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Introduction

The Army has made great strides in exploiting technological advances on the battlefield. This success is based in large part on advances in computers and miniaturization, which exploit reductions in scale and exponential increases in performance, and on advances in disciplines such as information science and network science. The field of neuroscience offers similar potential to achieve further improvements in soldier performance for future operations.

Advances and major investments by the broader community in neuroscience promise new insights for military applications. These include traditional areas of importance to the Army, such as learning, decision making, and performance under stress, as well as newer areas, such as cognitive fitness, brain–computer interfaces (an extension from earlier human–computer ergonomics), and biological markers of neural states. Advances in such fields as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and bioengineering have resulted in instrumentation and techniques that can better assess the neural basis of cognition and enable visualization of brain processes. These have the potential to provide new measures of training and learning for soldiers, while also shedding new light on traditional approaches to behavioral science used by the Army. Continuing research is certain to give rise to new opportunities, and the Army would like to better understand how these neuroscience opportunities can be exploited for the benefit of the soldier.

STUDY BACKGROUND

Most current neuroscience research is at a basic level with little or no regard for longer-term military potential. In recent years, however, it has begun to capitalize on the investments in basic research and move toward applications. The time is right to apply neuroscience understanding to applications that have military relevance. What is needed is a determination of the specific outcomes of this basic research that are likely to lead to the development of neurotechnologies with possible military application and a discussion of the spectrum of efforts under way, with emphasis on the nonmedical applications.

In March 2007, the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Board on Army Science and Technology (BAST) convened a meeting that attempted to bring the complexities of neuroscience and its military applications into focus. Presentations to the BAST on ongoing work in academia, industry, and government included areas of science and technology at the intersection of diverse fields and speculated on possible synergies between ongoing research efforts.

The Army believes that neuroscience will grow to impact numerous applications that are presently scattered among multiple disciplines and fields. It is interested in identifying a range of potential applications and bringing coherence to an emerging collection of relevant neuroscience advances that can serve as a basis for future investments in research.

Statement of Task

The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) (ASAALT) requested that BAST conduct a study of the potential of neuroscience to support military applications. Box 1-1 contains the statement of task for the study.

The Army sponsor requested that the study address what neuroscience can be expected to do as well as what advances could be made if appropriate direction is provided and investments are made. Because the field of neuroscience is wide-ranging and other entities are investing large amounts in many neuroscience subdisciplines, the study should focus on opportunities that could have a high-payoff potential for the Army and on areas where it is unlikely that others will devote substantial resources that will benefit Army applications. The study should also suggest opportunities for leveraging specific investments by others, where appropriate, for Army applications. The sponsor specifically requested that the study consider opportunities achievable over the next 5, 10, and 20 years and avoid unrealizable “bionic soldier” applications.



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1 introduction The Army has made great strides in exploiting techno- the spectrum of efforts under way, with emphasis on the logical advances on the battlefield. This success is based in nonmedical applications. large part on advances in computers and miniaturization, In March 2007, the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) which exploit reductions in scale and exponential increases Board on Army Science and Technology (BAST) convened in performance, and on advances in disciplines such as a meeting that attempted to bring the complexities of neuro- information science and network science. The field of neuro- science and its military applications into focus. Presentations science offers similar potential to achieve further improve- to the BAST on ongoing work in academia, industry, and ments in soldier performance for future operations. government included areas of science and technology at Advances and major investments by the broader com- the intersection of diverse fields and speculated on possible munity in neuroscience promise new insights for military synergies between ongoing research efforts. applications. These include traditional areas of importance The Army believes that neuroscience will grow to impact to the Army, such as learning, decision making, and perfor- numerous applications that are presently scattered among mance under stress, as well as newer areas, such as cognitive multiple disciplines and fields. It is interested in identifying fitness, brain–computer interfaces (an extension from earlier a range of potential applications and bringing coherence to an human–computer ergonomics), and biological markers of emerging collection of relevant neuroscience advances that neural states. Advances in such fields as functional magnetic can serve as a basis for future investments in research. resonance imaging (fMRI) and bioengineering have resulted in instrumentation and techniques that can better assess the statement of Task neural basis of cognition and enable visualization of brain processes. These have the potential to provide new measures The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, of training and learning for soldiers, while also shedding new Logistics, and Technology) (ASAALT) requested that BAST light on traditional approaches to behavioral science used by conduct a study of the potential of neuroscience to support the Army. Continuing research is certain to give rise to new military applications. Box 1-1 contains the statement of task opportunities, and the Army would like to better understand for the study. how these neuroscience opportunities can be exploited for The Army sponsor requested that the study address the benefit of the soldier. what neuroscience can be expected to do as well as what advances could be made if appropriate direction is provided and investments are made. Because the field of neuroscience sTudy BackGrouNd is wide-ranging and other entities are investing large amounts Most current neuroscience research is at a basic level in many neuroscience subdisciplines, the study should focus with little or no regard for longer-term military potential. on opportunities that could have a high-payoff potential for the In recent years, however, it has begun to capitalize on the Army and on areas where it is unlikely that others will devote investments in basic research and move toward applications. substantial resources that will benefit Army applications. The The time is right to apply neuroscience understanding to study should also suggest opportunities for leveraging specific applications that have military relevance. What is needed is a investments by others, where appropriate, for Army applica- determination of the specific outcomes of this basic research tions. The sponsor specifically requested that the study con- that are likely to lead to the development of neurotechnolo- sider opportunities achievable over the next 5, 10, and 20 years gies with possible military application and a discussion of and avoid unrealizable “bionic soldier” applications. 8

