Skip to main content

Continuous Assisted Performance (CAP)

Continuous Assisted Performance (CAP)

In order to extend the physical capabilities of soldiers and the mental acuity of pilots and other operators of technical equipment, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsors research into continuous assisted performance (CAP) technology and pharmacology.

CAP programs are designed to allow an increase in operation tempo by allowing soldiers to operate without sleep, or limited amounts of sleep, for at least seven days. In most combat operational systems, the fatigue of soldiers is the major limiting factor in operational readiness and ability to continue action. Because of the increasingly technical nature of warfare, the mere ability to go without sleep is not productive unless high levels of both cognitive and physical performance can be maintained.

The effects of sleep deprivation are well known to interrogators, and informal efforts to fight fatigue among troops have ranged from the soldier's historical use of strong coffee or tea to the condoned use of pharmacological fatigue management tools. U.S. Air Force pilots are routinely allowed to take dexamphetamine pills (also known as "go" pills), a prescription drug.

The use of go pills is controversial because the active ingredients can impair judgment. In fact, when used in other formulations, such drugs routinely carry warnings against operating heavy equipment under the influence of the drug. The impairment of judgment associated with dexamphetamine pills, further stimulates CAP research.

During the Flight of Apollo 13, as the crew entered the critical reentry orbit interface, the exhausted crew was reportedly ordered to take Dexedrine tablets to help keep their computer inputs precise and accurate.

Use of dexamphetamine by U.S. pilots, whose judgment might have been impaired by fatigue or the use of "go pills," was also argued to be a contributing factor in a 2002 "friendly fire" bombing accident in Afghanistan.



DARPA, Defense Science Office. Continuous Assisted Performance (CAP). <> (April 14, 2003).


Information Warfare
Interrogation: Torture Techniques and Technologies

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Continuous Assisted Performance (CAP)." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . 25 Mar. 2019 <>.

"Continuous Assisted Performance (CAP)." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . (March 25, 2019).

"Continuous Assisted Performance (CAP)." Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security. . Retrieved March 25, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.