Soldiers

Army Maj. Jason Moncuse sat at a table in a makeshift headquarters with an Afghan actor playing the role of a commander from that nation's army. Through a Dari-speaking interpreter they traded small talk.

"Oh, and if you could, also submit this tourist visa to the U.S.," the commander said.

"Oh, so you want a tourist visa?" said Moncuse.

The chatting wasn't aimless, though. The Army is essentially weaponizing chitchat.

Performance Psychologist Meghan Halbrook of Fort Bragg's Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Center shows a soldier how to use an ear sensor to monitor his stress level as he rests between sessions of machine gun training.
Jay Price / American Homefront

With biofeedback, breath control, and other mindfulness techniques, an Army unit hopes to help turn its paratroopers into more effective fighters.