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369 April 20, 2000

Green Wars
Making Environmental Degradation a National
Security Issue Puts Peace and Security at Risk
by Paul Benjamin

Executive Summary

Since the end of the Cold War, a fundamental fad concepts as many observers expected, “environ-
shift in national security policy has taken place mental security” has become an important compo-
in the United States. No longer restricting itself nent of current national security policy. Various
to such issues as military alliances, the strategic agencies—ranging from the Department of
behavior of other great powers, and nuclear Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the
strike capabilities, security policy now tackles Department of State to newcomers on the security
environmental degradation, poverty, infectious scene such as the Environmental Protection
diseases, drug use, and other problems. Agency—are involved. Eager to justify their budgets
Moreover, it increasingly posits them as threats in a more peaceful, prosperous world, they have
to the national security of the United States. embarked on various projects, both at home and
This shift in thinking has taken place subtly abroad, aimed at countering the perceived threat
and largely out of the realm of public debate. from environmental degradation.
Although environmental issues are rapidly mov- Unfortunately, little thought has been given
ing up on the public agenda, the public is not to the consequences of those developments.
generally aware that they are treated specifically Although the practical activities carried out in
as security threats. Environmental degradation the name of environmental security are still fair-
is the most popular of the new causes embraced ly limited, various dangers are already apparent.
by policymakers and government agencies, and Among them is the potential for militarizing
its treatment as a security threat dates back to environmental issues and infringing on civil lib-
the immediate post–Cold War period when a erties. Equally worrisome, a security policy that
debate began about what to do with U.S. military attempts to tackle all the world’s environmental
resources that were no longer needed after the problems risks pushing the United States in the
demise of the Soviet Union. direction of further conflict and greater inter-
Instead of being relegated to the recycling bin of vention in the affairs of other nations.


Paul Benjamin, an independent foreign policy analyst based in Washington, D.C., holds a master’s degree in
international relations from Central European University in Budapest.
There has been a approach.”2 The consequence is that a diverse
conscious shift Introduction set of new problems and goals is entering secu-
rity discourse, and a whole range of social
from a limited, In 2015 the United States invades Brazil issues that were previously limited to the civil-
largely military, to put an end to logging in the rainforests. In ian sphere is increasingly falling under the
2020 war breaks out in Western Africa as peo- purview of the U.S. military. That develop-
sense of “security” ple vie for arable land in the face of a rapidly ment is troubling for numerous reasons.
to one that encroaching desert, and the United States Since the policies resulting from this shift
encompasses all and its NATO allies intervene to prevent a in thinking have lain, by and large, on the
wider war. By 2022 the U.S. military is run- periphery of grand strategy, they have been
manner of ning domestic and overseas poverty reduc- subject to little public oversight and have
“threats,” ranging tion and population control schemes and been formulated very gradually. Although
from environmen- dominates a global environmental surveil- the shift started in the academic community
lance network. Implausible? Not necessarily, in the 1970s, it was only in the 1990s that it
tal degradation to if current trends in U.S. security policy con- took hold in the policy world. In 1990 then-
poverty and from tinue unabated. senator Al Gore put environmental degrada-
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in tion on the national security agenda when he
overpopulation 1991, policymakers have struggled to redefine wrote that environmental neglect “threatens
to ethnic tensions. the security interests of the United States. not only the quality of life, but life itself. The
With the overriding threat of the previous half global environment has thus become an
century no longer in existence, America has issue of national security.”3 In the same year,
had to take a new look at where threats to its the Strategic Environmental Research and
security may occur, and how best to deal with Development Program was initiated by Gore
them. While debate rages over what to do and Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) with the aim of
about the proliferation of weapons of mass redirecting military resources toward “devel-
destruction, how to redefine America’s strate- oping and analyzing the data needed for
gic relationships, and whether we need a alerting us to possible security threats.”4 As
national missile defense system, more subtle Nunn put it in his speech before approval of
changes in security policy thinking are taking the initiative:
place in the background.
The concept of security has been expand- I am persuaded that there is also a
ing gradually. In the past, “security,” although new and different threat to our
never rigorously defined, in practice usually national security emerging—the
meant what Stephen Walt, in his classic defin- destruction of our environment. The
ition, refers to as decisions involving “the defense establishment has a clear
threat, use, and control of military force.”1 stake in countering this growing
During the Cold War, that understanding of threat. I believe that one of our key
security led to a policy of containing the Soviet national security objectives must be
Union through nuclear and conventional to reverse the accelerating pace of
deterrence strategies. In recent years, however, environmental destruction around
there has been a conscious shift from a limit- the globe.5
ed, largely military, sense of “security” to one
that encompasses all manner of “threats,” Since that time, it has become standard
ranging from environmental degradation to for security policy documents to cite social
poverty and from overpopulation to ethnic issues as threats to American national securi-
tensions. New issues are continually being ty. Environmental degradation is mentioned
classified as security issues or threats to in almost all National Security Strategy docu-
national security in what one commentator ments put out by the White House since
has referred to as “an additive ‘laundry list’ 1991. In 1996 President Clinton introduced

organized crime and ethnic and religious sible. Yet behind the rhetoric lie serious impli-
hatred to the list.6 By 1998 the National cations for peace and security. Environmental
Security Strategy was citing rapid population degradation is a case in point, and the analysis
growth, new infectious diseases, and uncon- here will extend to what actually happens
trolled refugee migration as issues having when the environment is linked with national
important implications for American securi- security, and the potential consequences for
ty.7 Even education is now officially a “critical U.S. security and the democratic process. The
national security issue.”8 main conclusions are that harnessing the
Although the invocation of national securi- rhetoric of national security to social issues
ty is sometimes simply a rhetorical device risks rendering the term “security” meaning-
designed to attract attention and funding to a less, to the extent that any policy action may
cause, there are nonetheless more profound be easily justified by invoking “national securi-
reasons behind the process of “securitiza- ty,” with serious consequences for democracy,
tion”—and there are equally important objec- openness, and civil liberties. In addition,
tions. The move toward an expansion of the efforts in furtherance of the new security goals
concept of U.S. national security started out may actually end up decreasing America’s
with the goal of reallocating (rather than elim- security by antagonizing other countries and
inating) unneeded military resources left over promoting unbounded overseas intervention. Harnessing the
from the Cold War. While that seemed sensi- Some of the existing programs to enhance rhetoric of
ble to some people at the time, the outcome “environmental security,” such as those national security
has been somewhat different from the original addressing Russian nuclear waste, are also
expectation. The so-called peace dividend, misguided and ineffective, and it is clear that a to social issues
announced with euphoria during the Bush threshold needs urgently to be defined to dif- risks rendering
administration, has given way to increased ferentiate between a genuine environmental
military spending during the Clinton admin- threat to U.S. security and an environmental the term “securi-
istration. Instead of seeing tax cuts, we now see problem that should remain in the civilian ty” meaningless.
a proliferation of government programs, often sphere or the responsibility of another coun-
within the Department of Defense, designed try or organizational entity. Without such pol-
to counter alleged new security threats. icy discrimination, the United States may end
Various other federal agencies and depart- up as the self-appointed armed protector of
ments, all eager to get involved with the new the global environment.
issues or to push their own causes using the
rhetoric of national security, have jumped
onto the bandwagon. As a result, the reason- Why Environmental
ing behind “securitizing” social issues has sub- Degradation and National
tly changed from its reallocation roots.
Broadly speaking, the justification now rests
Security Don’t Mix
on three arguments: first, that social issues are The linking of the environment with
becoming as important as military defense in national security is a fashionable ploy in
an increasingly integrated world; second, that today’s policymaking. DoD is one of the
the health and well-being of other countries’ agencies most heavily involved, with defense
citizens are important to the United States planners preparing for environmentally
because they contribute to a stable, secure induced conflict, a new emphasis on the
world and healthy overseas markets; and, cleanup of contaminated military bases, and
third, that factors such as resource depletion, implementation of overseas environmental
global warming, and infectious diseases programs, especially in Russia and the coun-
threaten human survival more than military tries of Eastern Europe. In 1993 DoD estab-
action ever could. lished the post of deputy under secretary of
Taken at face value, those claims look plau- defense for environmental security, held to

date by Sherri W. Goodman, and it partici- makers and government agencies mean when
pates in NATO’s Committee on Challenges they talk about “environmental security.”
to Modern Society, which is designed to
address issues such as environmental degra- What Is Environmental Security?
dation and the role of the military. Other Government agencies and officials rarely
agencies such as the Environmental clarify their terms. The words “security” and
Protection Agency and the Department of “national interest” are bandied about with
Energy have environmental security pro- such frequency that it is often hard to chal-
grams and work closely with DoD under the lenge their usage and demand definitions.
terms of the Memorandum of Understand- Nonetheless, it is possible to deduce certain
ing on environmental security, signed by the linkages between environmental degradation
three agencies in 1996, to combat environ- and national security from the actions and
mental threats to U.S. national security words of the people involved. The key
around the globe.9 Pilot initiatives include a assumptions include the following:
project on nuclear waste in the Arctic seas as
a result of Soviet, and later Russian, naval • Environmental degradation and
activity. Even the Central Intelligence Agency resource depletion threaten American
is involved in environmental security: it has health, prosperity, and lives and need to
set up a Global Fiducials Program, which be countered.
uses surveillance satellites to collect data on • Poor environmental conditions and
current environmental conditions, and has lack of resources will lead to regional
declassified thousands of photos from the instability and conflict, and the United
past few decades to allow scientists to build a States will then need to intervene.
picture of global environmental change. • Environmental modification might be
One of the major problems with redefin- used as a weapon of war, and prepara-
ing security so broadly as to include environ- tions should be made for such use.
mental issues is that it risks rendering the • Environmental conditions affect the
word “security” meaningless. As Daniel success of Washington’s overseas mili-
Deudney, a professor of international rela- tary deployments and must be studied.
tions at Johns Hopkins University, has • Providing for America’s defense should
argued, “If everything that causes a decline in be done in an environmentally safe
Environmental human well-being is labeled a ‘security’ threat, manner.
the term loses any analytical usefulness and
security policies becomes a loose synonym of ‘bad.’”1 0 Clear The latest National Security Strategy,
may actually language is essential for clear thinking, as released at the end of 1999, cites both envi-
George Orwell has persuasively argued.1 1 ronmental threats to human life and envi-
reduce security— When “security” becomes ambiguous and ronmentally induced instability at a regional
especially if they diluted, two dangers become apparent. level as issues that compromise national
tend to push First, there is a high risk that turning envi- security.1 2 While President Clinton empha-
ronmental issues into a security concern will sizes the conflict model (“preserving the
toward conflict result in the militarization of environmental resources we share is crucial . . . to maintain
rather than peace- policy, with detrimental effects on society and stability and peace within nations and among
on efforts to find solutions to environmental them”),1 3 Vice President Gore opts for the
ful relations
problems. The second danger is that environ- health and prosperity approach, emphasiz-
among nations. mental security policies may actually reduce ing the effect of the environment on the
security—especially if they tend to push “quality of life.” Under Secretary Goodman
toward conflict rather than peaceful relations sees environmental cooperation as con-
among nations. Before examining those tributing to building democracy, trust, and
issues, however, it is worth asking what policy- understanding.14 In the 1996 Memorandum

of Understanding, threats to environmental ods. Although the last three (environmental The Pentagon’s
quality are understood as affecting “broad modification, “green” military, and environ- vision of environ-
national economic and security interests, as mental factors in deployment) fit more easily
well as the health and well-being of individ- within the current military role, the first mental security
ual citizens.” EPA administrator Carol two—the conflict-stability approach and the includes enhancing
Browner believes that “protection of public health-well-being approach—diverge from
health and the environment have become an traditional security policy. This is especially
important part of our national security.”1 5 so with the health-well-being model as it security through
Yet, as Alan Hecht of the same organization essentially redefines the role of the military military-to-military
has claimed, environmental security “encom- and the meaning of security. The conflict
passes unsustainable economic development model is also a departure from tradition, contact programs
that has the potential to create national, despite the seeming relationship between dealing with the
regional or global instabilities that threaten conflict and what one would usually associ-
U.S. interests.”16 Former secretary of state ate with the defensive role of the military. It is
Warren Christopher extolled the virtue of new in that it examines environmental fac-
both the conflict-stability and the health- tors that could either contribute to or cause a
prosperity approaches in a speech in April decline in regional stability. The study of mil-
1996.1 7 Secretary of State Madeleine Albright itary strategy, and international relations in
has done the same. In a speech on Earth Day general, usually focuses on the political
1998 she proclaimed that “the threats we face aspects of conflict and stability—the interna-
from environmental harm are not as spectac- tional system, regime types, and power.
ular as those of a terrorist’s bomb or missile. Although politics undoubtedly plays a part
But we know that the health of our families in the environmental conflict scenario—war
will be affected by the health of the global is in itself an inherently political act—the
environment. . . . And the security of our study of, and preparation for, environmental
nation will be affected by whether we are able conflict assumes that environmental factors
to prevent conflicts from arising over scarce can be singled out from all the other vari-
resources.”1 8 Briefing the Senate Select ables. It also assumes the importance of envi-
Committee on Intelligence in 1996, ronmental factors in leading to conflict,
then–director of central intelligence John something that is not always evident.
Deutch declared that “a deteriorating envi-
ronment can not only affect the political and The Conflict Approach to
economic stability of nations, it can also pose Environmental Security
global threats to the well-being of The conflict model is best expressed by
mankind.”1 9In addition, he saw environmen- Thomas Homer-Dixon at the University of
tal monitoring as essential for troop protec- Toronto, although there is a significant body
tion in wartime. The Pentagon’s stated envi- of other academic research on this subject.2 1
ronmental security mission focuses mainly Homer-Dixon’s extensive studies on the
on such issues as the environmental impact relationship between acute environmental
of defense activities and base cleanup, which change and conflict have tested three
amount to what might be called environ- hypotheses: (a) environmental scarcity causes
mentally friendly security provision. simple-scarcity conflicts between states (so-
Nonetheless, the Pentagon’s vision of envi- called resource wars); (b) environmental
ronmental security also includes enhancing scarcity causes large population movement,
international security through military-to- which in turn causes group-identity con-
military contact programs dealing with the flicts;2 2 and (c) environmental scarcity simul-
environment.2 0 taneously increases economic deprivation and
As the examples show, the linkages point disrupts key social institutions, which in turn
to different goals and call for different meth- causes “deprivation” conflicts such as civil

strife and insurgency.2 3 He concludes that evi- achieve environmental security. To further
dence supporting the last two hypotheses is this goal, the United States has established
much stronger than that supporting the first, various military-to-military contact programs.
although the results from other academic As Goodman explained in a major policy
research are more mixed. speech, “All over the world, American forces
Such clarity is sadly not to be found in the are sharing the wealth of their environmental
Clinton administration’s rhetoric—the exam- experience with foreign militaries, showing
ples given earlier are as much as can be ascer- them by example and instruction how to pro-
tained of the government’s view of the link tect and preserve the air, lands, and waters in
between the environment and instability. their own countries.”2 7 Kent Butts, a U.S.
Instead, the administration has jumped in Army War College professor, argues that DoD
with two assumptions: first, that there is is the government agency best placed to coor-
such a link and, second, that something can dinate overseas environmental programs
and should be done about it. because of its “vast experience in solving com-
That is apparent in the “preventive plex environmental problems domestically
defense strategy,” first developed by former and in developing and industrialized coun-
secretary of defense William Perry, who tries, [its] unique technical and operational
The Security declared that the strategy “creates the condi- capabilities, and [its] global network.”28 The
Assistance tions which support peace, making war less Security Assistance Program, run by DoD and
Program, run by likely and deterrence unnecessary.”24 En- the State Department, has enlarged its focus
vironmental security was supposed to play a in recent years to include environmental proj-
DoD and the role in both pillars of this strategy: first, ects in developing countries. Instead of pro-
State Department, developing adequate indications and warn- viding assistance in the form of military
ings of potential crises and, second, promot- equipment only, it now stresses (among other
has enlarged its ing military environmental cooperation that things) the role of the military in developing
focus in recent contributes significantly to democracy, trust, countries in carrying out environmental pro-
years to include and understanding.25 tection and management. DoD assistance so
The latter theme was evident in far has included providing African coastal
environmental Goodman’s testimony to the Senate in the states with patrol boats and aircraft to be used
projects in devel- spring of 1999. Recalling Secretary Cohen’s to prevent poaching, training in anti-poaching
oping countries. military maxim of “shape, respond, prepare,” methods, and managing a project to train
Goodman outlined the environmental com- African militaries to protect and maintain
ponents of this strategy: wildlife habitats and carry out conservation
activities. Butts believes that the militaries in
SHAPE the international security developing countries are the best vehicles for
environment in ways favorable to promoting environmental management
U.S. interests, promoting regional because, in the developing world, “the military
stability through military-to-mili- is frequently a better-organized, better-trained
tary cooperation. and more technologically sophisticated ele-
RESPOND by supporting critical ment of the government than are other com-
environment and health require- parable organizations.”29
ments of military operations. The Memorandum of Understanding
PREPARE by sustaining access to between DoD, DoE, and the EPA also calls
land, air and sea for training through for activities that will “focus on enhancing
responsible management of our other nations’ abilities to identify and man-
installations and training lands.2 6 age environmental threats,” and U.S. involve-
ment in the Russian Arctic provides an inter-
Cooperation with foreign militaries is con- esting example that will be used as a case
sidered an important part of the efforts to study later. Cooperation with foreign mili-

taries is thus supposed to have the double environmental component of preventive
goal of reducing environmental crises, there- defense: prevent problems from causing con-
by preventing conflict, and promoting flict (but be ready to intervene if conflict does
democracy, trust, and understanding, again occur). Anything that is a potential cause of
in the interest of stability. conflict, be it intrastate, regional, or interna-
The environmental component of preven- tional, is therefore considered a threat to
tive defense’s first pillar—warnings of potential security and must be tackled. President
crises—is also revealing. Although Goodman Clinton summed it up when he declared that
placed emphasis on the role of the intelligence “if we fail to address these threats today, we
community in predicting conflicts that have will suffer the consequences in all our tomor-
environmental factors, it is clear that DoD, as rows.”3 4 Such an attitude, of course, has
the agency that would be expected to provide potential consequences of its own, which are
solutions, is also concerned. If intelligence does discussed below.
provide indications of environmentally
induced conflict, what will happen? Goodman The Well-Being Approach to
cites deforestation in Haiti as that country’s Environmental Security
“most severe environmental concern, one that The well-being approach to environmen-
world relief agencies have explicitly tied to the tal security is even less well defined than the
country’s refugee crisis which brought in conflict approach. Essentially, any environ-
American troops.” She goes on to say, “An envi- mental problem that in any way reduces the
ronmental crisis similar to Haiti’s thus may quality of life in America or affects the health
have significant regional or even international of American citizens can be considered a
effects, which, in combination with other fac- threat to national security. This approach
tors, could compel U.S. military involvement.”30 also allows any environmental policy and any
Organizations such as the National Defense environmental program, in the United States
University have gone so far as to identify alleged or overseas, to be considered in the national
flashpoints around the globe where environ- interest. Such a dilution of the concept of
mental conflict could break out and affect U.S. security has profound effects on the way that
national security interests.31 NATO, with U.S. policy is elaborated and implemented, and it
participation, has conducted a series of studies takes no account of tradeoffs between values.
on environmental conflict and its effects on Organizations
national and international security.3 2It is there- New Goals, Confused Goals such as the
fore evident that DoD examines such scenarios, Environmental security takes many forms.
and the intelligence community scans for them, It includes carrying out defense activities in
National Defense
with a view to intervening militarily if preven- compliance with environmental standards, University have
tive defense fails and conflicts do arise. preparing for environmentally induced conflict gone so far as to
Clearly, other factors—social, economic, overseas, cooperating with foreign militaries to
and political—come into play, too. Deutch tackle environmental issues, and developing identify alleged
said as much when he stated, “Adding [the] policies and signing agreements on environ- flashpoints
environmental dimension to traditional mental issues such as climate change, air pollu-
tion, and toxic waste disposal. Each is a differ-
around the globe
political, economic and military analysis
enhances our ability to alert policy makers to ent issue, but there are some similarities. All are where environ-
potential instability, conflict, or human dis- deemed to require immediate action. Such is mental conflict
aster and to identify situations which may the imperative of invoking “security,” and thus
draw in American involvement.”33 its rhetorical value, as a motivating tool. All could break out
Nonetheless, the prevailing attitude is environmental security activities include some and affect U.S.
that environmental problems need to be activity overseas as well as in the domestic national security
taken care of, regardless of other potential sphere—to prevent conflict, to mitigate conflict,
causes of conflict. This is the essence of the and to reduce threats to American life and liv- interests.

Several large ing standards. In short, anything environmen- lihood that the strategy would backfire and
“environmental tal is now considered a national security issue. lead instead to the military’s co-opting envi-
Subsuming all those goals under the title ronmental policy. Indeed, very little diversion
national security” “environmental security” makes a muddled has occurred, but much profoundly negative
projects have “catch-all” policy inevitable. It is worrisome attention has been given to environmental
when any environmental policy or project issues.
already gone for- can be designated “in the national interest,” The incursion of the military into environ-
ward without a and any environmental problem can be mental affairs is cause for great concern. As far
proper analysis of branded a “threat to national security.” back as 1991, some authors had outlined the
Those terms should not be taken lightly. risks of military involvement in environmental
how they really They are mobilizing terms designed to prior- issues.3 6 Those risks include an institutional
affect national itize projects; muddling the concept of secu- tendency toward secrecy and control of infor-
security, or even rity makes it easier to avoid providing a mation, a propensity for conflictual thinking
coherent rationale for them. That is not a (i.e., the perception of “them vs. us”), and calls
what is meant by trivial point. Several large “environmental for mass mobilization against the perceived
the concept. national security” projects have already gone threat.3 7 Of great concern, too, is the potential
forward without a proper analysis of how for contravention of civil liberties as the mili-
they really affect national security, or even tary takes one more step into civilian affairs.
what is meant by the concept. That also is Conversely, there is a danger when civilian
not a new problem. Arnold Wolfers recog- agencies make incursions into the military
nized it when he wrote in 1962 that “the term sphere, as the EPA for instance has done in its
‘security’ covers a range of goals so wide that involvement in military activity in the Arctic,
highly divergent policies can be interpreted discussed below. The militarization of EPA
as policies of security.”3 5 However, instead of policy is hardly a desirable objective.
taking note of this caution, the new security Unfortunately, it is already happening. As if
policymakers and policy wonks continue to to underscore the point, EPA recently pub-
use the term “environmental security” with lished a brochure describing its role in envi-
carefree abandon. ronmental security; depicted on its cover
As a result, the term “security” is in serious were a group of fish, an eagle, a CH-53 heli-
danger of being appropriated by any cause copter, and a U.S. Navy destroyer all floating
that wishes to use it. This is not to assume that in harmony around a large tree.3 8
all causes that do so are bad. It is simply to say To put the problem differently, would we
that a closer look should be given to what really want to leave important aspects of
kinds of causes are doing so and why. Without national security policymaking to the EPA?
such an examination, it will be possible to jus- Yet if its current activities in the name of
tify any policy, and any expansion of govern- national security are anything to go by, that
ment intervention, with little democratic over- might well occur. According to William
sight. However, the consequences go far Nitze, assistant administrator of the agency,
beyond even that considerable danger. environmental security is the “minimization
of environmental trends or conditions involv-
“Green Security or Militarized ing other countries that could, over time, have
Environment?” significant negative impacts on important
The first additional danger is the poten- U.S. interests.”39 It is not hard to envision, on
tial for the militarization of the environment. the basis of that orientation, a time when the
While many environmentalists have pushed EPA is involved in making foreign policy too.
the concept of environmental security on the As Nitze himself declares, “These [environ-
basis that it will lead to a diversion of defense mental] problems point to the need for EPA
funding and technology and give greater pri- to play a large role in implementing the U.S.
ority to environmental policy, there is a like- Government foreign policy agenda.”4 0

Sound Environment versus Peace: true that civilian agencies such as the EPA are
A Tradeoff? involved in the execution of environmental
The second danger of this redefinition of security policy. However, granting the agency
security is that it cannot achieve what it sets out the status of executor of national security
to do. Despite the assumptions of its propo- policy is one step toward militarization of its
nents, can environmental security efforts actu- activities, particularly as it works closely with
ally achieve security? The problem here is in DoD, and sets a dangerous precedent. The
finding a reasonable definition of “security” involvement of DoD in civilian affairs, on the
itself. Unfortunately, that is not an easy task. A other hand, does not bode well for openness
huge academic debate on the subject has raged and civil liberties.
for several decades and remains unresolved; one
author has even described security as an essen- Effects on Society
tially contested concept.41 However, if we for the The effects of military interference in the
moment equate security with peace—and even domestic sphere were amply demonstrated
the most ardent champions of redefining secu- on May 20, 1997, when an 18-year-old boy
rity recognize peace as a crucial component of from Redmond, Texas, was shot dead by four
the concept4 2—then proponents of efforts to Marines conducting an anti-drug surveil-
achieve environmental security should ponder lance mission on the U.S.-Mexican border.4 3 The propensity
whether such efforts might perversely threaten Military officials were also involved in the for conflict is
security (peace) itself. There are two ways in fatal siege at Waco in 1993, and increasing enhanced by
which that perverse result could come about. militarization of law enforcement is evident
First, concentration on issues such as the envi- throughout the United States.44 Unfortu- efforts to cajole
ronment could distract the military from more nately, the lessons of those events have not other countries to
orthodox security activities, with detrimental been widely understood. On October 7, 1999,
effects on the maintenance of peace. Second, DoD announced the formation of a task
abide by environ-
and more probable, the execution of environ- force, under the new U.S. Joint Forces mental standards
mental security policy could lead to tensions Command, dedicated to assisting civilian and by U.S. inter-
and even conflict with other countries. officials with counterterrorism efforts. DoD
The latter scenario is not hard to imagine. also assigned the task of tackling so-called vention in their
While intelligence analysts busy themselves cyberterrorism in America to the U.S. Space domestic affairs.
predicting the next environmentally induced Command.4 5 Although many DoD environ-
conflict overseas, U.S. military planners are mental programs are currently implemented
preparing for the deployment of troops to overseas, the logical extension of a policy that
intervene in such an event. The propensity posits all environmental degradation as a
for conflict is further enhanced by efforts to threat to national security is that the military
cajole other countries to abide by environ- will become involved in the domestic sphere.
mental standards and by U.S. intervention in Even overseas, DoD’s activities have
their domestic affairs. In both cases, the logi- important implications for civil-military rela-
cal consequence is war, when diplomatic tions and civil liberties. Environmental initia-
means fail or sufficient resentment is felt in tives carried out in Africa under the Security
the country subject to intervention. Assistance Program may be dangerous
because they use the local military as the pri-
mary agent of conservation. Simon Dalby
New Directions: has pointed out the problems of “super park
The Price of Security wardens” in developing countries: a tendency
toward coercive practices, histories of politi-
Not the least of the dangers entailed by cal repression of and violence against those
the expansion of the concept of security is whom the “wardens” claim to protect, and
militarization of environmental policy. It is enforcement of conservation areas such as

game reserves where title to the land is still conflictual approaches of the traditional
disputed by local peoples. There are also security establishment and state institutions,
huge dangers in providing any kind of assis- as Deudney has pointed out.4 7 For example,
tance to Third World militaries, given their the involvement of the intelligence commu-
record of usurping civilian governments. By nity may give rise to problems.
overseeing such programs and funding Third
World militaries, DoD may end up an agent The Intelligence Community and
of repression rather than of environmental Environmental Security
protection, which would lead to further anti- Various U.S. agencies engaged in intelli-
American feeling around the world. gence-related activities, especially the CIA and
the National Reconnaissance Office, have
Effects on the Environment jumped onto the environmental security band-
At the moment, most domestic DoD pro- wagon. Their resources are being turned
grams involve base cleanup activity and the increasingly to environmental ends. The
integration of environmental standards into process started in the early 1990s with the for-
all forms of military activity, including mation of the Environmental Task Force, a
weapons production and usage. The Defense group of scientists and CIA officials who met to
Environmental Restoration Program, one of discuss how classified intelligence data could be
the best-defined environmental security used for environmental research. The process
activities, has the noble goal of providing continued with the declassification by Vice
remediation of past toxic and radioactive President Gore in 1995 of hundreds of thou-
contamination of DoD lands. Nonetheless, it sands of photos taken by spy satellites. At a cer-
has run into political difficulties because of emony marking the event, Gore declared,
the sensitive nature of one of its components, “Today we have turned the swords of Cold
the Base Realignment and Closure program. War–era intelligence gathering into plowshares
It is also susceptible to cleanup overkill, in of information that will help us better under-
some cases choosing high-cost restoration stand and analyze our global environment.”4 8
over cheaper containment. In addition, the Since then, the task force (known as the
Defense Environmental Restoration Program MEDEA group) has engaged in a number of
does not cover most contamination at U.S. projects, including the Global Fiducials
overseas bases, so it fails to include what Program that actively monitors the environ-
could be one of the few positive environmen- ment in certain key spots using spy satellites,
tal security activities overseas.46 Instead, DoD rather than simply relying on past data.4 9 In
By overseeing has focused both on clearing up other coun- addition to those efforts, the director of central
tries’ messes, through its programs in the intelligence set up the DCI Environmental
environmental nuclear waste environment of northwestern Center in 1995 to consolidate intelligence-envi-
initiatives and Russia, for example, and on teaching foreign ronmental cooperation. The center’s three
funding Third militaries to factor environmental standards main activities are long-term assessment of the
into their activities. There is a huge irony, effects of environmental change on political,
World militaries, which seems to escape DoD, in one of the social, and economic dynamics; civil applica-
DoD may end up world’s worst polluters going overseas to tions, which encompass the activities of
administer other countries’ pollution control MEDEA; and the activities of the
an agent of efforts. Environmental Issues Branch, which responds
repression rather Thus, on top of the societal effects, the to policymakers’ inquiries about environmen-
than of environ- militarization of the environment has impli- tal policies and treaty compliance.50
cations for environmental policy, too. For environmentalists and others, the
mental protection. Hypocrisy aside, solving environmental idea of turning swords into plowshares has
problems requires a long-term approach, free obvious attractions. For the intelligence com-
from the secrecy, centralizing tendencies, and munity itself, turning the expensive machin-

ery of intelligence—the so-called national data would compromise the secrecy of infor- The institutional-
technical means—to more peaceful applica- mation about tank movements? As Ronald ized secrecy of the
tions provides a continuing mission and the Deibert, a professor of political science at the
possibility that the public, after decades of University of Toronto, has pointed out, “The intelligence agen-
ambivalence about the agencies’ methods, history of U.S. intelligence as a whole is cies might have a
could become a lot more sympathetic. The marked by incidents of public duplicity and
intelligence community claims that it has for subterfuge to such an extent that manipula-
profoundly nega-
years been collecting data that are unavail- tion of environmental data would not be out tive effect on the
able to the civilian world and that could give of character.”55 whole program of
a remarkably detailed picture of environmen- Current efforts may please some environ-
tal change over the past three or four mentalists, but they run the risk of seeing envi- environmental
decades, especially in the days before civilian ronmental monitoring by satellite co-opted by intelligence.
satellites started operating. The intelligence the intelligence community. That could hap-
community’s environmental monitoring role pen as commercial satellites are increasingly
could be of added use in checking other used by military agencies, and civilian satellite
countries’ compliance with international systems are consolidated with military ones. If
treaties, such as the London Convention on such co-option occurs, agencies such as the
Dumping or the Kyoto Protocol, the argu- National Reconnaissance Office may become
ment runs. Such monitoring could also pro- “a ‘clearing house’ for environmental data
vide early warning of natural or man-made with all of the attendant problems of [a]
disasters and help to prevent deliberate envi- deeply ingrained secrecy culture.”56
ronmental modification in wartime.5 1
Nonetheless, there are obvious objections
to the use of intelligence technologies to fur- Security or Insecurity?
ther environmental policies. First, intelli- How Pursuing Environment-
gence gathering and environmental monitor-
ing require different approaches. As Angelo
al Goals Endangers Peace
Codevilla, a professor of international rela- and Promotes Unwarranted
tions at Boston University, has argued: “The Intervention
purpose of intelligence is to ferret out secrets
from people who want to keep those secrets. The potential for militarization of the
To turn intelligence into environmental environment is only the first objection to
reports is not to understand environmental linking environmental degradation with
problems or intelligence.”52 Second, the insti- national security. The second objection, as
tutionalized secrecy of the intelligence agen- already noted, is that the linkage could actu-
cies might have a profoundly negative effect ally lead to a decrease in security because
on the whole program of environmental some activities might cause resentment over-
intelligence. Data could be manipulated, seas or even lead to war. In addition, pursuit
especially where they interfered with other of environmental goals overseas without
national security interests.53 John Deutch regard to their cost and potential returns is
claimed in 1996 that “national reconnais- imprudent at best and encourages extortion
sance systems that track the movement of on the part of foreign governments with
tanks through the desert can, at the same domestic environmental problems.
time, track the movement of the desert itself,
see the sand closing in on formerly produc- The Distraction Scenario
tive fields or hillsides laid bare by deforesta- If environmental security activities dis-
tion and erosion.”54 tract from the primary purpose of the mili-
How likely is it that accurate data would tary—defense—to the extent that the ability
be available to environmentalists if those to accomplish the latter mission is compro-

The implicit mised, then they become cause for serious internal affairs, EPA now carries out a variety
assumption is concern. To be fair, such a situation is not yet of programs overseas.6 0 This is the inevitable
in sight. Funding for environmental security consequence of a security policy that empha-
that any country’s programs at DoD, for example, is $3.9 billion sizes tackling global ills. The National Security
problems are for fiscal 2000, or 1.5 percent of the total Strategy of 1998 epitomized the approach
defense budget.57 The intelligence communi- when it declared that “the dividing line
America’s prob- ty’s expenditures on environmental activities between domestic and foreign policy is
lems. That was are more difficult to calculate because of the increasingly blurred.”6 1 The implicit assump-
made clear in secret nature of its budgets. Nonetheless, tion underlying such a statement is that any
even if environmental activities did become a country’s problems are America’s problems.
Gore’s statement higher priority, it should still be possible to That was made clear in Gore’s statement in
in which he treat- convert the resources used for environmental which he treated the global environment as a
ed the global envi- monitoring into resources for other, more national security issue. Exactly where
traditional intelligence activities. However, America’s responsibilities stop and other
ronment as a spending is not the only issue: the amount of countries’ begin is a question left unanswered,
national security time spent on planning for environmental as William Nitze at the EPA has demonstrat-
scenarios is just as important, albeit hard to ed. In outlining his view of the tasks ahead, he
issue. measure. Although defense environmental declared that “the potential radioactive pollu-
intelligence and environmental study in mil- tion of the Arctic . . . , climate change and
itary planning constitute one of the existing ozone depletion are just the first three on
tasks of the Pentagon and the intelligence what may become a long list of environmental
community, it is hard to say how much that threats to the U.S. that need to be addressed
task has grown. John Deutch declared in internationally.”62 By the end of 1999 the
1996 that “much of the work that now falls National Security Strategy had added to that list,
under the environmental label used to be declaring that environmental threats to U.S.
done under other names—geography, security also resulted from the introduction of
resources issues, or research.”58 However, the nuisance plant and animal species; the over-
intelligence community also runs the risk of harvesting of fish, forests, and other living nat-
duplicating the activities of other entities. ural resources; and the transnational move-
The Commission on the Roles and ment of hazardous chemicals and waste.6 3
Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Where this list might end, and how long U.S.
Community recognized this problem in its taxpayers will be prepared to foot the bill, is
1996 report when it warned that “the use of anyone’s guess.
technical capabilities to collect information As America seeks to solve all the world’s
on environmental problems is legitimate but environmental problems, it should realize
should not duplicate what civil authorities that some paths could lead to conflict. There
are able to obtain. The priority given such are two ways in which this could happen, as
collection should be weighed against other we have already seen. The first is for the
requirements.”5 9 United States to prepare to get involved in
other countries’ disputes that are environ-
The Conflict Scenario: Pushing the mentally induced or include environmental
Boundaries of Domestic Policy factors. The second is efforts to cajole coun-
The more likely consequence of environ- tries into abiding by certain standards, or
mental security policies, however, is an actual intervention in the domestic affairs of
increased propensity for conflict. One of the other countries to sort out an environmental
key elements of this trend has been the projec- issue; such behavior could lead to resentment
tion of domestic issues into the international against the United States. Intervention may
arena. The case of the EPA illustrates the prob- be welcomed initially by the country in ques-
lem. Once an agency that dealt with purely tion, particularly if intervention involves an

influx of U.S. money, but welcome may In the traditional dilemma, country A feels By treating envi-
quickly turn to resentment if projects come threatened by country B and takes measures ronmental prob-
with too many strings attached, hurt eco- such as an arms buildup to make itself feel
nomic growth, or deal with sensitive issues of more secure. However, country B then feels lems around the
national security. That could easily happen, threatened by the arms buildup in country A globe as a nation-
as the case study of the Russian nuclear waste and takes its own countermeasures, which
problem demonstrates. then make country A insecure again, and so
al security issue,
Conceptions of environmental security on ad infinitum. In the new security environ- the United States
are, therefore, just as much about conflict as ment, however, it is in a country’s interests leaves itself open
they are about cooperation and peace, even deliberately to posit itself (or at least its envi-
under the well-being model of environmen- ronmental problems) as a threat to the United to subtle (and not
tal security. The implication of these policies States, because by doing so it will receive fund- so subtle) forms
is that the goal of a sound environment is ing and assistance. This can happen because of blackmail and
superior to that of maintaining peace. “security,” the nature of security “threats,” and
Indeed, that is the logic of most conceptions the methods of tackling such “threats” have extortion.
of environmental security, even when it is not all been redefined and greatly expanded.
always stated explicitly, or even realized, by Deliberate environmental modification
those obsessed with solving the world’s envi- has often been used in wartime (the use of
ronmental problems. For the moment, some defoliant agents in Vietnam is a classic exam-
U.S. agencies are acting as if all environmen- ple). However, expansion of the definition of
tal harm, anywhere in the world, requires “security” to include anything that might
strong American action and are forgetting decrease the well-being of Americans makes it
the risks and moral issues involved. Yet peace easy for another country to use the specter of
is one of the most vital of national interests, modification, deliberate or otherwise, as a
and to override it in pursuit of other goals peacetime bargaining chip to secure assis-
requires some compelling justification. It is tance. Foreign aid then will be portrayed to
ironic that pursuing a well-being approach to Congress and the American public as a matter
environmental security could lead the United of national security, not a humanitarian or
States to the type of war that the planners for developmental issue. Access to the American
the conflict model wish to prevent. It is also treasury then becomes far more likely.
highly ironic that war, which is probably the
greatest cause of environmental destruction,
could be the outcome of policies aimed at Setting a Threshold
safeguarding the global environment.
If the United States pursues a policy that
The Extortion Scenario: Environment as takes it down a path toward possible conflict,
a Bargaining Chip it must at least justify doing so. This princi-
By treating environmental problems ple should also apply when large amounts of
around the globe as a national security issue, money are being spent. Yet, in the case of
the United States also leaves itself open to sub- environmental security, no attempt has been
tle (and not so subtle) forms of blackmail and made to determine at what point an overseas
extortion. Any country with environmental environmental problem becomes a threat to
problems can declare—either directly or by cit- U.S. national security. A sensible security pol-
ing (or exaggerating) the potential for internal icy should first set a measurable threshold
or regional strife as a result of the problem— beyond which something constitutes a threat
that it needs urgent assistance from the and warrants intervention. That is difficult
United States because the problem constitutes to do with all issues, but especially so with
a threat to U.S. national security. That creates the environment.
a perversion of the so-called security dilemma. Consider three examples. In the first,

