Military studying psychic abilities after servicemembers used “sixth sense” to prevent attacks

On March 27, 2006, Staff Sgt. Richburg was talking to his wife on his cell phone outside an Internet cafe on a base in Iraq. As he sat there, he noticed a man approaching the cafe with a blue bag. Something about the situation seemed slightly off. Richburg watched the man place the bag on top of the cafe's air conditioner. Then the man turned and ran, but not fast enough to escape Richburg, who jumped out of his truck, chased the man down, and quickly learned that the bag held a bomb. Richburg managed to clear the building just before the bomb destroyed the entire cafe. Richburg's actions saved the lives of 12 soldiers and five Iraqi civilians. In March 2006, he was awarded the Army Commendation Medal with a "V" and has been nominated for a Bronze Star.

The US military is researching ways to hone the premonitive “spidey sense” abilities of their warriors, exploring new ways to incorporate training that Navy scientists swear is not based on superstition.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) is looking into New-type theories surrounding the ability to harness human premonitive skills in order to create a better warrior, treating the concept of the “sixth sense” as a sort of muscle to be exercised to increase warrior agility.

“We have to understand what gives rise to this so-called ‘sixth sense,’ said Peter Squire, a program officer in ONR’s Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare and Combating Terrorism department.

Since research initiation in 2014 (which was initially born  based on stories of servicemembers using their sixth senses to detect traps and ambushes), the research now focuses less on theory and more on how to use technology to examine and enhance the phenomena.

According to the Pentagon, the program was born of field reports from the war theater, including a 2006 incident in Iraq, when Staff Sergeant Martin Richburg, using intuition, prevented carnage in an IED, or improvised explosive device, incident.

Commander Joseph Cohn, a program manager at the naval office, told the New York Times, “These reports from the field often detailed a ‘sixth sense’ or ‘Spidey sense’ that alerted them to an impending attack or I.E.D., or that allowed them to respond to a novel situation without consciously analyzing the situation.”

If the researchers understand the process, there may be ways to accelerate it- and possibly spread the powers of intuition throughout military units,” said Squire.

Currently, the Pentagon is focused on accelerating the methods in which such skills can be acquired and honed.

“If we can characterize this intuitive decision-making process and model it, then the hope is to accelerate the acquisition of these skills,” says Lieutenant Commander Brent Olde of ONR’s Warfighter Performance Department for Human and Bioengineered Systems. “[Are] there ways to improve premonition through training?”

With over a decade in the making, DoD’s new program is anything but the controversially-crackpot ESP training that took place in the 80s and 90s. In fact, the concept has been renamed “sensemaking” in order to further distance itself from the theoretical psychic training of old. In official DoD terms, “sensemaking” is a motivated continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively.”

Essentially, the studies focus on how to better teach warriors to read the tide of battle.

Many of the test subjects in these trials are wounded Marines/soldiers or those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but are eligible to return to the battlefield. Using biofeedback and technology not previously available, these warriors can -in theory- be taught through Cognitive Behavioral Treatment methods to change how their brains process information. In a sense, the subjects transform their traumatic injuries and nightmares into empowering dreams and thoughts.

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