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9 INTRODUCTION BoX 1-1 statement of Task The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) (ASAALT) has requested the NRC BAST to conduct a study of neuro- science in terms of its potential to support military applications. The study will address what neuroscience can be expected to do as well as what neuroscience advances could do if provided appropriate direction and investment. Given the fact that the field of neuroscience is very extensive and there are many other investments underway in numerous areas and sub-areas, this study will focus on those areas that have high-payoff potential for the Army where it is unlikely that others will devote substantial resources to research and exploitation in these areas for Army benefit. The study will also suggest opportunities for leveraging specific investments where appropriate for the Army. Specifically, the study will 1. Identify and recommend novel technologies, methodologies and approaches for assessing and guiding the training of Army personnel to enhance soldier learning. The study will consider: • Assessing how neural pathways implicated in functional processing can be enhanced to improve the training of Soldiers in an operational context • Examining how sleep deprivation and high stress conditions influence training efficiency and effectiveness through degradation of specific neural pathways involved in learning and memory • Describing how neural pathway approaches can be applied by the Army to more objectively assess training paradigms, including virtual reality training as compared with constructed reality and operational conditions, regarding their efficacy in improving performance by Soldiers in combat environments • Whether traditional behavioral science as applied to Soldier training, learning and performance can benefit from developments and new knowledge being acquired in areas of neuroscience that have significant potential to impact the Soldier. 2. Examine leading-edge methodologies and technologies developed in the government, private and academic sectors to improve cognitive and behavioral performance, particularly under high stress conditions. Consider representative non-military task environments requiring continuous operation with high vigilance and risk. 3. Identify additional high-risk, high-payoff opportunities in the neuroscience field with strong potential for Army application. Identify critical barriers (such as legal and ethical) to research and development that could be surmounted by appropriate science and technology investments assuming that these are Army critical and unique. Suggest ways to overcome the barriers, and recommend research initiatives. Identify areas and opportunities where the Army can leverage relevant investments of others for Army application. 4. Determine trends in research and commercial development of neuroscience technologies that are likely to be of importance to the Army in the longer term. study approach sion making, prediction, and reading intentionality. Short biographies for the members are given in Appendix A. The NRC appointed the Committee on Opportunities Initially the committee was divided into data-gathering in Neuroscience for Future Army Applications to carry teams based on the Army’s own perception of neuroscience out the study. Special care was devoted to the composition requirements. The teams determined sources of outside of the committee. Some members had backgrounds in the expertise that would be helpful to the committee’s study traditional facets of neuroscience such as psychology and and reviewed recent publications on neuroscience topics, cognitive science and in neurology, including neuronal including two recent NRC studies for DOD sponsors (NRC, stimulation, neuropharmacology, imaging techniques, and 2008a, 2008b). The streams of data-gathering activity were human–computer interfaces (traditional ergonomics); others brought together midway though the committee’s delibera- had expertise in newer and emerging subdisciplines and tions when the first full-message draft was being written. A cross-disciplinary fields such as neuroimmunology, neuro- consensus was reached on pertinent findings to be contained economics, neuroergonomics, augmented reality, and com- in the report, and the committee was reconstituted into writ- putational neuroscience. Members were also selected on ing teams to draft the findings. The committee’s conclusions the basis of their experience in research and development and recommendations were refined and ratified at the final (R&D), military operations, and medicine, and in training meeting. All of the meetings and data-gathering activities are specialties such as memory and learning, assessment, deci- documented in Appendix B.

