Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

Security Challenges Over the Horizon and Close to Home: Africa and Cook County, IL

March 22, 2013

Winter 2013 Edition: Now Available Online 

This issue contains two themes: U.S. security interests and challenges in Africa; and Cook County, Illinois security issues.

Part I: U.S. Security Interests in Africa

Africa is undergoing a period of both economic and political transition, and the consequences of uprising, insurgency, and terrorism, partially relating to the aftershocks of the Arab Spring.  For example, in North Africa, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco have been on the front lines of rapid turnover and change emanating from the Arab Spring.  In other countries, such as Mali and Somalia, Islamic insurgency has sparked regional and international military responses to stem this security threat.

Africa is generally considered low priority for U.S. national security.  However, recent trends suggest its ascent on the list of strategic priorities.  The central theme of this section is the calculus and consequences of increased U.S. attention on African security issues.  Articles include:

  • AFRICOM: A New National Security Approach for the 21st Century?
  • How the Dragon of Prosperity Uses State Power and Resources in Africa to Displace Western Influence
  • The Arab Spring, Moroccan Exceptionalism, and U.S. Strategic Interests
  • Turmoil in the Middle East: How Has Morocco Fared?
  • Operation Serval in Mali: The Fight Against Terrorism and the Strengthening of States

Part II: Cook County Urban Security

In Spring of 2012, the NSF argued that national security began at the local level, using the City of Chicago’s security strategy as a point of departure for discussing local level security issues facing other large municipalities across the U.S.  This theme is amplified with a closer look at urban security issues facing Cook County, Illinois.  The policies and strategies put in place by Cook County officials are a single component of the national security patchwork.  Without security at the local level, as in Cook County, Illinois, the national security structure is weakened.  Articles include:

  • Chicago’s Gang Problem
  • Cybersecurity and the Private Sector
  • Chicago’s FInancial Cybersecurity
  • Tackling Student Gun Violence in Chicago
  • Cyber Threats to the Power Grid
  • Climate Change and Nuclear Power
  • Risk and the Chicago Infrastructure Trust
  • Solutions for Hurricane Sandy-like Flooding
  • Illinois’ Pension Problem
  • Viewpoints on Gun Laws
  • Addressing Violence in Chicago

The National Strategy Forum Review is available online at http://www.nationalstrategy.com
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The Pentagon’s Energy Plan

June 15, 2011

Energy security has long been the U.S.’s Achilles heel.  The Pentagon released today a new strategy aimed at developing fuel-efficient weapons, embracing non-oil energy sources, and requiring troops to behave in a more energy-responsible manner.  These plans are fleshed out in two news articles below.

Pentagon Presents Its First Energy Plan (Wall Street Journal)

Pentagon to Prioritize Energy Use in Acquisition (Defense News)

In addition, the National Strategy Forum Review has focused on energy security and energy strategy in recent issues.  The articles below amplify the Pentagon’s new approach.  The U.S. economy is already undergoing changes to its energy infrastructure and consumer behavior.  Given that the U.S. military is the single largest consumer of energy in the U.S., if not the world, the Pentagon’s new plan is a welcome step in the right direction.

Energy Performance in the Department of Defense by Oliver Fritz

Energy Security: Protecting Our Environment, Our Economy, and Our Independence by Endy Zemenides

CNA Corporation: National Security and the Threat of Climate Change

December 16, 2010

The environment has evolved from a domestic social issue to a national security issue.  As a consequence, the military is now paying closer attention to the challenges and consequences of  global environmental instability.  Addressing these new challenges requires a revision of traditional military planning and strategy.

In 2007, the CNA Corporation produced an important report titled “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” on the environment and national security.  The report explains how these two subjects are interconnected in the 21st Century, and attempts to link the importance of environmental instability to national security strategy.

Read the full report summary by Peter Gatziolis, CNA Corporation: National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.

Green Coal?

December 3, 2010

As Sam complained in that famous Dr. Suess poem, “I don’t like green eggs and ham,” so too have environmentalists not preferred the terms “green” and “coal” on the same page.  Unfortunately, the reality of the environmental and energy challenges are growing more difficult by the day.  The U.S. and China—both the largest consumers of energy and the largest producers of carbon emissions—are facing unpalatable tradeoffs in their strategic energy portfolios as they plan for increased energy consumption in the future.  The link between the environment and national security is clear.  Environmental instability must be incorporated into a national security strategy. In the case of energy, the difficult tradeoff is providing the massive power necessary to fuel the world’s largest economy while remaining mindful of the damaging effects on the environment.

Are you willing to turn off your refrigerator or computers for the next 30 years while alternative energy technology catches up to power needs?  Would you expect the Chinese to do the same?  Riding the wave of alternative energy is satisfying, but it is bound to end in disappointment—at least for now.  Better to hitch a ride on “dirty” coal to power the economy of tomorrow, so argues James Fallows in his new article featured this month in The Atlantic, “Dirty Coal, Clean Future.” Fallows presents one of the most clear-eyed, realistic approaches to the energy and climate change problem in a long while.  It is time to seriously consider America’s strategic approach and financial investments in the energy economy of tomorrow.  Before betting the farm on alternative energy, a realistic assessment of this problem and the available solutions may save both the environment and a few bucks in the process.

Read the full article by Eric S. Morse: “Green Coal?  The Environmental / Strategic Tradeoff.”

BP Oil

June 25, 2010

With the BP oil disaster still in flux, it is valuable to think through the various policy options  for the future of America’s energy security.  Are we learning the right lessons from the BP oil spill?

BP Oil Disaster: The Right Lessons Learned?
By Eric S. Morse