at every corner, every day. Finally, careful and appropriate attention is needed to psychiatric liability, informed by past experiences, which can at best confound and at worst imperil such missions (Genik et al., 2005, in press).

Current and future tools and techniques in brain imaging promise to provide essential additional information to monitor the effectiveness of training as well as mental status. The recent advent of functional neuroimaging, discussed below, has sparked world interest in the four major noninvasive brain-monitoring modalities: electroencephalography (EEG), magnetoencephalography (MEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). In this appendix the committee explores the current technologies and how in the future they may be engineered and employed for use for monitoring in simulated (training) and actual pre-mission qualification, especially of the young officer cadre entering battle under nontraditional and high-threat conditions. The methodologies are amenable to application in the assessment of mental status and training efficiency, under flexible conditions and in virtual-reality testing and training scenarios.

ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES FOR A NEW BLUE FORCE CAPABILITY

Here the committee postulates a new BLUE force capability that enables training and networked communication, as well as interview/interrogation. It envisions a portable modular sensor suite that is:

  • Noninvasive,

  • Expandable and flexible, and

  • Compatible with current systems.

Current methods for human-human tactical communication must be informed by new cognitive research. In the next decade, it may be possible (with minimal military-specific operational integration of the following technologies) to determine with specificity nonverbal communications between and among soldier systems. The same research will inform a variation of this capability to replace entirely the current hostile, putatively unethical, and near-valueless physical coercion techniques used to determine truth and deception in captured RED forces, both enemy soldiers and nonmilitary combatants.

Enabling technologies include emergent functional brain neuroimaging methodologies together with data fusion software applied to multisensor, multispectral neurophysiological signals.

Potential applications include expanded interpersonal communications via BLUE soldier-system wearable body and helmet mounts; multi-lead covert and overt polygraphy applications and psychological interview techniques; and detection of intentions, deception, and truth in captured RED combatants.

Subsequent sections describe in greater detail the emerging technologies that may enable such capabilities.

Functional Neuroimaging Technologies and Soldier Systems

Human brains are constantly occupied with tasks that include unconscious activities such as regulation of breathing and circulation, and highly cognitive functions such as reading and interpreting technical reports. The human brain does not take well to a complete reboot to a known state, and therefore the measured state of any individual brain is a function of its initial state (genetic makeup) and the entirety of internal chemical and external biosensory stimulation integrated from birth to the present. To overcome the extensiveness of variation, one can take a picture of the brain in a baseline state and immediately afterward apply some external stimulus or have the subject perform a simple task and take



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement