military boffins are looking into pheromone-based weapons as an alternative to more conventional and somewhat brutal, yet ineffective, means of making the enemy run away from the battlefield or surrender.
Pheromones are nothing new as far as defense and security agencies go. The Stasi, or Staatssicherheit, East Germany's notorious secret police, used them to track democracy-loving misbehavers during the Cold War with great effect. They used insects to track the movement of suspicious persons throughout East Berlin, especially in its crowded mass transit system. Smell you at checkpoint Charlie, we guess.
U.S. scientists are apparently working on developing synthesized fear inducing pheromones, which could eventually make the enemy, well, fear them. It does seem a bit odd that the U.S. Armed Forces, of all people, are working on such a project. Honestly, if you don't fear them as it is, you don't need pheromones, you need professional help, and lots of it.
Maybe this in itself is the answer to why the they might be developing such substances. How do you strike fear into the hearts of persons who simply don't give a damn if they live or die? With pheromones, of course, paid for by the oblivious taxpayer. Sounds like an interesting weapon for game developers, too; fear grenades, anyone ?
Another application for the same technology would be the use of "fear sensors" which could detect elevated fear pheromone levels in subjects.
So, as FDR would put it ,there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Literally.