Home > Joshua Snow, Politics, Technology > US Army: Captain America, Space Marines, or the Clone Wars?

US Army: Captain America, Space Marines, or the Clone Wars?

Courtesy of Halo Wiki

Recently, DARPA announced a plan to create genetically-modified shock troopers for the United States military.

Let that sink in a moment, pal.


These new super-troops are projected to run faster than Usain Bolt, go without food and sleep for days, outlift Olympic weightlifters, and possibly regrow lost limbs. Like a damn octopus.  Even more insanely, DARPA hopes they’ll be able to communicate telepathically.  Before you call bullshit, I’ll show this quote from Daily Mail, explaining how the technology works:

Most gene modification techniques involve placing genetically modified DNA inside a virus and injecting it into the human body. The virus then enters human cells, and its modified DNA attaches itself to the human DNA inside those cells.

This project probably won’t be alone; it will likely be combined with other DARPA projects, like the telepathy helmet, bio-monitor, and the widely-publicized exoskeleton.  Their Brain-Machine Interfaces Project has made leaps and bounds, and would add to a soldier’s ability to coordinate all the other nasty toys he’s carrying. CNN has already touted these futuristic soldiers as “Captain America”, and I’m sure the government press releases will love that—who doesn’t love Captain America?

Being all patriotic and shit, courtesy of Marvel.Com

Those who knew me, my Facebook, or my Twitter know that I’m a huge Transhumanist and Futurist, but come on  guys: How many of you see this and think Captain America or Halo, and how many of you are expecting the Clone Wars, or Horus Heresy of Warhammer 40K?

While we’re talking Warhammer, look at DARPA’s Trek Aerospace flyer; it’s basically the Ork Deffkopta. Or the Japanese version of the Warhammer Dreadnought.

There’s too many links and projects to even discuss here. But it’s not the technology that really strikes home: it’s the implications.

What does the United States plan on doing with its Space Marine-esque army? We don’t even have an enemy that can stand up to our good ol’ human one very effectively.  Did we find something on Mars? I’m just kidding. Maybe it’s to squash all those superbly armed Occupy Wall Street Terror Squads, or brave the hazards of space exploration. Who kmows? I’ll leave the speculations on its purpose, and the nefariousness of world governments, to the readers.

But there are other issues that will have to be addressed. Ever read any of The Clans books in Battletech? No? Google it now, it’s amazing. The short version: a social divide and resentment between free-born soldiers and their genetically superior true-born counterparts is going to become a very real problem in our armed forces, and as the technology trickles into civilian usage, our general population. With the much easier and cheaper possibility of cybernetics, you can pretty much assume some fields will turn into schlong-waving contests between the unmodified, the cybernetic, and the genetically engineered.

As these technologies do trickle down into civilian life, how will civilians get them, and pay for them? Will it be only for the wealthy? Will these soldiers and civilians have to sign themselves over to ten and twenty year contracts to employers, just to pay for the modifications needed to compete? Where there’s a will there’s a way, and crime has always paid, regardless of what your parents will tell you. Envision people walking into dingy shops, filthy motel rooms, or being snuck into clinics and hospitals, all looking for some second-hand cybernetics, or some stolen retrovirus re-write, just to keep up with the State of the Art. It will trickle, all the way from the military’s super-soldiers, to faster paper-pushers, to the boys in blue. After that, it’s only logical for crooks and mooks, all looking for that little bit of edge, to give it a shot illegally.

Not a sterile environment; courtesy of istockphoto

I’m not saying Warhammer 40K, or Shadowrun, or Star Wars, is here. But the first Ork or Gamorrean I see, I am out of here.
Waving Stormtrooper picture is courtesy of freestockphotos.biz


Josh Snow is a skeptical transhumanist and some-time freelance writer. He does some event coordination and security supervision for the geek community in his area, and would really like it if  you followed him on Twitter @ArkangelWinter

  1. 17/08/2012 at 11:05 am

    Super Soldiers will rise and take over the world, and then they will be exiled in a spaceship and set into cryogenic sleep for a few hundred years. They will be awoken by the starship Enterprise, and then lead to a fantastic movie sequel.

    It would be interesting to see how this would play out in reality. While DARPA may be looking into it, there are many ethical questions and concerns that would slow any implementation down. Now, if all these soldiers look like Ricardo Montalban/Khan, then we might be in real trouble.

  2. 17/08/2012 at 6:07 am

    There is an elegant homepage about the greatest films of every time: http://vitriol.gportal.hu

  3. sentientwolf
    16/08/2012 at 6:34 pm

    Just call AAAARNOLD and let him deal with these “Predators”. 😉

  4. SprinklinThoughts
    16/08/2012 at 5:41 pm

    Over the years (many of them), the science fiction visionaries have been proven correct. They may have some of the details wrong, but the overall vision was there.

    Orwell – 1984
    Huxley – Brave New World
    Blade Runner
    Soylent Green
    Logan’s Run
    “It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.” – R.E.M.

