Thursday, June 18, 2009

CNAS Links Natural and National Security

Following 2007's CNA report National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, a new CNAS focus area on "Natural Security," makes it clear that acknowledging the connections between natural resources (including but not limited to fossil fuels) is no longer a fringe activity. Here's part of Sharon Burke's take on our limited understanding of the importance of minerals and resource supply chains:
The United States, and this includes for militarily significant systems, does not actually know if we are vulnerable to supply disruptions of some strategically important minerals. Planning for and managing such uncertainty can be a security challenge. Note also that supply chains are physically vulnerable: the entire energy supply and distribution infrastructure – from pipelines to shipping chokepoints to the vast domestic electric grid – is highly vulnerable to sabotage, natural disasters, and disrepair.
The six categories examined are: energy, minerals, water, land, climate change and biodiversity. I think you'll be surprised by the incredible amount of interconnectedness Burke and team uncover across these domains. Here's the great paper, and there's an accompanying blog to boot!

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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