A sensible securi- country A is downstream of country B and intervene. For the moment, the type of inter-
ty policy should relies heavily on water from the river that vention is unimportant. The question of
flows through both countries. Country B’s whether to intervene is a judgment call: the
first set a measur- state-owned nuclear power stations and mil- risk and potential cost of the waste and the
able threshold itary complexes are discharging large risk and potential cost of intervention must
amounts of high-level liquid waste into the be compared. The examples also assume that
beyond which river and thereby causing a large number of country A has the resources to intervene, and
something consti- deaths and serious health problems in coun- that there are no threats to its security from
tutes a threat and try A. If country B refuses to stop polluting other quarters that deserve more attention.
the river, one might reasonably argue that Country A is thus faced with a difficult
warrants inter- country A is justified in using military force choice and must use some form of objective
vention. That is against B to prevent further extensive loss of calculation to evaluate its options.
difficult to do life. The environmental threat to A’s security In the United States no such objective cal-
is direct, and its causes are easily identifiable culation has been made or even attempted.
with all issues, and preventable. Projects are being embarked upon without
but especially so In the second example, country B is pro- any kind of cost/benefit analysis or assess-
ducing large amounts of dangerous radioac- ment of risk. Incidentally, in example three,
with the environ- tive waste and storing it in low-quality under- country A is the United States and country B
ment. ground tanks close to the river. Country A is is the Russian Federation. The Russian
worried about the integrity of the tanks, radioactive waste problem is an example par
since any leakage in B will result in huge excellence of a lack of calculation, in which
casualties in A, but B refuses to upgrade the all three elements of distraction, resentment,
tanks. Does the situation present a threat to and extortion come into play.
the security of country A, and is financial or
even military intervention justified?
In the final example, country A does not Radioactive Waste in Russia:
border country B; the two are separated by an Costs, Benefits, and Risks
ocean. Country B has dumped some radioac-
tive waste into the ocean and also has huge
of Intervention
volumes of radioactive waste awaiting dis- In the early 1990s a flurry of revelations
posal, as well as vast areas used to store waste and allegations led to pressure on the newly
adjacent to important rivers that flow into formed government of the Russian
the ocean. This time, it is country B’s citizens Federation to come clean about the ecologi-
who are affected by their own nation’s waste cal damage its predecessor had caused both
disposal problem. However, country A is con- by its military activities and by its military-
cerned that it too might be affected by the industrial complex’s support of those activi-
dumped waste, or if the huge storage tanks ties. Much of that damage was thought to
were to leak. There is no scientific evidence have occurred in the Arctic seas, where naval
that the existing dumped material will harm activity was particularly intense. The com-
country A, and it is uncertain whether the mission set up by President Boris Yeltsin to
stored waste will leak, or what will happen if investigate those allegations brought out its
it does. Does the situation constitute a threat unexpectedly candid report in 1993. Known
to country A’s security? as the Yablokov report, after the commis-
The last two examples demonstrate the sion’s chairman, Alexei Yablokov, it detailed a
problems in defining a threshold of threat, vast number of incidents of radioactive and
beyond which conflict, or at least some form other forms of contamination of the Arctic
of intervention, is deemed necessary. and other seas around the Russian
Nonetheless, on each occasion country A Federation.6 4Since then, the ecological disas-
must make a decision about whether to ters that took place—and in some cases con-

tinue to do so—have been well documented.6 5 marines often sit for several years in The problem of
dock waiting for defueling.7 0Even after radioactive con-
Radioactive Contamination fuel removal, some submarines are
The problem of radioactive contamina- kept afloat for 15–20 years before their tamination in
tion in northwestern Russia has been the reactors are disposed of. Naval person- northwestern
focus of many international and U.S. efforts. nel have to deal with the ever-present
The contamination stems from various inci- threat of these submarines sinking in
Russia has been
dents and practices, including the following: harbor,7 1 as well as problems of securi- the focus of many
ty.7 2 Spent fuel rods are often stored international and
• Accidents at Sea: Of various documented onshore or on barges and other vessels.
incidents, perhaps the best known was Storage facilities are full and reprocess- U.S. efforts.
the sinking of the Komsomolents, a ing facilities minimal and aging. The
Mike-class Soviet submarine with dangers of decommissioning old or
nuclear-tipped torpedoes and a nuclear damaged reactors are high, and the age
pressurized water reactor, in the of many of the reactors has turned
Norwegian Sea in 1989.66 them into potential “floating
• Dumping of Nuclear Waste: According to Chernobyls.”73 By the end of this
the Yablokov commission, since 1965 decade, nearly 180 submarine reactors
the USSR had dumped radioactive will be awaiting disposal.74
waste equivalent to 2.5 million curies
into ocean waters.6 7 One of the major Key U.S. Initiatives
dumpsites was the sea around Novaya To counter these problems, the United
Zemlya, two islands off the coast of States has initiated various projects, including a
northern Russia, but dumping had joint U.S.-Norwegian-Russian upgrade to the
also occurred in the Barents Sea. Most Murmansk waste reprocessing facility, a
of the solid waste, including reactor scheme run by DoE to improve storage and
parts and equipment, was in contain- security technologies, and the dismantling of
ers, ships, and barges, but the dumped several Russian ballistic missile submarines by
material also includes 13 nuclear sub- DoD under the Cooperative Threat Reduction
marines and their reactors (7 of which program (often referred to as the Nunn-Lugar
still contain their highly radioactive program, after its initial sponsors, Sens. Sam
spent fuel rods)68 and three reactors Nunn and Richard Lugar). DoD also partici-
from the icebreaker Lenin, which were pates in the Arctic Military Environmental
dumped in the Kara Sea to the east of Cooperation forum. The Environmental
Novaya Zemlya. Between 1959 and Working Group of the Binational Commis-
1991 liquid waste totaling 23,771 sion, where Vice President Gore conducts regu-
curies was also dumped into the lar meetings with the Russian prime minister to
Barents, Kara, and White Seas.6 9 discuss technological issues, has dealt frequent-
• Decommissioning of Vessels of the Northern ly with Arctic environmental problems. One
Fleet: Even before the end of the Cold project resulting from those meetings has been
War, the Soviet Union had started a CD-ROM atlas of the Arctic Ocean, which
decommissioning older nuclear sub- uses both Russian and U.S. data to paint a pic-
marines, a process that was accelerated ture of Arctic environmental change since 1948.
by the easing of political tensions after The CIA and the National Oceanic and
1991 and the provisions of the START Atmospheric Administration are the main U.S.
I treaty. However, contrary to the participants.7 5
American practice of removing reactor Some of the projects listed here are
fuel from decommissioned sub- couched in two forms of rhetoric, which can
marines within one year, Russian sub- lead to confusion. The nuclear waste storage

CTR funding may project, run primarily by DoE, and the CTR the Russian government using its own envi-
even be helping to decommissioning program are considered ronmental mess as a bargaining chip to bring
both strategic military projects and efforts to in additional American funding. Scandals
finance modern- provide environmental security. Whichever about the use of American money keep sur-
ization of Russia’s justification is chosen, its history has not facing: most recently, a report by the inspec-
been smooth. Especially when environmental tor general of DoE revealed that funds given
strategic weapons security is invoked, there are various difficul- to assist Russian institutes may have been
by paying for the ties. taxed by the Russian government, and
disposal of old Efficiency is one of them. The problems of almost $1 million was allocated to projects
the CTR program, for example, are well doc- “for which little actual reduction of risk to
equipment. umented.7 6 After a very slow start, caused by weapons-usable nuclear material was
the realization that none of the necessary achieved.”8 2
infrastructure was in place, a total of 12
nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines Russian National Pride
of a planned 31 were dismantled between Bringing in money is one thing, but what
1991 and the end of 1999 at a cost of $75 mil- about U.S. control of projects and the pres-
lion.7 7 In addition, CTR focuses only on ence of U.S. officials on Russian soil? For the
Russia’s START I obligations; other sub- moment, as one senior DoE official has
marines still awaiting decommissioning, noted, the Russians are willing to go along
which are often older and pose a greater envi- with anything as long as the Americans are
ronmental risk, are not covered by the bringing in money. How long that will
scheme. Considering that the cost of decom- remain the case remains to be seen. The
missioning just one submarine may be as potential for resentment lies in the back-
high as $4 million, and that the total cost of ground. For many Russians, particularly mil-
scrapping all submarines currently out of ser- itary officials accustomed to thinking of
vice has been estimated at nearly $1 billion, it America as the enemy, it may be galling to see
is clear that Russia has a problem.7 8 Total long-time adversaries on their territory. This
CTR funding in Russia—for all projects, not is compounded by the sensitive nature of
just submarine disposal—stood at $1.7 bil- many U.S. activities in Russia. For example,
lion for fiscal 1999.7 9The British Foreign and Murmansk was until recently a closed city,
Commonwealth Office estimates, however, inaccessible to foreign visitors and to most of
that the cost of keeping the decommissioned the Soviet populace. The legacy of such secre-
submarines afloat is as high as $100 million cy has been environmental mismanagement
per year.8 0 of unforeseen proportions. The Russians are
therefore naturally sensitive about foreign
Shifting Responsibilities attention in the area—so sensitive, in fact, as
However, by funding many of the nuclear to charge Aleksandr Nikitin, a former naval
cleanup projects, the United States may be officer, with espionage over his revelations of
freeing Russian funds for other activities. Russian dumping of nuclear waste at sea.8 3
When Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Russian embarrassment about decades of
requested an additional $1 billion from the environmental mismanagement combines
Duma to continue his prosecution of the war with a desire for secrecy about current mili-
in Chechnya, he could do so in the knowl- tary activities to create a serious obstacle to
edge that other pressing domestic problems American activities in the region. The United
were being taken care of by the U.S. govern- States has recognized this resentment, and
ment. In addition, CTR funding may even be some activities have had to be hidden behind
helping to finance modernization of Russia’s a veil of international cooperative efforts
strategic weapons by paying for the disposal such as the Arctic Military Environmental
of old equipment.8 1 It is not hard to envision Cooperation agreement. There is also a sus-