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0 OPPORTUNITIeS IN NeUROSCIeNCe fOR fUTURe ARMY APPLICATIONS rePorT orGaNizaTioN Subtask 1 requests that the committee identify technolo- gies, methodologies, and approaches applicable to training This report contains the committee’s analysis, conclu- Army personnel, including (1) assessing training paradigms sions, and recommendations. It focuses on areas of neuro- and improvements to training; (2) examining the influence of science research likely to lead to developments of interest high stress and sleep deprivation; and (3) determining how to the Army and provides specific objectives for the Army traditional behavioral science approaches benefit from new to consider. knowledge in neuroscience. Chapter 3 responds to the first item by discussing training paradigms and methods, perfor- chapter structure mance assessments of individuals and groups, identification of training candidates, and metrics for training effectiveness. Chapter 1, the Introduction, provides the study back- The chapter also addresses the third item by describing ground and report organization. Chapter 2, Neuroscience the impact of neuroscience advances on traditional behav- and the Army, provides a brief history and definition of neuro- ioral approaches to the assessment of both training and science, discusses Army applications likely to be served by performance. The second item—the influence on soldier neuroscience advances, and covers issues related to such performance of high stressors, such as fatigue, pain, and advances. Chapter 3, Training and Learning, discusses the sleep deprivation—is discussed in Chapter 5. assessment and testing of soldiers and units, and Chapter 4, Subtask 2, which requests an examination of method- Optimizing Decision Making, considers the multiple roles ologies and technologies to improve cognitive and behav- of leaders and tools for characterizing and predicting behav- ioral performance, is addressed in Chapters 4, 6, and 7. iors. Chapter 5, Sustaining Soldier Performance, discusses Specifically, Chapter 4 discusses methodologies for studying degradation of performance as a consequence of exposure decision making and tools to predict how an individual will to various environmental stressors (e.g., fatigue, metabolic approach making a decision. It suggests ways to capitalize stressors, pain, and sleeplessness), countermeasures to these on individual variability and deal with the constraints of a stressors that aim to prevent such degradation or restore base- decision maker’s belief system on the decisions he or she line performance, including pharmacological approaches, makes. As discussed in Chapter 6, improvements in cognitive and countermeasures to the longer-term neural and cogni- and behavioral performance are also likely to arise from the tive effects of brain injury and traumatic stress. Chapter 6, emerging field of neuroergonomics, as well as from research Improving Cognitive and Behavioral Performance, describes by the auto industry and NASA, which are doing research that emerging approaches to enhancing soldier performance that is also of interest to the Army. The committee recognizes the combine neuroscience insights with cognitive-behavioral potential for neuropharmacological approaches to improving ergonomics; one such approach would come from the new performance, but in Chapter 6 urges caution because there field of neuroergonomics. It also assesses the potential utility may be unknown side effects and long-term consequences to the Army of pharmacological and behavioral interventions of using pharmacological agents for this purpose. Technolo- to enhance cognitive performance. Chapter 7, Neuroscience gies that might be used to improve mission-related perfor- Technology Opportunities, assesses high-risk, high-payoff mance are assessed in Chapter 7. The opportunities include technology opportunities in terms of their potential impor- field-deployable indicators of neural state and advances in tance to the Army, the likelihood of their development by human–machine interfaces and brain–computer interfaces others (leveraging opportunities), and the time frame for such as augmented reality, three-dimensional haptic inter- initial operational capability. Chapter 8, Long-Term Trends faces, and information management to cope with cognitive in Research, describes major trends in neuroscience research overload. that are likely to yield future opportunities for the Army and Subtask 3 asks the committee to identify high-risk, should therefore be monitored by a suitable and continuing high-payoff opportunities in neuroscience, critical barriers to mechanism. Finally, Chapter 9, Conclusions and Recommen- R&D, and areas where the Army can leverage the investments dations, presents the committee’s specific conclusions and of others. High-payoff research opportunities are identified recommendations in response to the statement of task, plus in the recommendations from Chapters 3 through 6; these overarching conclusions and recommendations that follow opportunities vary in the level of risk associated with them, logically from the specific recommendations. as discussed in the respective chapters. Chapter 7 describes technology development opportunities, and Tables 7-1 and response to statement of Task 7-2 summarize the committee’s evaluations of high-priority and priority opportunities for Army investment, taking The chapter structure of the report does not correlate into account risk-benefit trade-offs and the just-mentioned in a simple way with the four subtasks in the committee’s potential to leverage investments by others. Legal and ethical statement of task (see Box 1-1). This section describes which barriers to implementing neuroscience research results (and parts of the report address each subtask. technology) are discussed in Chapter 2, while technical bar-

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 INTRODUCTION riers to implementing technology opportunities are discussed disciplines and areas of research and technology develop- in Chapter 7. ment in neuroscience that are likely to produce results of Subtask 4 asks the committee to identify trends in value to the Army over the longer term. research and in the commercial development of neuroscience technologies that are likely to be important to the Army in the reFereNces longer term. Chapter 7 includes a section on long-term trends NRC (National Research Council). 2008a. Emerging Cognitive Neuro- in technology. Chapter 8 discusses long-term neuroscience science and Related Technologies. Washington, D.C.: The National research trends that the Army should monitor for results Academies Press. important to Army missions. In Chapter 8, the committee NRC. 2008b. Human Behavior in Military Contexts. Washington, D.C.: The suggests a mechanism for effective monitoring of the many National Academies Press.