September 21, 2023

Chats du Monde

World of Health & Pet

Tom Brady’s health and fitness guru Alex Guerrero eyes creating ‘superhumans’ for Pentagon

5 min read

TAMPA, Fla. — Promises of transformative military technology were around every corner at the recent Special Operations Forces Week conference, but few compared to upgrading human beings.

“I think that’s the future. It’s getting there where we’re going to be able to create superhumans,” Alex Guerrero told the audience this week. The medical practitioner is best known for his work on the TB12 Method with legendary NFL quarterback Tom Brady.

It may sound like science fiction, but Mr. Guerrero’s declaration dovetails with a multipronged U.S. armed forces’ effort to usher in the next phase of evolution for America’s warriors.

Military leaders are embracing biomechanics, mental health, psychological toughness and spiritual reawakening to nurture the mind, body and soul in concert to create warriors fully equipped for 21st-century conflicts on the battlefield and inside the mind.

Mr. Guerrero’s concept of “superhumans” hinges on culturing the microbiomes of elite athletes or other prime specimens and incorporating them into other humans’ makeup. Such cutting-edge science could theoretically upgrade the strength, speed, physical endurance and recovery time of average men and women.

For the Pentagon, that’s an extreme side of a wide spectrum and is not ready to implement on a significant scale. Military leaders have embraced the broader idea of optimal human performance. The focus is no longer on how high soldiers can jump, how fast they can run or how quickly they can solve problems in high-stakes environments.

Case in point: Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael E. Martin, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command-Korea, said the most important factor in ensuring that his elite unit is ready for any war with North Korea is that the mental toughness, physical fitness and emotional health of his personnel are all in top form.

“The gunship is a great platform, but it’s not worth its weight in gold unless the crew is full up, i.e., cognitively, preservation of force and family, all the pillars for us to be high-functioning military members,” Gen. Martin told The Washington Times in an exclusive interview.

“Whether you’re stationed in Korea or the United States, or somewhere else and coming to Korea to train hard, [it’s important] that you have all the opportunity to ensure you are functioning at the highest rate, cognitively, physically, emotionally, everything is in order,” he said. “You bring that operator, that combat support person forward. That, to me, is the secret sauce.”

Marrying man and machine

Deep inside the Pentagon is a subtle shift in using technology to best aid America’s warriors.

The best, most advanced equipment has long been a part of U.S. military might, but the focus increasingly is turning to how humans can operate with technology in an almost symbiotic manner to create capabilities far beyond what they can accomplish on their own.

Perhaps no program better exemplifies that approach than the military’s “hyper-enabled operator” initiative, the offshoot of an ill-fated effort to build futuristic battle gear similar to that of Marvel superhero Iron Man.

The suit failed to meet some of its lofty expectations, but the technological aims of that program are moving full steam ahead. Officials describe outfits for special operations forces with technologies that can compile and analyze mountains of data from commercially available sources or through social media channels to accurately predict the enemy’s next move on a battlefield.

With all that data available in real time, military personnel may be able to find and identify threats without ever laying physical eyes on them.

“We want this operator to be superusers of their environment across multiple domains, so they’re a little bit [able] to see around corners,” Army Col. Jarret Mathews, director of the Joint Acquisition Task Force at U.S. Special Operations Command, said during a presentation at the special operations forces conference.

In a wartime environment, Col. Mathews said, the hyper-enabled operator system could translate road signs, graffiti and other messages from foreign languages to English or whatever language the operator wants. Such a tool could be vital in battles in foreign lands.

Officials say the system will ultimately be able to understand and respond to the user just as a human would, helping solve problems and gather information in seconds.

“Don’t think you have to utter certain keywords or key phrases. You just talk to it like you would another person, and it understands your intent and puts together responses,” Col. Mathews said.

Mind and soul

Building better soldiers with modern equipment is just one part of the equation. What’s arguably more important, officials say, is caring for service members’ emotional and psychological well-being.

Technology can help with that too. The U.S. special operations forces community is building tools driven by artificial intelligence that can predict when personnel are on the verge of emotional upheaval or mental health events that could impact their readiness and performance under pressure.

“We select folks in SOCOM to be resilient. And sometimes there’s an assumption that once we pick those resilient people, they’re going to be resilient from here on out. Once they’re good, they’re good,” said Army Lt. Col. Amanda Robbins, command psychologist at U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM.

“I think the challenge has been for the psychological domain and for that psychological support to be thought of as something that can aid performance,” Col. Robbins said at a panel discussion. “I think the next horizon is often going to be how do we get ahead of finding out where those [emotional] snowballs are going to come? How do we get ahead of taking that data, that AI, that machine learning, and how do we incorporate that with the human element?

“How do we incorporate those to provide commanders, to provide organizations, with a good risk assessment of how this is going to impact later on when the stress comes?” she said.

Underlying that psychological analysis may be something even more elemental. Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Solhjem, chief of chaplains for the Army, said an individual’s spirituality, and finding ways to nurture it, is the core principle upon which all other physical and psychological concepts are built.

“It’s really the docking station for everything else we’re talking about,” Gen. Solhjem told an audience at the conference. “Now I think we’re at another major inflection point. … About 40, 45 years ago, we threw out the baby with the bathwater. We threw out religion and with it spirituality in an effort to be more inclusive as a people, not realizing the damage that we inherently did to our culture as a result of that.” © All rights reserved. | Newsphere by AF themes.