picion among some Russians that U.S. out in assessing the need for environmental Despite being a
motives go beyond the environmental. security programs. U.S. efforts in the Arctic test case for envi-
Various sensitive areas such as the deteriorat- may be “heavily conditioned by the bilateral
ing nuclear storage facilities at Andreyeva relationship with Russia,” but they will play a ronmental securi-
Bay, between Murmansk and the Norwegian significant role in conditioning that relation- ty, it is unclear
border, remain closed to American and inter- ship, too, and most probably in a negative
national officials to prevent espionage. way.8 8This must be weighed against the tout-
how environmen-
Andreyeva Bay lies only one mile away, across ed benefit—negation of an environmental tal problems in
a fjord, from Russia’s Nerpichya naval base, threat to the United States. the Arctic affect
which is home to six Typhoon-class sub-
marines, each carrying 200 strategic nuclear National Interests America’s nation-
warheads.8 4 Norway has already discovered Is there really a threat? Russian suspicions al interests.
the problems of attempting to deal with the are certainly awakened by the realization that
Andreyeva Bay site, which is one of the worst U.S. actions do not seem to fit with U.S.
areas of environmental negligence. Oslo is rhetoric. Despite being a test case for envi-
currently providing funds for projects that it ronmental security, it is unclear how envi-
is not allowed to supervise; the Russian gov- ronmental problems in the Arctic affect
ernment will provide only photographs once America’s national interests. Applying the
the work is completed.8 5 various linkages between environmental
In another incident, the U.S. ambassador degradation and security described earlier
to Russia canceled his visit to Krasnoyarsk-26 does not shed any light on the matter.
in Siberia for the opening ceremony of an Northwestern Russia is not a potential mar-
American-funded business center when his ket for American goods, nor does it hold
top science adviser, Thomas Maertens, was resources likely to be accessible to American
refused permission to accompany him to the companies in the near future, particularly
closed nuclear city.8 6 According to Michael given the Russian military presence there.
Gordon of the New York Times, access to The potential for regional instability is low,
Russian nuclear sites is a problem because of since the area is sparsely populated, and even
“frustration felt by the Russians over restric- if civil unrest were to occur, it would likely be
tions placed on their visits to the U.S. DoE’s fairly contained. U.S. military intervention in
headquarters and laboratories, the sheer the area would thus be foolhardy and highly
number of American visitors to the Russian improbable. The attempt to build democra-
weapons complex and a residual distrust cy, trust, and understanding has been wholly
within Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy unsuccessful, as all the evidence suggests.
about U.S. intentions.”8 7 Pushing the Beyond the strategic value of removing
Russians on their own soil, without offering nuclear weapons, the only possible environ-
much disclosure on one’s own, is bound to mental rationale for the American presence is
wound pride and cause resentment. William that radionuclide contamination may spread
Perry’s goal of building “democracy, trust across the Arctic Ocean to enter the food
and understanding” is, not unexpectedly, not chains in Alaska and affect human and
being attained in Russia. marine health in the United States. However,
How far is the U.S. government prepared the government’s own studies have demon-
to push its objectives if it starts to meet seri- strated that that is not a realistic prospect.
ous resistance? What is the likelihood that One of the earliest studies, under the
pursuing current goals will actually inflame Arctic Nuclear Waste Assessment Program,
resentment to the point where U.S.-Russian carried out by the Office of Naval Research at
relations deteriorate dramatically? Those are DoD, focused on the effects of Arctic conta-
unanswered questions, but they are part of mination on the state of Alaska. The study,
the risk calculation that should be carried sponsored by Alaska’s senators and funded

U.S. efforts in by Congress for approximately $30 million Radioactive Lakes
Russia are proba- from 1993 to 1995, tentatively concluded The expansion of the Soviet military-
that there was no imminent danger to the industrial complex and the need for secrecy
bly simply mis- western Arctic or Alaska.89 The now defunct during the Cold War led to the creation of
guided because of Office of Technology Assessment found in several secret cities that would hold the main
1995 that “preliminary assessments do not nuclear weapons production facilities of the
a poor conception suggest a major, long-term impact on human Soviet Union and be hubs for weapons and
of what environ- health for the broad Arctic region from space research. Those cities are closed, desig-
mental security radioactive discharges that have already nated with numbers to distinguish them
occurred.”90 Similarly, a three-year study by from the nearby towns from which they took
means and a lack the International Atomic Energy Agency’s their names. Billions of gallons of high-level
of attention to its International Arctic Seas Assessment radioactive waste from cities such as
Program said that “the future risks [from Chelyabinsk-40 (site of the Mayak plant),
dumped wastes] to population groups most Tomsk-7, and Krasnoyarsk-26 have built up
likely to be exposed are also small” and that in leaking tanks, nearby lakes, and under-
“no justification was found on radiological ground storage caverns. Waste from
grounds for instituting a program of remedi- Chelyabinsk-65 was dumped into reservoirs
al action in relation to the wastes.”91 and nearby Lake Karachay. At Tomsk-7 and
This is not to say that the submarines still Krasnoyarsk-26, high-level waste was
awaiting decommissioning, and the current pumped into underground caverns close to
nuclear storage crisis in northern Russia, do major rivers, inviting disaster.9 3 Credible
not constitute a huge environmental hazard. sources estimate that billions of curies of
However, the studies do show that the effects radioactive waste are held at these sites.9 4 To
of nuclear wastes already dumped have been put this in perspective, the Chernobyl reactor
relatively small and localized, and the prob- disaster released about 5.8 million curies. U.S.
lem is more one for Russia and its neighbor, facilities at Oak Ridge, Hanford, and
Norway, than for the United States.9 2 As a Savannah River discharged about 2.6 million
result, it is difficult to see how the current sit- curies during the Cold War, according to
uation in the Arctic threatens the United Donald Bradley at the Pacific Northwest
States, so it may be hard for Russians to National Laboratory.9 5 The worst-case sce-
understand why the United States is involved nario is that the waste will start to leak out
in such sensitive activities. and flow down the massive Ob and Yenisey
The cynics in Russia are not necessarily cor- Rivers into the Kara Sea and out into the
rect about U.S. motives. Most likely, U.S. Arctic Ocean where it might have devastating
efforts in Russia are simply misguided because effects. There is already some evidence of
of a poor conception of what environmental leakage, and some downstream areas of the
security means and a lack of attention to its Yenisey show signs of heavy contamination.
consequences. But such cynicism is dangerous Accidents are a constant threat.
when it brings resentment and antagonism. While some foreign money, including
That cynicism is likely to be compounded by CTR funding, has gone into improving the
the focus of American attentions and the fact Mayak facility, little or no attention has been
that the northwestern nuclear problem is a paid to the other sites. 96 In Krasnoyarsk, U.S.
distraction from what may turn out to be a involvement has focused instead on provid-
huge, and genuine, environmental threat to ing alternative employment for nuclear scien-
the United States. Although most assistance is tists under the Nuclear Cities Initiative. The
going to the nuclear waste problem in north- program was severely criticized by a 1999
ern and northwestern Russia, it is in central General Accounting Office report, which
Siberia that the greatest nuclear threat to the claimed, among other things, that the pro-
environment is to be found. gram was producing military benefits for

Russia and might be supporting research on many projects are carried out without consid- Pursuing the
weapons of mass destruction.9 7 ering how—or even whether—they benefit U.S. abstract goal of
If leakage into the Arctic does happen on security. As environmental projects, they are
a large scale, as some experts fear, the effects beneficial to Russia. However, as enhance- “environmental
on the human environment in the United ments to U.S. national security, their value is security” risks
States will certainly be felt. The extent of the decidedly less. At the same time, potentially
risk would need to be determined by serious serious threats to the environment of the
militarizing envi-
investigation and analysis, something that United States are left unevaluated. The latter ronmental issues
has not yet been done, despite the flurry of threats may or may not cross a reasonable and trampling on
American activity elsewhere in Russia. For threshold. But, until they are assessed against
now, the head of Russia’s nuclear inspec- such a threshold, the question remains open. civil liberties.
torate has warned that the radioactive waste Hard science is needed for hard decisions, and
buildup threatens “nuclear catastrophe on a the security of the United States requires both.
global scale.”9 8 Henry Kendall, a Nobel laure-
ate in physics at MIT, describes it as “the
largest and most careless nuclear practice Conclusion:
that the human race has ever suffered.”9 9 At Whither Security?
the moment, however, it seems that the focus
is on pet projects, with little regard for how Linking environmental degradation with
they might affect U.S. security, while more national security sets a dangerous precedent
genuine potential threats to the United in national security policy. In practice, the
States have been ignored. In a further exam- linkage has not gained considerable ground,
ple, Alexei Yablokov has pointed out that if one compares the funding and attention it
Russian plans to build a series of floating receives with that still dedicated to advancing
nuclear power plants stationed on towable traditional military security goals. However,
barges have been wholly ignored by U.S. pol- it is precisely because the concept of environ-
icymakers, despite the fact that the first ment security has grown even as it has
plant, due to be installed at Pevek in eastern remained in the background, and therefore
Siberia, will be almost as close to the United less subject to public scrutiny, that it is so
States as will be the planned Cuban Juragua worrying. Rhetoric may extend beyond prac-
nuclear plant, construction of which the tical reality for the moment, but that situa-
United States is strongly contesting on the tion need not last. Pursuing the abstract goal
basis that the reactor type is unsafe and is a of “environmental security” risks militariz-
hazard to Florida and other eastern states.100 ing environmental issues and trampling on
civil liberties. It also pushes the United States
The Consequences of U.S. Environmental into more and more scenarios of overseas
Involvement in Russia intervention and conflict, frequently of its
Taken together, the lack of clarity about own making.
how the Russian environment affects U.S. Given that the concept is unlikelly to dis-
interests and the misdirected efforts to ame- appear in the near future, what can be done
liorate environmental conditions in Russia at least to contain its worst excesses? Three
cannot but encourage suspicions among initial actions should be undertaken:
Russian military and political elites about U.S.
motives. If those suspicions generate serious • Define Environmental Security: More
resentment in the Russian populace, attention should be paid to what
Washington’s goal of cooperation may degen- elected officials and bureaucrats
erate into tension and allegations of espi- mean when they talk about environ-
onage. But the worst problem seems to be that mental “threats” to national security.
no threshold has been set. At the moment, What kind of environmental issues