    These people (DARPA & such) are totally f—in insane, but think they’re doing the patriotic thing.
    Want to see just how deep the insanity goes?
    Check out: Human Resources –
    How the elite use behavioral science to craft our educational and industrial systems.
    And over here you can watch the whole movie on-line for free:


  5. 16/08/2012 at 12:27 pm

    “What does the United States plan on doing with its Space Marine-esque army?”

    And what does it plan to do when there is no war? Put them in the closet and take their batteries out?

    If we have a large, powerful population of creatures who are built to do nothing but make war, we will have to constantly be making a war … someplace. Even just to give them something to do. Or else they will find something to do on their own. Clone Wars is looking about right.

    We’re making the human version of roving packs of rabid dogs, and hoping they don’t get loose. Rabid dogs with thumbs and cerebral cortices. Yeah, nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan …

  6. 16/08/2012 at 12:10 pm

    I saw some Storm Troopers in Germany, like in 1933. They’re already here! Great post. Love the Gamorrean reference.

  7. bloodhawk5
    16/08/2012 at 11:54 am

    I don’t think an exo-esqueleton will be efficient. Maybe a Crysis’ nano-suit type would be better: artificial muscle system would save space and energy, with the material being reinforced with some carbon (or whatever) nano-tube (structure) for things like high speed bullets. The same artificial muscle system can be used for giant robots and spider like tanks (with heavy armor for the latter). I think the coolest transhumanist idea came from an old anime OVA, Detonator Orgun (you gotta check this trilogy, it’s quite cool). Geno-warriors is more troubling due to the following generations that might get the mutations all wrong (imagine with the civilians doing this in dingy motel rooms – their offsprings will be something out of this world). Transhumanism is a choice… people getting for the sake of getting better is also wrong (especially because it interrupts the natural course of evolution and genetic variations that kept us going). But thats just me. Loved the post.

  8. 16/08/2012 at 9:31 am

    I cannot begin to adequately express how horrifying I find this news. Could they really do this?! The ruling class is truly insane and evil beyond most minds to fully comprehend.

  9. 16/08/2012 at 8:09 am

    Well I personally can’t wait until legions of space marines are cleansing the planet of heretics for the emperor errr I mean Obama

  10. 16/08/2012 at 7:31 am

    My first thought, though I don’t recall a military tie-in, was the X-men. Everybody has different DNA, so you’re either going to mutate the virus individually to achieve the same results in all test subjects, or you’re going to have to take when you can get. In any case, creating such a “super soldier” nearly always creates his, always much less “role model”, counterpart, thus also creating a need for these super soldiers.

  11. myladyphoenix
    16/08/2012 at 5:55 am

    Thank you very much for this interesting post. Funny thing is, I read a book recently which deals with the consequences of these projects on a wholly different level: “Der Letzte seiner Art”, by Andreas Eschbach. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an English version available, otherwise I would have stated that title. To give a really short summary, the book tells the story of a soldier whom the government experimented on, trying to enhance his endurance, abilities etc. Problem is, it went wrong. Completely wrong, making him little more than an invalid who has to hide from the world and can never live a normal life again because of both his injuries and the need to keep this failure a secret. While I would not say that the book’s all that exciting, the sad and yet compelling thing about it is that it’s realistic – and all the more frightening to think about for that.
    Just thought it might be another interesting facette to this discussion.
    All the best,
    mylady phoenix

    • 16/08/2012 at 12:11 pm

      My German is a little rusty, but it’s added to my reading list.

  12. 16/08/2012 at 4:23 am

    i certainly hope that if there ever are genetically modified soldiers or civilians that their makers have the sense to ensure that they are sterile…………….20 30 50 or 100 generations down the line a bunch of uncoordinated genetically engineered projects mating and reproducing makes mutants of all shaps and sizes a real probability……..

  13. 16/08/2012 at 3:58 am

    Reblogged this on xymalf and commented:
    East Germany was doing this in the 1970’S with their athletes that’s way World Records have never been beaten.

  14. 16/08/2012 at 2:10 am

    I like your concept. best of luck

  15. 16/08/2012 at 1:39 am

    Very funny 🙂 My hope is that they will be like Star Wars stormtroopers – but if Jedi/Sith show up we could be in a lot of trouble, especially since DARPA can’t get anything to work ATM (RAM jets for example).
    Final thought. You said something like “before you say bullshit here is this quote from the daily mail”. As a rule I tend to assume most of what is in that paper is BS 😉
    Congrats on FP 🙂

  16. GG
    15/08/2012 at 10:20 pm

    I really like your ideas. All the best.

  17. 15/08/2012 at 10:16 pm

    Ultimately it’s the tax payer who will pay for this. So ask your self are you ready to pay for this? Or would you rather use taxes for something more important? Although having a batallion of clone soldiers sounds cool, are we ready for it? Should there be a jedi council to regulate this as well? So many questions…

  18. 15/08/2012 at 8:48 pm

    I hope they’re testing Gamma radiation. Cuz I could go all Hulk on some twits I know.

  19. fromthomas77b
    15/08/2012 at 8:17 pm

    Have you seen the movie Gattaca, by Andrew Niccol ?

    • 16/08/2012 at 12:32 am

      No, though you’re not the first to tell me I should.

  1. 13/06/2013 at 3:54 pm

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