Classified sex bomb

An intriguing letter in this week’s New Scientist digs out some hints on the Pentagon’s proposed ‘gay bomb‘ – an ideas to create a chemical weapon that would temporarily turn enemy troops into horny homosexual love machines.

Feedback asked what happened to the US air force’s Ig Nobel-winning “gay bomb” proposal after it was put forward in 1994 (13 October).

The Pentagon has played down the story ever since New Scientist covered it on 15 January 2005. One spokesman is quoted saying it was “rejected out of hand” and another claimed in 2005 that it was never considered “for further development“.

These claims sit awkwardly with the known facts.

In 2000 – six years after the idea was proposed – the document describing the “gay bomb” was included in a CD-ROM produced by the Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, which was distributed to military and government agencies to encourage new projects.

In 2001, the proposal was one of a number which the JNLWD put forward for assessment by a scientific panel at the National Academy of Sciences.

No information has been released suggesting that the proposal was taken any further. However, aphrodisiacs would fall under the US military’s broad new definition of a “calmative agent“, the term it has chosen for “an antipersonnel chemical that leaves the victim awake and mobile but without the will or ability to meet military objectives or carry out criminal activity”.

It seems there is considerable classified research in this area.

UPDATE: An update from The Neurophilosopher: “I’ve just noticed your post about the gay bomb, and thought you might be interested in reading the original research proposal, which I found a few weeks ago when the Ig Nobels were announced”. It’s available online as a pdf. [Thanks!]

Link to NewSci letter.

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