Addressing envi- are so serious as to affect national pollution. The recent, often indis-
ronmental issues security? Who decides which prob- criminate, use of depleted uranium
lems constitute such threats? Most armaments by U.S. aircraft in the war
is one thing; treat- important, how do they actually over Kosovo contrasts starkly with
ing them as a threaten security and what tradeoffs DoD’s efforts to deal with nuclear
do counteractions entail? Without waste in Russia, demonstrating that
threat to national clear and consistent answers to those DoD’s environmental security mis-
security is quite questions, the term “security” itself sion is fraught with contradictions.1 0 1
another. becomes virtually meaningless. Reassessing the role of all pertinent
• Set Thresholds: The current administra- agencies in formulating and carrying
tion exhibits a tendency to make com- out policies to counter environmental
mitments that it can’t, or shouldn’t, “threats,” once properly defined, is
keep. The execution of sensible therefore a good step toward avoiding
national security policies requires a some of the pitfalls awaiting environ-
level-headed look at what goals are mental security policies. Although
worth pursuing, as well as which ones there may still be a role for the mili-
are possible and cost-effective. tary in environmental protection, it
Thresholds need to be set to help should be far more limited than it is
determine at what point an environ- currently. Environmental policy
mental problem rightfully constitutes belongs in the civilian sphere unless
a threat. What degree of risk are we there are clear, traditional national
prepared to endure before taking security implications.
action? How do the benefits compare
with the costs, either of intervening or The broad redefinition of security that is
of standing by? What should rightly taking shape sets too many dangerous prece-
be left to other countries to deal with? dents, as the study of environmental security
Those are the operational questions shows. International order will be severely
that need to be asked. destabilized if the United States becomes fix-
• Reassess the Role of Federal Agencies: At ated on solving every problem that arises
the moment, a whole host of federal around the globe. The expansion of the con-
entities, ranging from DoD, DoE, and cept of security also faces a double bind. If it
the CIA to EPA, the National Oceanic results in militarization of policy previously
and Atmospheric Administration, restricted to the civilian sphere, as is happen-
and the Department of State, is ing in areas such as the environment and
involved in environmental security drug-trafficking control, the cost to society
activities. They are all involved in set- will be very high. If it instead leads to every-
ting or executing both national secu- thing in the civilian sphere’s being called an
rity and environmental policy—as well issue of national security, then the govern-
as foreign policy in some cases. A cer- ment will be able to bypass existing checks on
tain amount of overlap is inevitable its power by invoking “national security.” At
even in traditional security policy, but that point, anything is possible and abuses
it is disturbing to see so many agen- are probable.
cies involved, all with competing It is important to proceed with greater
agendas and conflicting goals. This is caution and broader debate instead of blun-
especially so where civilian and mili- dering ahead regardless of the consequences.
tary activities coincide. There is also Addressing environmental issues is one
something bizarre about DoD, one of thing; treating them as a threat to national
the world’s worst polluters, being security is quite another. By failing to differ-
involved in overseas efforts to reduce entiate reasonably between the two concepts,

we may well find ourselves with more wars, Nations Special Session on Environment and
Development, New York, June 26, 1997, cited in
more wasted money, and less security for all. “Official Statements and Documents,”
Environmental Change and Security Report, no. 4
(Spring 1998): 73. Emphasis added.
Notes 14. Goodman, “The Environment and National
1. Stephen Walt, “The Renaissance of Security
Studies,” International Studies Quarterly 35, no. 2 15. Quoted in Abraham Haspel, Department of
(June 1991): 212. Energy Perspective on Environment and Security,
Center for Environmental Security, February 28,
2. Stephen Del Rosso, “The Insecure State: Reflec-
tions on ‘the State’ and ‘Security’ in a Changing
World,” Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and 16. Alan Hecht, “The Arctic and Environmental
Sciences 124, no. 2 (Spring 1995): 190. Security,” Speech to the World Affairs Councils,
Juneau and Anchorage, Alaska, April 24–25, 1997,
3. Al Gore, “SEI: A Strategic Environment Initia-
tive,” SAIS Review 10 (Winter–Spring 1990): 60.
17. Warren Christopher “American Diplomacy and
4. Sherri Wasserman Goodman, deputy under secre-
the Global Environmental Challenges of the 21st
tary of defense for environmental security, “The
Century,” Address at Stanford University, April 9,
Environment and National Security,” Speech to the
National Defense University, August 8, 1996,
Programs/Speeches/speech-22.html. 18. Madeleine Albright, Remarks at the National
Museum of Natural History, Washington, D.C.,
5. Quoted in Kent Hughes Butts, “Why the Mili-
April 21, 1998, quoted in “Official Statements
tary Is Good for the Environment,” in Green Security
and Documents,” Environmental Change and
or Militarized Environment? ed. Jyrki Käkönen
Security Report, no. 5 (Summer 1999): 83.
(Aldershot, UK: Dartmouth Publishing, 1994), p. 87.
19. John M. Deutch, “Worldwide Threat Assess-
6. William J. Clinton, State of the Union Address,
ment,” Brief to the Senate Select Committee on
January 23, 1996,
Intelligence, February 22, 1996,
7. A National Security Strategy for a New Century speech_022296.htm.
(Washington: White House, 1998), p. 1.
20. See Sherri W. Goodman, “Environmental Security
in the Next Millennium,” Statement before the
8. William J. Clinton, State of the Union Address,
Subcommittee on Readiness and Management
February 4, 1997,
Support of the Senate Armed Services Committee,
April 13, 1999,
9. “Memorandum of Understanding among the Public/ES-Programs/ES/Congress/ note66.html.
Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of
Energy and the Department of Defense Concerning 21. See, for example, Günther Baechler et al.,
Cooperation in Environmental Security, July 3, 1996,” Kriegsursache Umweltzerstörung [Environmental Degradation as a Cause of War], 3 vols. in German
Programs/ES/FYI/note7.html. and English (Zurich: Rüegger, 1996); and Jyrki
Käkönen, ed., Perspectives on Environmental Conflict
10. Daniel Deudney, “The Case against Linking and International Politics (London: Pinter, 1992).
Environmental Degradation and National
22. On so-called environmental refugees, see Astri
Security,” Millennium 19, no. 3 (Winter 1990): 464.
Suhrke, “Environmental Degradation and
11. George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” Population Flows,” Journal of International Affairs
in Orwell, A Collection of Essays (New York: 47, no. 2 (Winter 1994): 473–96. On the claimed
Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1953), pp. 156–71. relationship between migration and security, see
Myron Weiner, “Security, Stability and Inter-
12. A National Security Strategy for a New Century national Migration,” International Security 17, no.
(Washington: White House, 1999), p. 3. 3 (Winter 1992–93): 91–126; Gil Loescher,
“Refugee Movements and International Security,”
13. William J. Clinton, Remarks to the United Adelphi Paper 268, 1992; and Ole Waever et al.,

Identity, Migration, and the New Security Agenda in GERPE no. 92–05 (Quebec: Université Laval,
Europe (New York: St. Martin’s, 1993). 1992). Later works include Green Security or
Militarized Environment?
23. Thomas Homer-Dixon, “Thresholds of Turmoil:
Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict,” in 37. Deudney, pp. 466–68.
Contested Grounds: Security and Conflict in the New
Environmental Politics, ed. Daniel H. Deudney and 38. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Richard A. Matthew (Albany: State University of New Environmental Security: Strengthening National
York, 1999), pp. 61–90. Security through Environmental Protection, 160-F-99-
001 (Washington: Environmental Protection
24. William J. Perry, Remarks at Harvard University, Agency, 1999).
May 13, 1996,
Public/ES-Programs/Speeches/speech-22.html. 39. William Nitze, “Environmental Security,”
Speech to the World Affairs Council, no place,
25. Goodman, “The Environment and National January 16, 1997,
Security.” sp8.htm. Emphasis added.

26. Goodman, “Environmental Security in the 40. Ibid.

Next Millennium.”
41. Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear: An Agenda
27. Goodman, “The Environment and National for International Security Studies in the Post–Cold War
Security.” Era, 2d ed. (Hemel Hempsted: Harvester
Wheatsheaf, 1991). For a good discussion of the
28. Kent Hughes Butts, “The Case for DOD In- debate over the concept of security, see David
volvement in Environmental Security,” in Baldwin, “The Concept of Security,” Review of
Contested Grounds, p. 111. International Studies 23, no. 1 (January 1997): 10.

29. Ibid., p. 114. 42. This is especially so since war is one of the
greatest contributors to environmental degrada-
30. Goodman, “The Environment and National tion. For discussion of the environmental effects
Security.” of war, see Arthur H. Westing, ed., Cultural Norms,
War and the Environment (Oxford: Oxford Univer-
31. National Defense University, Institute for sity Press, 1988).
National Strategic Studies, 1997 Strategic Assessment:
Flashpoints and Force Structure (Washington: National 43. See William Branigin, “Questions on Military
Defense University, Institute for National Strategic Role Fighting Drugs Ricochet from a Deadly
Studies, 1997), chap. 18. Shot,” Washington Post, June 22, 1997, p. A3.

32. See, for example, Nils Petter Gleditsch, ed., 44. See Diane Cecilia Weber, “Warrior Cops: The
Conflict and the Environment: Proceedings of the NATO Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American
Advanced Research Workshop, Bolkesjø, Norway, Police Departments,” Cato Institute Briefing
11–16 June 1996 (Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1997); and Paper no. 50, August 26, 1999.
“NATO and the Environment,” NATO Basic Fact
Sheet no. 23, October 1996, 45. See Elizabeth Becker, “Pentagon Sets Up New
docu/facts/env.htm. Center for Waging Cyberwarfare,” New York Times,
October 8, 1999, p. A16.
33. John M. Deutch, “The Environment on the
Intelligence Agenda,” Speech to the World Affairs 46. See Lenny Siegel, “Overseas Contamination:
Council, Los Angeles, California, July 25, 1996, An Open Sore in the Pentagon’s Improving Environmental Record,” Environmental Change
archives/1996/dci_speech_072596.html. and Security Report, no. 2 (Spring 1996): 16.

