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Date:  Aug. 13, 2008

Contacts:  Rebecca Alvania, Media Relations Officer

Luwam Yeibio, Media Relations Assistant

Office of News and Public Information

202-334-2138; e-mail <>




National Security Intelligence Organizations Should Monitor Advances

In Cognitive Neuroscience Research


WASHINGTON -- Technological advancements in specific fields of neuroscience have implications for U.S. national security and should therefore be monitored consistently by the intelligence community, according to a new report from the National Research Council.  In order to do so effectively, intelligence organizations need analysts with advanced scientific training and resources for the collection and analysis of neuroscience research and its technological applications, said the committee that wrote the report.


The intelligence community has had a long-standing interest in monitoring global technology trends that could affect U.S. national security.  However, in fields where technology is advancing rapidly, the pace and breadth of research can overwhelm analysts.  In addition, few intelligence analysts have scientific skills specialized enough to allow them to recognize significant advances in highly complex and emergent fields.


A 2005 National Research Council report described a methodology for gauging the implications of new technologies and assessing whether they pose a threat to national security.  In this new report, the committee applied the methodology to the neuroscience field and identified several research areas that could be of interest to the intelligence community: neurophysiological advances in detecting and measuring indicators of psychological states and intentions of individuals, the development of drugs or technologies that can alter human physical or cognitive abilities, advances in real-time brain imaging, and breakthroughs in high-performance computing and neuronal modeling that could allow researchers to develop systems which mimic functions of the human brain, particularly the ability to organize disparate forms of data.


Research in these areas is progressing rapidly both nationally and internationally within the private, government, and academic sectors.  Technologies such as brain imaging and cognitive or physical enhancers are important to the health industry and desired by the public; such forces act as strong market incentives for development.  As these fields continue to grow, said the committee, it will be imperative that the intelligence community be able to identify scientific advances relevant to national security when they occur.  To do so will require adequate funding, intelligence analysts with advanced training in science and technology, and increased collaboration with the scientific community, particularly academia.


The study was sponsored by the Defense Intelligence Agency.  The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter.  The National Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.  A committee roster follows.

Copies of Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at  Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above). 

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[This news release and report are available at ]




Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Standing Committee for Technology Insight - Gauge, Evaluate, and Review


Division of Behavorial and Social Sciences and Education

Board on Behavorial, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences


Committee on Military and Intelligence Methodology for Emergent Neurophysiological and Cognitive/ Neural Science Research in the Next Two Decades


Christopher C. Green  (chair)
Assistant Dean
Asia Pacific
Wayne State School of Medicine

Diane E. Griffin 1,2 (vice chair)

Professor, and

Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
Bloomberg School of Public Health
Johns Hopkins University


James J. Blascovich
Professor of Psychology
University of California
Santa Barbara

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
Senior Research Scientist
Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

Scott C. Bunce
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
Drexel University


John Gannon
Vice President for Global Analysis
BAE Systems Information Technology
McLean, Va.

Michael S. Gazzaniga 2
Sage Center for the Study of the Mind
University of California
Santa Barbara

Elizabeth F. Loftus 1
Distinguished Professor
Department of Psychology and Social Behavior,
Department of Criminology, Law, and Society, and
Department of Cognitive Sciences
University of California; and
Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Gregory J. Moore
Professor and Director
Behavorial Neuroimaging Research Division
College of Medicine
Milton Hershey Medical Center
Pennsylvania State University

Jonathan D. Moreno 2
David and Lyn Silfen University Professor
Center of Bioethics
University of Pennsylvania


John R. Rasure
President and CEO
Mind Research Network
Albuquerque, N.M.

Mark D. Rintoul


Computational Biology Department

Sandia National Laboratories
Albuquerque, N.M.


Nathan Schwade
Chemical and Biological Program Manager for Threat Reduction
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Los Alamos, N.M.


Ronald L. Smith
Assistant Clinical Professor
Internal Medicine
School of Medicine
University of Nevada


Karen S. Walch
Associate Professor and Consultant
Thunderbird School of Global Management
Glendale, Ariz.


Alice M. Young
Professor of Psychology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience
Health Sciences Center
Texas Tech University




Carter Ford

Study Director

1 Member, National Academy of Sciences


2 Member, Institute of Medicine