More than Weather: The Strategic Importance of Remote Environmental Monitoring Capabilities to DOD
Small Wars Journal
The Department of Defense (DOD) currently uses several satellite constellations to remotely monitor the environment. One of DOD’s primary interests in environmental monitoring is detecting current weather patterns and discerning how they affect the warfighter. While understanding real-time weather is critical to mission success, understanding long-term environmental impacts from population growth and urbanization, land use change, and climate change is also of critical importance to the strategic vision of the US armed forces. Indeed, many high-ranking officers and military officials have acknowledged that understanding effects from these environmental changes is critical to our nation’s security. A statement by Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense, concerning climate change elaborates this point: “The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security…rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.” In the same speech, Panetta vowed that the Pentagon would take a leading role in combating these changes (Simeone, 2012).
Andrew Pfluger and William Wright. "More than Weather: The Strategic Importance of Remote Environmental Monitoring Capabilities to DOD". Small Wars Journal, 2014.