In 1979, the Peoples’ Republic of China publicly reported that several thousand of its children aged 8-14 were capable of telepathy, clairvoyance, X-ray vision, or psychokinesis. [EN1] Having already heard about this program, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, and the US Army were simultaneously pouring billions of dollars into their own similar research.
The Army program was headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland, and was part of the Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). Leaders included Generals Edmund Thompson and Albert Stubblebine, and Colonel John Alexander. [EN2]
Officers assigned to the US Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania [ [link to carlisle-www.army.mil] contributed research to the project, and "The First Earth Battalion" is essentially a textual copy of one group´s unclassified briefing slides.
Although decidedly New Age, the War College project was not entirely theoretical. Colonel Alexander, for example, went on to become a leader in the Los Alamos National Lab´s non-lethal weapons program. [EN3] Likewise, during the early 1980s Special Forces hired Richard Strozzi Heckler and other outside contractors to provide two A-teams, a total of 25 men, with training in biofeedback, aikido, and "mind-body psychology." In the latter program, a typical training day included running, swimming, "industrial-strength" calisthenics, and 1-1/2 hours of aikido practice. After six months, the soldiers were not aikido masters but they were quantifiably 75% more physically fit than when they started. [EN4]
During correspondence with the editor in January 2000, author Channon had this to say:
The ideas circulated by this mythical force [First Earth Battalion] began with combat of the collective conscience… the principal that if any contest is viewed by the television audience, it will be judged in the end on ethical superiority. Thus cameras mounted on dune buggies. The Army War College has the most exhaustive instructional materials on peacekeeping. All these ideas were first represented by Earth Battalion thinkers and the manual you have. Channon´s statement may sound hyperbolic, but if you substitute "CNN" for "EARTH BATTALION satellite" in the following document, then you have a good description of the United States military´s foreign policy of the 1990s. Likewise, if you think of the global communication system Channon envisioned as the Internet, then it appears that he had a pretty good idea of where ARPANET (the acronym for the Department of Defense´s Advanced Research Projects Agency´s computer network) was headed. Therefore, despite the hyperbole and New Age jargon, Channon´s crystal ball proved clearer than cynics probably expected. And if nothing else, the following paper does suggest why drug testing became common for all ranks during the mid-1980s.
TASK FORCE DELTA -- CONCEPT PAPER
Problem statement. Understanding that we must work through people, how can our Army establish and maintain control of changing, interdependent systems to maximize force readiness?
Process of Influencing People. The Process of Control. The Dynamics of Change. The Nature of Interdependence. The Science of Systems. The Dynamics of Force Readiness. Concept Paper Title: The First Earth Battalion. Concept: Task Force Delta´s effort needs the track of time. Just as we maintain our perspective of the past and contact with the complexities of the present, our "First Earth Battalion" is the prime place to put thoughts of the future through a basic Army perspective.
Author: LTC James B. Channon
Sponsors: MAJ (P) [Promotable] M.M. Ischinger/COL D.M. Malone
The views expressed in this concept paper are those of the author(s) and do not purport to reflect the positions or policies of the Department of the Army or of the Department of Defense. Requests for additional information or clarification regarding this concept paper should be addressed to HQ TRADOC, ATTN: ATCG-SD, Ft. Monroe, VA 23651."