February 25, 2024

The year is 2028, and a new and highly infectious coronavirus has struck the sailors of the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed in the South China Sea. As the world grapples with this emerging pandemic, confusion runs rampant among officials at the CIA, CDC, and DOD, who bicker over the most effective response strategies. 

Meanwhile, China, seemingly immune to the novel virus, seizes the opportunity to launch a full-scale assault on Taiwan, capitalizing on the global chaos. 

While the World Health Organization praises China’s successful social distancing measures, little do they know that the Chinese government had covertly vaccinated its military and essential workers under the guise of a standard COVID-19 booster campaign.

This scenario, initially conceived by Pentagon researchers, may sound like science fiction, but military strategists believe that a “coronavirus bioweapon” may lurk on the horizon. This possibility is one of several outlined in a new report sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The report “Plagues, Cyborgs, and Supersoldiers: The Human Domain of War Research” delves into how CRISPR gene-editing technology, mRNA vaccines, brain networking, and other technological advancements could unleash new forms of military conflict.

Released earlier this month and reported here for the first time, this provocative report, conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Program of the RAND National Security Research Division, offers futuristic scenarios that military planners should consider.

“We see a complex, high-threat landscape emerging where future wars are fought with humans controlling hyper-sophisticated machines with their thoughts” and “synthetically generated, genomically targeted plagues” that cripple the American military-industrial base,” the report warns.

In another intriguing scenario, seemingly inspired by the decline of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and this time set in a more distant future, the report suggests that elderly congressional leaders, desperate to retain power, secretly install state-of-the-art Brain-Computer Interface devices. These devices, commonly used among wealthy senior citizens in the scenario, initially help the senators regain mobility and speech after years of clear cognitive decline. However, when the brain implants malfunction, causing erratic and belligerent behavior, foreign allies begin to distance themselves from the U.S., damaging national security.

The report further highlights the potential hacking vulnerabilities associated with BCI implants, which, while promising for patients with neuromuscular impairments, could be exploited to inject fear, confusion, or anger.

Additionally, the authors caution against the possibility of government employees replacing their natural eye lenses with artificial ones containing tiny cameras connected to micro-storage devices. The small cameras could collect classified intelligence and leak it to foreign adversaries.

However, not all aspects of the report focus on vulnerabilities. In a section discussing human genomic editing, the researchers explore the potential for creating “supersoldiers” through genetic modifications that enhance physical and psychological capabilities. Despite their vulnerabilities, BCI devices could also serve as a means for commanders to communicate swiftly with their forces during military operations.

The report extensively analyzes the technological capabilities of both China and the U.S. in biotechnology and brain technology, highlighting the differences in focus and status between the two nations. It highlights previous reporting on Chinese research into “ethnic-specific genetic weapons” and “purported brain-control weaponry.”

Nevertheless, the report ventures into cultural observations, emphasizing that the U.S. values openness, diversity, and democratic principles. In the face of a more contagious and deadly pandemic, China’s ethnically homogenous and compliant population could give it an advantage in deploying vaccines swiftly. At the same time, authoritarian states might similarly brutally suppress “anti-vaccine populists” and enforce compliance. The report claims this could hinder the U.S. due to its more relaxed regulatory environment that values individual liberties, where such crackdowns and forced vaccinations are more difficult to deploy.