Russian Military to Assign Soldiers According to Genetic Tests
Russia Will Genetically Test Soldiers to Identify the Best Fighters and Thinkers
Russia plans to develop “genetic passports” for military personnel, according to Alexander Sergeyev, the head of the country’s Academy of Sciences. The program also involves the Kirov Military Medical Academy, which conducts research in military medical services.
Speaking ahead of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Sergeyev said that “the most important and interesting project considered by representatives of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Military Academy, is the so-called Genetic Passport of a soldier. The project is far-reaching, scientific, fundamental. Its essence is to find such genetic predispositions among military personnel, which will allow them to be properly oriented according to military specialties.”
In March, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin issued a decree on “chemical and biological safety for the period up to 2025,” which introduced the concept of genetic passports for all citizens.
TASS reported at the time that this was “part of the state management system regarding Russia’s national security… aimed at protecting the country’s people and environment from the negative impact of dangerous chemical and biological factors, creating and developing systems to monitor chemical and biological risks, as well as at boosting bilateral and international cooperation in the area of chemical and biological security.”
“The [military] project involves not only the assessment of the physiological state,” Sergeyev told TASS this week, “but also the prediction of human behavior in stressful, critical situations that are associated with the military profession.”
The military passports would predict a soldier’s “resistance to stress, ability to perform physical and mental operations under the conditions of this stress, and so on.” Sergeyev told the news agency that he believed “military medicine will be able to raise the bar high in this project. There are already serious developments in this area. It is about understanding at the genetic level who is more prone to, for example, to service in the fleet, who may be more prepared to become a paratrooper or a tankman.”
In a separate interview with the RIA Novosti news agency, Sergeyev said that this would determine “whether a serviceman will be better than a rifleman or tankman—after all, the wars of the future are already largely wars of intellects, those people who make decisions in conditions completely different from those that were before.”
Sergeyev also said that “a soldier’s stress is connected, say, with the artillery preparation of an opponent who wanted to crush you, make him stay out of the trench, but in a cyber war the stresses are completely different,” and there are also plans for “work in this area.”
“I believe that technological lag is today the main threat to our national security,” Sergeyev told TASS, “because the world is moving very fast on the rails of scientific and technological progress.”
Putin to Have Genetically Selected Army
From National Interest:
The Russian military will be using genetics to assess that most unpredictable of human qualities: how a person will react in combat.
Want to be a Russian paratrooper or tank commander? Then you’d better hope you have the right genes.
The Russian military will be assigning soldiers based on their “genetic passports.”
“The project is far-reaching, scientific, fundamental,” Alexander Sergeyev, the chief of Russia’s Academy of Sciences, told Russian news agency TASS back in the summer (English translation here). “Its essence is to find such genetic predispositions among military personnel, which will allow them to be properly oriented according to military specialties.”
“It is a question of understanding at the genetic level who is more prone to, for example, to service in the fleet, who may be more prepared to become a paratrooper or a tankman.”
Interesting. Are there any traits where genetic testing is as good right now as regular testing?
For example, I knew a guy who enlisted in the Navy, but got discharged after months of expensive training because he was permanently seasick when at sea. That might be something that eventually could be predicted genetically and would be worth saying: Nah, you are probably never going to get over your seasickness, so you should go enlist in the Army instead.
But most of the time it makes sense just to give somebody a phenotypic test.
For example, George W. Bush scored poorly on his Air Force entrance test on the parts involving artificial horizons and other flying-related knacks. He did okay on other parts, especially leadership personality, so they let him become a pilot. But while he managed to fly a dangerous fighter without killing himself, he was never particularly good at it and gave up flying when he got out.
So, the paper-pencil tests they’ve got already are pretty good.
On the other hand, a big military like Russia’s can probably acquire a sample size of over a million in a decade of genetically testing all new recruits. And they’ve got a ton of real world data on servicemen, so why not correlate DNA with performance and see what shakes out?
Civilian GWAS broke the million sample size barrier with Lee et al last year, but the problem facing these kind of studies is a lack of dependent variable types of data. Lee focused on “educational attainment” because it’s a question asked on a large percentage of medical forms. But there aren’t all that many such common questions from medical studies. In contrast, modern militaries know an absurd amount about the performance of military personnel so it would be very tempting to scan the DNA and see what correlates with what.
Source: The Unz Review