New Threat to National Security: Environmental Deterioration   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the thesis abstract: "Since the mid 1960s, 'national security' has been conceptualized in almost strictly military terms, rooted in the assumption that the principal threat to security comes from the military actions of other nations. […] Consideration of military threats, particularly from the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, has become so dominant that new threats to U.S. security, such as economic and environmental threats which military forces cannot address and may in fact exacerbate, tend to be ignored. […] The deterioration of the global environment is on a scale that encompasses the major life-supporting systems of the earth's biosphere. It includes the exhaustion of soils, loss of forests, alteration of the earth's climate and biogeochemical cycles, the accumulation of hazardous and radioactive wastes, and the decline of ecological communities. […] Although environmental deterioration threatens the security of all nations by undermining the resource support systems on which human activity and economic well-being depend, most countries are doing little to preserve their environmental security. In 1986, for example, the U.S. spent about $275 billion on military defense but only $18 billion to address environmental threats which are as concrete and potentially as devastating as our perceived military threat."

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