34. Clinton, State of the Union Address, 1996. 47. Deudney, p. 466.

35. Arnold Wolfers, “National Security as an 48. Quoted in Ronald J. Deibert, “From Deep Black
Ambiguous Symbol,” in Discord and Collaboration: to Green? Demystifying the Military Monitoring
Essays on International Politics (Baltimore: Johns of the Environment,” Environmental Change and
Hopkins University Press, 1962), p. 150. Security Project, no. 2 (Spring 1996): 30.

36. See Deudney; and Barry Buzan, “Environment 49. “Update—Governmental Activities,” Environ-
as a Security Issue,” in Geopolitical Perspectives on mental Change and Security Report, no. 3 (Spring
Environmental Security, ed. Paul Painchaud, Cahier du 1997): 211. Interestingly, Gore had earlier rejected

the notion of diverting military resources to the azannye s zakhoroneniem radioaktivnykh otkhodov v
environment because doing so was unrealistic moriakh, omyvaiushchikh territoriiu Rossiiskoi
and “not an effective or efficient way to conduct Federatsii : materialy doklada Praviatel´stvennoi komis-
policy.” Gore, p. 68. sii po voproszm, sviazannym s zakhoroneniem v more
radioaktivnykhk otkhodov, no. 613-rp, October 24,
50. Directorate of Intelligence Organizational 1992 (Moscow: Administration of the President
Components: DCI Environmental Center, of the Russian Federation, 1993).
65. See Lassi Heininen, “Environment and
51. For a summary of the literature on environ- Military Strategy in Northern Waters,” in
mental modification as a form of war, see Lorraine Perspectives on Environmental Conflict and Inter-
Elliott, The Global Politics of the Environment national Politics, ed. Jyrki Käkönen (London: Pinter
(London: Macmillan, 1998), pp. 232–34. Publishers, 1992); Peter Gizewski, “Military
Activity and Environmental Security: The Case of
52. Quoted in Steven Greenhouse, “The Greening Radioactivity in the Arctic,” in Environmental
of U.S. Diplomacy: Focus on Ecology,” New York Security and Quality after Communism: Eastern
Times, October 9, 1995, p. A6. Europe and the Soviet Successor States, ed. Joan
DeBardeleben and John Hannigan (Boulder,
53. Deibert, “From Deep Black to Green?” p. 31. Colo.: Westview, 1995); and Mike Edwards,
“Lethal Legacy,” National Geographic, August 1994.
54. Deutch, “The Environment on the Intelligence
Agenda.” 66. International Center for Technology Assess-
ment, On the Threat of Nuclear Submarine Operations to
55. Ronald Deibert, “Out of Focus: U.S. Military Global Security and Environmental Safety, Preliminary
Satellites and Environmental Rescue,” in Contested report (Washington: ICTA, 1996), p. 10.
Grounds, p. 281.
67. Cited in Gizewski, “Military Activity and
56. Deibert, “From Deep Black to Green?” p. 31. Environmental Security,” p. 31.

57. The $3.9 billion is for projects on technology 68. Ibid.

(including the Strategic Environmental Research
and Development Program), pollution preven- 69. Bellona Foundation, Sources of Radioactive Contam-
tion, compliance, conservation, cleanup (includ- ination in Murmansk and Arkhangel´sk Counties,
ing Base Realignment and Closure), and force Report no. 1, 1994,
protection. murmark/index.htm, November 21, 1999.

58. Deutch, “The Environment on the Intelligence 70. For a comparison of U.S. and Russian practices
Agenda.” in submarine decommissioning, see Anatoli S.
Diakov et al., Nuclear Powered Submarine Inactivation
59. Preparing for the 21st Century: An Appraisal of and Disposal in the U.S. and Russia: A Comparative
U.S. Intelligence, Report of the Commission on the Analysis (Moscow: Center for Arms Control, Energy
Roles and Capabilities of the United States and Environmental Studies at MIPT, October 8,
Intelligence Community (Washington: Govern- 1998),
ment Printing Office, 1996), p. 26. pro1210.htm.
60. For a summary of EPA’s policies on reducing 71. Ibid.
global and regional environmental risk, see Carol
M. Browner, administrator of the Environmental 72. In some cases, submarine reactors nearly suf-
Protection Agency, Statement before the Senate fered meltdowns when power stations cut off
Committee on Finance, January 28, 1999, electricity to sub bases because of nonpayment of bills. Troops were dispatched to the power sta-
tions to turn the power back on by force. See
61. National Security Strategy for a New Century, David Hoffman, “Russian Troops Get Electricity
1998, p. 2. by Force,” Washington Post, September 23, 1995,
p. A22. In another incident indicative of the state
62. Nitze. of affairs in the Russian navy, a sailor on board an
active (and fortunately nonnuclear) submarine in
63. National Security Strategy for a New Century, harbor shot and killed eight crew members before
1999, p. 13. being gunned down by special forces. See
“Russian Troops Kill Gunman Aboard Comman-
64. Alexei V Yablokov et al., Fakty i problemy, svi- deered Nuclear Sub,” CNN World News, Internet

edition, September 11, 1998. 86. See “Russians Balk at Opening Nuclear Sites
to U.S. Eyes,” New York Times, November 3, 1999,
73. Alexei Yablokov, cited in a letter from Kay van p. A12.
der Horst, International Center for Technology
Assessment, to members of the European 87. Michael R. Gordon, “Russia Curbs U.S. Visit to
Parliament, October 19, 1995. See also “Russia’s Site,” New York Times, November 4, 1999, p. A5.
‘Floating Chernobyls,’” CNN World News, Internet
edition, October 1, 1995. 88. Franklyn Griffiths, “Environment in the U.S.
Security Debate: The Case of the Missing Arctic
74. Bellona Foundation, Sources of Radioactive Con- Waters,” Environmental Change and Security Report,
tamination in Murmansk and Arkhangel´sk Counties. no. 3 (Spring 1997): 21.

75. For more details, see Don Belt, “An Arctic 89. Rachel Fleishman, “Environmental Security:
Breakthrough,” National Geographic, February 1997. Concept and Practice,” National Security Studies
Quarterly 1, no. 2 (Summer 1995): 15.
76. See, for example, Rich Kelly, “The Nunn-
Lugar Act: A Wasteful and Dangerous Illusion,” 90. Office of Technology Assessment, Nuclear Wastes
Cato Institute Foreign Policy Briefing no. 39, in the Arctic: An Analysis of Arctic and Other Regional
March 18, 1996. Impacts from Soviet Nuclear Contamination, OTA-
ENV-623 (Washington: Government Printing
77. Telephone conversation with Lt. Cmdr. Office, September 1995), p. 17.
Anthony Cooper at the Department of Defense,
February 3, 2000. 91. International Atomic Energy Agency, “The
Annual Report for 1996,” GC (41)/8, p. 14.
78. “The Nuclear Environment in North-West
Russia,” Foreign and Commonwealth Office 92. A senior Defense Department official declared
Background Brief, London, December 1998. In in 1996 that “the result of the [three-year study] is,
comparison, the cost of decommissioning a U.S. except for extremely localized areas, you can’t even
nuclear submarine has been put at between $25 tell that the waste has been dumped in the ocean.”
million and $40 million. U.S. General Accounting Defense Department Background Briefing on
Office, “Nuclear Submarines—Navy Efforts to Secretary Perry’s trip to Europe and Defense
Reduce Inactivation Costs,” GAO/NSIAD-92- Ministerial Meeting, September 17, 1996,
134, July 1992, cited in Diakov et al.
79. “United States and Russia Extend Nunn-Lugar
Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement,” News 93. William J. Broad, “Nuclear Roulette for Russia:
release, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Burying Uncontained Waste,” New York Times,
Defense for Public Affairs, June 24, 1999, November 21, 1994, p. A1; and David Hoffman, “Wastes of War: Russia’s Nuclear Weapons
b06241999_bt307-99.html. Legacy,” Washington Post, August 17, 1998, p. A1.

80. “The Nuclear Environment in North-West 94. Office of Technology Assessment, Nuclear
Russia,” p. 8. Wastes in the Arctic, p. 8; and Gizewski, “Military
Activity and Environmental Security,” pp. 31–32.
81. J. Michael Waller, “Loving the Russian Bomb,” Waste totaling 1.1 billion curies was injected
Insight on the News, December 6, 1999. underground at Tomsk alone. Alexander
Yemelyanenkov and Vladimir Popov, “Radio-
82. U.S. Department of Energy, “Audit Report on active Contamination Knows No Bounds,”
Nuclear Material Protection, Control and Moscow News, April 14, 1995, p. 14.
Accounting Program,” DOE/IG-0452, 1999, p. 3.
See also Bradley Graham, “Weaknesses Found in 95. “U.S. Devotes More Resources to Its Waste
Nuclear Safeguards,” Washington Post, September Cleanup,” Washington Post, August 17, 1998.
25, 1999, p. A11.
96. Amazingly, in a bid for cash, the Russian gov-
83. Phil Reeves, “Nuclear Whistle-Blower Goes on ernment is considering plans to reprocess foreign
Trial,” The Independent, October 20, 1998, p. 15. nuclear waste at Mayak despite its existing toxic
problems. Sergei Blagov, “Russians Voice Alarm
84. Rupert Cornwell, “The Most Dangerous Place over Nuclear Waste Dumping,” Inter Press
on the Planet,” The Independent, October 20, 1998, Service, November 21, 1999.
p. 15.
97. Judith Miller, “Bombs-to-Plowshares Program
85. Bellona Foundation, Current Status, February 1999. Criticized,” New York Times, February 22, 1999, p. A8.

98. “Radioactive Lake Threatens Arctic Disaster,” ing power plants, see Richard C. Paddock,
Inter Press Service, July 17, 1998. “Floating Power Plants for Far Places,” Los Angeles
Times, February 17, 1998, p. A1. On the power plant
99. Quoted in William Broad, “Russians Admit in Cuba, see Richard Miniter, “Cuba’s Nuclear
Burying Nuclear Waste,” The Guardian, November Threat,” Journal of Commerce, June 8, 1998, p. 5A.
22, 1994, p. 26.
101. Robert Fisk, “U.S. ‘Lost Count of Uranium
100. Alexei V. Yablokov, Interview with the author, Shells Fired in Kosovo,’” The Independent,
Budapest, Hungary, March 12, 1999. On the float- November 22, 1999.

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