstances allow. These include the following:
• Will global neuroscience research be transparent and openly accessible?
• Will global cooperative neuroscientific efforts require security safeguards?
• Will the nature and extent of dual-use neuroscience be globally shared?
• What legitimate neuroscientific “defensive measures” would be encouraged or allowable?
• What can the international community do to limit risks of emerging neuroweaponry?
• What would preclude any nation from covertly developing viable neuroweapons?
• What restrictions, safeguards, and precautions on neuroscience would be globally acceptable?
• Should persons involved in particular aspects of advanced neuroscience be licensed and regulated by government?

These questions and their potential answers will set the stage for addressing the future use(s) of neuroscience and neurotechnology in national security, intelligence and defense agendas and programs. Opening discussions and serious scientific examinations of existing neuroscience research to assess the possible emergence of neuroweapons is paramount. In many ways, it remains the last undefended frontier and as such necessitates safeguarding against malevolent manipulation.


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Author Query Sheet
Chapter No: 8
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