NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Environmentalism Compromised Military Preparedness

April 8, 2003

Clinton Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security Sherri Goodman boasted that the military had "reduced its emissions, when measured by energy consumption, by more than 20 percent" between 1990 and 1998. This preoccupation with global warming and with the reduction of greenhouse gases compromised military readiness, says Henry I. Miller of the Hoover Institution.

A 1997 background paper from the Pentagon's own environmental office evaluated the impact of a 10 percent reduction in energy consumption and in CO2 emissions. The report noted:

  • The Army would experience a reduction in the amount of operations and training to a level that would downgrade unit readiness and require up to six additional weeks to prepare and deploy -- also, strategic deployment schedules would be missed, placing operations at risk.
  • The Navy would experience a reduction of "some 2,000 steaming days per year from training and operations for deployed ships, causing cancellations of both bilateral and multilateral exercises."
  • The Air Force would experience "a loss of over 210,000 flying hours per year," resulting in this branch of the service becoming "incapable of meeting all the requirements of the National Military Strategy."

It should come as no surprise that accidents and mishaps resulting from insufficient training and battlefield-simulation exercises have been so numerous in Afghanistan and Iraq. The men and women of the coalition are paying the price for eco-battiness, Miller says.

Source: Henry I. Miller, Letter to the Editor, "How Eco-Rules Crippled Our Military," Wall Street Journal, April 8, 2003.

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