A concept of a powered exoskeleton designed for the Future Soldier 2030 Initiative.[1]

A super soldier (or supersoldier) is a concept soldier capable of operating beyond normal human abilities through technological augmentation, ranging from powered exoskeletons to advanced training regimens or (in fictional depictions) genetic modification or cybernetic augmentation.

Fiction

Super soldiers are common in military science fiction literature, films, and video games. Examples include Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein and The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. Super soldiers are also prevalent in the science fiction universe of Warhammer 40,000 and its prequel The Horus Heresy. Critic Mike Ryder has argued that the super soldiers depicted in these worlds serve as a mirror to present-day issues around sovereignty, military ethics and the law.[2] Marvel Comics, and by extension the Marvel Cinematic Universe, feature a wide array of heroes and villains whose powers are obtained through various competing attempts to create a super soldier, including Captain America, Hulk, the German Red Skull, and the Russian Red Guardian.[3]

Fictional super soldiers are usually heavily augmented, either through surgical means, eugenics, genetic engineering, cybernetic implants, drugs, brainwashing, traumatic events, an extreme training regimen or other scientific and pseudoscientific means. A few stories also use paranormal methods or technology, and science of extraterrestrial origin. The fictional masterminds of such programs are depicted often as mad scientists or stern military personnel depending on the needs of the plot, in stories that typically explore the ethical boundaries of the pursuit of science and victory. Some depictions can be categorized as cyborgs or cybernetic organisms due to the cybernetic nature of their augmentations.[4]

China

In 2022, the People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Sciences reported that a team of military scientists inserted a gene from the tardigrade into human embryonic stem cells in an experiment with the stated possibility of creating soldiers resistant to acute radiation syndrome who could survive nuclear fallout.[5]

U.S. Army

In the book The Men Who Stare at Goats (2004), Welsh journalist Jon Ronson documented how the U.S. military repeatedly tried and failed to train soldiers in the use of parascientific and pseudoscientific combat techniques during the Cold War,[6] experimenting with New Age tactics and psychic phenomena such as remote viewing, astral projection, "death touch" and mind reading against various Soviet targets. The book also inspired a war comedy of the same name (2009) directed by Grant Heslov, starring George Clooney.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ The future soldier. Archived 2019-08-06 at the Wayback Machine A Soldier Domain for Full Spectrum Warfare. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Ryder, Mike (2021). "Conscripts from birth: war and soldiery in the grim darkness of the far future" (PDF). Fantastika. 5 (1). Archived (PDF) from the original on 12 November 2022. Retrieved 12 November 2022.
  3. ^ Hood, Cooper (June 3, 2020). "All 23 Super Soldiers Created In The MCU (Not Just Captain America)". ScreenRant.
  4. ^ Krishnan, Armin (24 October 2013). "The Cyborgization of Human Soldiers". Footnote1. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  5. ^ Chen, Stephen (March 29, 2023). "Chinese team behind extreme animal gene experiment says it may lead to super soldiers who survive nuclear fallout". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on March 29, 2023. Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  6. ^ Adams, Tim (21 November 2004). "Acting the giddy goat". Book review. Guardian News. Archived from the original on 10 September 2021. Retrieved 5 August 2013. The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson, Picador, pp.240.
  7. ^ Heussner, Ki Mae (Nov 9, 2009). "Psychic Spies: Any Truth in 'Men Who Stare at Goats?'". ABC News. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 13 July 2013. Ronson, Jon (2009). The Men Who Stare at Goats. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1439181775.