In the planning of military operations, the U.S. Army is giving new emphasis to the environmental impact of its activities.
“Environmental considerations need to be integrated into the conduct of operations at all levels of command,” according to a recent Army field manual (pdf). “Planners must consider the effect environmental considerations have and how they may constrain or influence various actions and decisions.”
There is nothing sentimental about the military’s focus on environmental matters. Rather, it indicates a new recognition of the role of environmental issues in security and stability, as well as operational effectiveness.
“The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment…. [I]nadequate environmental controls can lead to conflicts with neighbors and can present health concerns to their population and to U.S. military personnel conducting operations.”
“The U.S. national security strategy now includes a focus on environmental and environmental security concerns. Lasting victories and successful end states will be measured in part by how well the military addresses environmental considerations, to include the protection and the conservation of natural and cultural resources; the improvement of citizens’ living conditions in the affected nations; and FHP [Force Health Protection, i.e. the health of the soldiers themselves].”
When properly integrated into mission planning, the new manual said, environmental considerations “serve as force multipliers rather than mission distracters.” See “Environmental Considerations,” U.S. Army Field Manual 3-34.5, February 2010.