'Performance Enhancing Drugs' Considered for Special Operations Soldiers (excerpt)
By David B. Larter
Drugs have long been used to improve soldiers’ performance for specific missions, but US Special Forces Command is now looking for ways to create ‘super-soldiers,’ possibly including performance enhancing drugs. (US Army photo)
America’s elite operators already have access to the kinds of fitness and performance resources available to a pro football player with dietitians, athletic trainers and physical therapists embedded with the units. But U.S. Special Operations Command is looking to go even further, pushing operators to increase pain tolerance, injury prevention and recovery, and physical performance in austere environments. SOCOM is looking to private industry and academia for ideas to get them there.
“If there are … different ways of training, different ways of acquiring performance that are non-material, that’s preferred but in a lot of cases we’ve exhausted those areas,” said Ben Chitty, senior project manager for biomedical, human performance and canine portfolios in the Science and Technology office at USSOCOM.
Chitty said some of the areas they are looking to push big leaps forward in human performance are in places where humans aren’t necessarily evolved to be at maximum capacity: at high altitude or underwater for extended periods of time without access to food or water, for example. One of the puzzles is how to have an operator who has been underwater for hours without sustenance still perform once he gets to the objective, Chitty explained. (end of excerpt)
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