Thursday, June 18, 2009

New From The New Security Blog (CNA's Military Advisory Board Report on Energy Security, Climate Change)

By way of the New Security Blog: the CNA think tank's Military Advisory Board has just issued a report, Powering America's Defense: Energy and the Risks to National Security. The findings, as presented in the preface, are as follows:

1. The nation’s current energy posture is a serious and urgent threat to national security.
a. Dependence on oil undermines America’s national security on multiple fronts.
b. The U.S.’s outdated, fragile, and overtaxed national electrical grid is a dangerously weak link in the national security infrastructure.
2. A business as usual approach to energy security poses an unacceptably high threat level from a series of converging risks.
3. Achieving energy security in a carbon-constrained world is possible, but will require concerted leadership and continuous focus.
4. The national security planning processes have not been sufficiently responsive to the security impacts of America’s current energy posture.
5. In the course of addressing its most serious energy challenges, the Department of Defense can contribute to national solutions as a technological innovator, early adopter, and testbed.

There is little here that strikes me as radically new. (I made every one of the main points myself in an article that ran in the U.S. Army War College Quarterly, Parameters-"Toward a Long-Range Energy Security Policy" back in 2006, and raised them again in Survival last year.) Nonetheless, this lengthier, comprehensively researched report-which can be thought of as a follow-up to their 2007 report National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (which interested readers can check out at the following page, featuring different versions attuned to reader convenience, as well as a downloadable briefing for those interested in the short version)-makes its case well, a particular strength of it its attentiveness to the interactions of climate change with energy security.

It goes into particular depth about how "carbon constraints" and climate change will impact the U.S. military, touching on some generally unconsidered aspects of it (including the Arctic security issue, and the loss of Diego Garcia in the event of a 1-meter sea level rise). It also devotes much of chapter three to what the Department of Defense could do directly to alleviate the problem, while chapter four lays out in somewhat broader terms a direction for the country to go in.

The blog's latest Reading Round-up Radar also contains plenty of interest on the issue.

New in Environmental Security (From Thomas Homer-Dixon, Nick Garrison, Julio Friedmann, James Hamilton)
The EU Elections
Is the U.S. the New France?
The Human Cost of the Economic Crisis
The Real Unemployment Rate-And What It Means
On Consumer Spending
New in Fusion Research
Human Impact Report: Climate Change-The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis
The Incredible, Shrinking GDP
New From Scientific American ("The Nuclear Renaissance")

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