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Genetic Science and the Future of American War-Fighters

  • Sheena M. EaganEmail author
Chapter
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Part of the Military and Humanitarian Health Ethics book series (MHHE)

Abstract

In 2017, the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) budgeted 100-million-dollars to fund gene-editing technology. While much of the research in this field has focused on therapeutic innovation and disease prevention, the military is interested in how this technology can make better soldiers. Recent reports speculate that this technology could enable soldiers to run at super-human speeds, carry enormous weight, live off their fat stores, and go without sleep. While this enhancement would inevitably lead to increased survivability in war, there are significant and warranted ethical concerns. This paper will provide a brief overview of genetic enhancement technology focusing on the Department of Defense (DoD) priorities and interests in the field. The analysis will specifically concentrate on an under-discussed element concerning the ethical permissibility of genetic enhancement—its precarious position at the intersection of civilian and military spheres. Will civilians have access to the same types of genetic enhancement, or will it be limited to military use? Who owns the enhancements—the military or the individual service-member? If these enhancements are permanent, how will the service-member function in society after separation from the military?

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies, Brody School of MedicineEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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