James Giordano, Ph.D., MPhil, is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry; Chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program, Co-director of the Program in Science and Global Health Law and Policy, and Chair of the Sub-program in Military Medical Ethics of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center. He is Senior Fellow of the Project on Biosecurity, Technology, and Ethics at the US Naval War College, Newport, RI; Bioethicist in the US Defense Medical Ethics Center; and 2020-21 Visiting Professor of Biomedicine and Humanities, Creighton University, NE. As well, he chairs the Neuroethics Subprogram of the IEEE Brain Initiative; is a Fellow of the Defense Operations Cognitive Science section, SMA Branch, Joint Staff, Pentagon; and is an appointed member of the Neuroethics, Legal and Social Issues Advisory Panel of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He has previously served as Donovan Senior Fellow for Biosecurity at US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM); as Research Fellow and Task Leader of the EU-Human Brain Project Sub-Program on Dual-Use Brain Science; as an appointed member of the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP); and as senior consultant to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Working Group on Dual-Use of International Neurotechnology.
A Fulbright scholar, Dr. Giordano was awarded the JW Fulbright Visiting Professorship at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, GER, and currently is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biotechnology, Health Promotions, and Ethics at the Coburg University of Applied Sciences, Coburg, GER. He was previously an International Fellow of the Centre for Neuroethics at the University of Oxford, UK.
Prof. Giordano is the author of over 300 papers, 7 books, 21 book chapters, and 25 government white papers on brain science, national defense and ethics. His book, Neurotechnology in National Security and Defense: Practical Considerations, Neuroethical Concerns (2015, CRC Press) is widely regarded and used as a definitive work on the topic. Prof. Giordano is a former US Naval officer, holding designations as an aerospace physiologist, research physiologist, and research psychologist, and served with the US Navy and Marine Corps. In recognition of his achievements he was elected to the European Academy of Science and Arts, and named an Overseas Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine (UK).
Recent convocation of participatory parties in the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention has prompted a renewed focus upon which, how and to what extent currently available and/or new biotechnologies and techniques could be developed, weaponized and utilized. In this light, it becomes important to reconsider current progress and near future research and development of neuroscience and neurotechnology (i.e., neuroS/T), and the potential to employ neuroscientific tools and products in various domains of national security and defense.
Over the past decade, China’s increasing activities in media and industrial acquisition, soft power messaging, development, and exploitation of international laws has made it starkly apparent that the U.S. is engaged in an innovative form of multi-dimensional competition. China’s commitment to the scientific and technological (S&T) enterprises as specific components of current and future Five-Year Plans emphasize an increasing reliance on—and investment in—convergent S&T approaches (e.g., cyber, nano, media, and economic) to effect dominance on the world stage. This use of multiple technological pathways, coupled with pre-bellicose, non-kinetic actions and subtle yet potent influence operations demonstrates a strategic paradigm to threaten, if not suppress, U.S. global power. During 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) pressed forward on garnering both internal and external expertise to increase technology-focused efforts necessary to inform policy, acquisitions, and security strategy. Over the past four years, the authors were tasked by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Donovan Group and the SOFWERX Innovation Center at United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) with studying the use and advantages of current and emerging technologies (ETs) by near-peer adversaries. Toward that end, an exploration of these non-kinetic, technology-enabled engagements was conducted by the group to best define the current evolution in tactics and strategy challenging U.S. national security.
Podcasts / Webinars
In part one of this two-part podcast, HDIAC analyst Mara Kiernan interviews Dr. James Giordano, discussing the applications of neuroscience to national security. The discussion begins with a broad level conversation before narrowing the focus to warfighter neurocognitive enhancement. Dr. Giordano provides insight into the current state of neurocognitive enhancement, potential future technologies, and the various challenges associated with its development and use.
The second installment of this two-part podcast continues the conversation with Dr. James Giordano on the implications of neurocognitive enhancement technologies. Dr. Giordano discusses the ethical hurdles associated with such human enhancement technologies, the importance of building a competitive advantage,… Read More
In part one of this two-part podcast, HDIAC analyst Mara Kiernan interviews Dr. James Giordano, a Professor in the department of Neurology and Biochemistry at Georgetown University Medical Center. The discussion begins with Dr. Giordano defining neuroweapons and explaining their applied technologies. He provides insight into the manner in which international weapons conventions govern the use neuroweapons and discusses the threats presented by neuroweapons in today’s environment. Dr. Giordano goes on to review the need for continuous monitoring, including his views regarding challenges and potential solutions for effectively understanding global developments in neuroweapon technologies.
The second installment of this two-part podcast continues the conversation with Dr. Giordano on the implications of weaponizing brain science. In an article he wrote for HDIAC in 2016 titled ‘Battlescape Brain’, Dr. Giordano hinted at the possibility of a neuroweapons arms race that could follow from international surveillance. Dr. Giordano provides an updated look at these concerns in the context of today’s environment. He concludes by describing ethical frameworks that could regulate future policies for biotechnology as the world moves forward in this dynamic area.
In this webinar, Professor James Giordano of Georgetown University Medical Center, and Senior Fellow in Biosecurity, Technology, and Ethics at the US Naval War College describes the uses and value of big data and cyber-capabilities in bioscience and biotechnology; addresses the national security, intelligence, and defense applications of these tools and methods; illustrates vulnerabilities in these systems’ infrastructures and functions, and posits the importance and necessity of bio-cybersecurity as a multi-organizational posture and enterprise.