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Building the Super Soldier

Kingston Conference on International Security to examine the future of performance enhancement. 

The 12th annual Kingston Conference on International Security, taking place June 12-14, will bring together academics and military leaders to examine future enhancements to the physical, intellectual and social capabilities of soldiers. Panelists will also discuss the challenges in balancing the need for military effectiveness when enhancing individual performance with a commitment to reflect society’s values and norms.

“Different stakeholders bring with them different perspectives,” says Stefanie von Hlatky, Director of the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy and co-organizer of the conference. “Academics tend to think longer term, so bringing back the implications of their research to the immediate strategic, operational and tactical impacts is made possible through the conference. For the operational community and military leaders, engaging more analytically with concepts, doctrine and strategy is not something that the rigors of the job always permit, yet those lessons can be tremendously useful.”

Dr. Stefanie von Hlatky, Director of the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy, says the Kingston Conference on International Security creates opportunities to bring together academics and practitioners to exchange knowledge and examine concepts and strategies in ways that aren't always possible in the separate donmains. (Supplied Photo)

By bringing together perspectives from academia, industry and military operators, the conference allows for a more detailed and nuanced examination of military performance enhancement. Panelists will examine the current and future states of leading-edge research in performance enhancement, as well as the social aspects of the military profession, which includes gender and cultural awareness. The final panel will consider the ethical and moral implications of developing super soldiers, who must later transition back to being citizens when the mission is complete.

The conference is a collaboration between the Centre for International and Defence Policy, the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre, the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, and the NATO Defense College in Rome. The conference program is jointly developed by the partner groups, with an eye on the implications of international security trends for the armed forces of Canada, the U.S, and NATO allies.

“It is our hope that the attendees gain knowledge and awareness on the multiple facets of the soldier and military performance – including spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional, cultural and familial components,” says Major-General S.C. Hetherington, Commander of the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre. “More importantly, I hope they fully leverage this unique and diverse forum to contribute ideas and information on current fields of work and research akin to soldier and military performance. The Kingston Conference on International Security, as a world class international conference, bringing NATO and international perspectives, which are always valuable and informative for the attendees.”

For more information on the Kingston Conference on International Security, or to register to attend this year’s session, visit the website.