“Environmental Change, Strategic Foresight, and Impacts on Military Power
,” published in Parameters
by Chad M. Briggs, the Minerva Chair of Energy and Environmental Security at the Air University, USAF, tackles the changing definition of “environmental security
” and how the concept can help planners better prepare for the effects of climate change and an elevated focus on energy security. New potentially destabilizing issues like glacial melt, sea-level rise, and Arctic ice melt are on the horizon, writes Briggs. China and others are already planning for these events, and it’s important that the United States does the same, starting with a greater appreciation for the impact of environmental security on vulnerability and risk. “Due to past practices and bureaucratic stovepipes, implementation is limited more by initiative and imagination than actual resources,” he writes.
Clionadh Raleigh of Trinity College Dublin and the International Peace Research Institute finds in “Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Does Physical Geography Affect a State’s Conflict Risk?” that a region’s geography does not have a uniform effect on its likelihood of experiencing conflict. Raleigh’s conclusions, published in International Interactions, run counter to traditional histories which often emphasize the importance of physical geography, specifically with regard to civil war and insurgencies. Focusing on the Great Lakes region of Africa, Raleigh finds that other factors – like how populated an area is and its proximity to valuable natural resources – correlate higher with an area’s propensity for violence than any other factor.