some circumstances. The subject-matter expertise and deciding authorities will be very different, as might some of the ethical and social issues. However, a credible, workable system for evaluation of military R&D would have to have many of the attributes described in the bulleted list above.
It is very important that an approach for addressing ELSI concerns for military R&D take into account the special characteristics of the military environment described in Chapter 1. To defend the nation and its interests, the United States develops some military technologies and applications for use as weapons, and weapons are designed to cause harm, possibly extensive, to people (specifically, combatants) and to property (specifically, property with military purposes). That such development can be ethical is therefore a fundamental premise of such work. Thus, a chosen approach to addressing ethical, legal, and societal issues for military R&D must maintain control over processes for receiving input from individuals who do not share or are not willing to set aside discussion of this premise.
In addition, an approach for addressing ELSI concerns with R&D of military relevance must be capable of accommodating the classified dimensions of military research. Although classification does limit the number of individuals who can participate in any kind of ELSI review, the fact that a program is classified is not ipso facto a valid reason for asserting the impossibility of conducting a useful review. One major reason is that the ELSI dimensions of a project can often be discussed without referring to the parts of a project that involve classified information. A second reason is that a significant breadth of input can be gathered by using cleared individuals not formally associated with a given project.
It is also noteworthy that some of the issues raised by research classified for national security purposes also occur in considering certain kinds of civilian research and development. In particular, many industrial research labs operate with as high a level of secrecy as they can manage for obvious commercial reasons. Thus, under some circumstances, it is possible that experience with handling ELSI considerations in a quasi-classified civilian environment might have some relevance to handling such considerations for classified research.
Finally, urgent military needs sometimes emerge under the pressure of operations (e.g., new adversary weapons or tactics), and R&D may be needed on a time scale that does not allow ELSI concerns to be fully considered or accommodated before the technical work on a specific application is completed. Three observations are relevant here. First, it is not necessary to handle all relevant ELSI concerns as “gateway” issues—and to the extent that they can be handled in parallel, they need not necessarily add calendar time to a project timeline. Second, such time pressures