Bioethics of Military Performance Enhancement


Biological interventions to improve performance, such as amphetamines, have a long history of military use, and in the future may include more advanced biotechnologies. This article discusses the ethics of using biomedical enhancements in the military. The article begins by describing the distinction between biomedical enhancements and interventions intended to prevent, treat or mitigate disease. It then sets forth three principles to guide the ethical use of bioenhancements—proportionality, paternalism and fairness. The article applies these principles to concerns raised by military bioenhancement: safety, fairness in access to military reward, carryover effects to civilian life, whether service members can be ordered to use bioenhancements and when they may be permitted to do so voluntarily.


biomedical enhancement, military

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Publication Information

165 Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 226 (2019)