Performance of ethical military research is possible: On and off the battlefield

John McManus*, Annette McClinton, Robert Gerhardt, Michael Morris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Many of the same fundamental principles and regulations that govern civilian biomedical research also apply to research conducted by the US Military. Despite these similarities, the conduct of research by the US Military has additional requirements designed to preserve service members' informed consent rights, ethical standards and information that may be deemed classified. Furthermore, there are also additional rules and regulations associated with potential research to be done in a combat setting. Before conducting battlefield research, many unique circumstances must be considered to include: (1) the current legal and regulatory requirements for advanced informed consent (2) the tactical situations, and the ability to adequately document in the "austere" environment (3) the need to provide improved drugs and devices for combat casualty care and (4) the special nature of the superior-subordinate relationship. This paper discusses historical background, regulatory oversight, ethical implications and release of information as it pertains to research conducted by the US Military.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-303
Number of pages7
JournalScience and Engineering Ethics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Combat
  • Consent
  • Ethics
  • Informed consent
  • Military research


Dive into the research topics of 'Performance of ethical military research is possible: On and off the battlefield'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this