GMACCC Member Chris King authors Inter Agency Essay on Climate Change and Security

Fort Leavenworth, 23 January 2014

An article by GMACCC member Brigadier General Wendell Christopher King (Ret.) entitled “Understanding Environmental Security and Climate Change” was published in the InterAgency Essay (IAE) series published by the Command and General Staff College Foundation Press for the Simons Center for Interagency Cooperation on 23 January 2014.  

The essay analyzes the impacts of climate change on the security of the United States. Environmental security issues like climate change are a worldwide issue that will require a whole-of-government response. Interagency cooperation between the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and the many agencies of the intelligence community will be essential. 

The intent of this essay is to assist military, defense, and other national security professionals to better understand environmental security issues by explaining how environmental issues such as climate change become national security issues. This essay addresses both the science of key environmental issues and the defense and security implications created by environmental issues such as climate change or freshwater water scarcity. This discussion will establish the link between climate change and other environmental security threats and strategic military planning. 

This essay uses climate change, a key environmental security issue, to demonstrate the threats to peace and stability that the world now faces from human-induced changes to the environment. The changes are the result of exponential population growth, environmental degradation, and resource overuse. Using the Asia Pacific region as a model, this essay provides a process for analysing environmental security. The environmental security analysis process demonstrated here is generally applicable worldwide. 

The InterAgency Essay (IAE) series is published by the Command and General Staff College Foundation Press for the Simons Center for Interagency Cooperation. The series is designed to provide an outlet for original essays on topics that stimulate professional discussion and further public understanding of the interagency aspects of national security and disaster response issues encountered at both the application and policy levels. Mainly written in first person narrative, IAEs strive to allow practitioners to recount their experiences and tell their stories.