French army gets ethical go-ahead for bionic soldiers

An ethics committee said the French military can look into developing "augmented soldiers."

(CNN)The French armed forces now have permission to develop "augmented soldiers" following a report from a military ethics committee.

The report, released to the public on Tuesday, considers medical treatments, prosthetics and implants that improve "physical, cognitive, perceptive and psychological capacities," and could allow for location tracking or connectivity with weapons systems and other soldiers.
Other possible interventions considered by the armed forces ethics committee include medical treatments to prevent pain, stress and fatigue, and substances that would improve mental resilience if a soldier were taken prisoner.
    The committee said that France needs to maintain "operational superiority of its armed forces in a challenging strategic context" while respecting the rules governing the military, humanitarian law and the "fundamental values of our society."
    As a result, it has forbidden any modification that would affect a soldier's ability to manage the use of force or affect their sense of "humanity."
    Further examples of banned modifications include cognitive implants that would affect the exercise of a soldier's free will, or changes that would affect their reintegration into civilian life.
    Armed forces minister Florence Parly said "invasive" augmentations such as implants are not currently part of military plans.
    "But we have to be clear, not everyone has the same scruples as us and we have to prepare ourselves for such a future," she said in a press release published Tuesday.
    Parly did, however, leave the door open to future changes in policy.
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