Army Stresses “Environmental Considerations” in Mil Ops

In the planning of military operations, the U.S. Army is giving new emphasis to the environmental impact of its activities.

“Environmental considerations need to be integrated into the conduct of operations at all levels of command,” according to a recent Army field manual (pdf).  “Planners must consider the effect environmental considerations have and how they may constrain or influence various actions and decisions.”

There is nothing sentimental about the military’s focus on environmental matters.  Rather, it indicates a new recognition of the role of environmental issues in security and stability, as well as operational effectiveness.

“The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment…. [I]nadequate environmental controls can lead to conflicts with neighbors and can present health concerns to their population and to U.S. military personnel conducting operations.”

“The U.S. national security strategy now includes a focus on environmental and environmental security concerns. Lasting victories and successful end states will be measured in part by how well the military addresses environmental considerations, to include the protection and the conservation of natural and cultural resources; the improvement of citizens’ living conditions in the affected nations; and FHP [Force Health Protection, i.e. the health of the soldiers themselves].”

When properly integrated into mission planning, the new manual said, environmental considerations “serve as force multipliers rather than mission distracters.”  See “Environmental Considerations,” U.S. Army Field Manual 3-34.5, February 2010.

No Responses to “Army Stresses “Environmental Considerations” in Mil Ops”

  1. George Smith July 9, 2010 at 3:41 PM #

    “The U.S. national security strategy now includes a focus on environmental and environmental security concerns. Lasting victories and successful end states will be measured in part by how well the military addresses environmental considerations, to include the protection and the conservation of natural and cultural resources; the improvement of citizens’ living conditions in the affected nations; and FHP [Force Health Protection, i.e. the health of the soldiers themselves].”

    When properly integrated into mission planning, the new manual said, environmental considerations “serve as force multipliers rather than mission distracters.”

    This is such a fatuous quote. No one with any common sense could regard the US military as particularly environmentally concerned. Is Iraq now a green operation? Is Afghanistan?

    One easily understands that destruction of environment worldwide may lead to security challenges which could trigger military interventions. Like fighting for water or resources made scarce by unchecked global warming. Or use of the military to lend relief functions, for instance, to very small nations severely impacted by rising water.

    Or use of military resources — even when futile — in environmental disasters of our own devise, like Deepwater Horizon.

    But the idea that someone actually wrote -that other thing- is almost farcical.

    The US military, for instance, has long been into developing its use of Fischer-Tropsch fuels, gas made from coal. And there is nothing environmentally sound about the chemistry and engineering of Fischer-Tropsch, although use of it in some cases may constitute some type of force multiplier.

    And it has an interest in biofuels but only insofar as they apply to replacing something it may lose temporary or permanent access to, like oil. Not with respect to them actually being environmentally ‘better.’ Burning them in large quantity still creates the same environmental problem. So unless the military can go solar or magically convert to a hydrogen from water energy source soon, it has no environmental trump card to play in terms of what gets its soldiers from here to there.

    And every few months, sometimes once a year, the local California newspaper runs some articles on DoD fighting challenges against using its new super-duper sonars in areas where animals know to be heavily dependent on sonar — cetaceans — are known to be. Use of super-duper sonar is probably a force multiplier. But there’s nothing environmentalists would approve of in this situation.

    One could go on.

    Is depleted uranium ammunition environmentally sound when its littered all over the landscape? What is the actual environmental footprint of the US military in Afghanistan, including waste disposed, energy used, ammunition — spent and unexploded — put into the landscape, chemicals used to inhibit opium crops, heavy metal contamination from the cleaning and maintenance of mechanized equipment, plastic litter from America-style fast food joints within US green zones, loss and pilferage, etc.

    Geez, the list could be as long as your arm.

    “The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment…. [I]nadequate environmental controls can lead to conflicts with neighbors and can present health concerns to their population and to U.S. military personnel conducting operations.”

    This seems like the worst kind of salve dictated for purposes of having something expedient and good-sounding to say.

    Irritating. I can’t believe many military men would think much of it, either. Surely many must be realists.

  2. Roger July 9, 2010 at 9:36 PM #

    Depleted Uranium is not that widely scattered. For some factual information, here is an excellent video and a Swiss paper -

    Minnesota VA DU Forum

    http://www.mdva.state.mn.us/du/video/DUQandA.htm

    http://www.mdva.state.mn.us/du/video/DUKeyResearchFindings.htm

    Spies Laboratory fact sheet on DU –

    Background Information on a Current Topic, 2000, Depleted Uranium

    http://www.labor-spiez.ch/en/dok/hi/pdf/depleted_uranium_en_kurz.pdf

    DUStory-owner@yahoogroups.com

  3. George Smith July 12, 2010 at 1:37 PM #

    You point to something from 2000 and a vague video presentation that references the same thing? My calendar says it’s 2010.

    Plus, it only covers a sliver of this post’s topic. Eesh.