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The Greening of the U.S. Military

Environmental Policy, National Security, and Organizational Change

Robert F. Durant

Publication Year: 2007

By the Cold War's end, U.S. military bases harbored nearly 20,000 toxic waste sites. All told, cleaning the approximately 27 million acres is projected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. And yet while progress has been made, efforts to integrate environmental and national security concerns into the military's operations have proven a daunting and intrigue-filled task that has fallen short of professed goals in the post-Cold War era. In The Greening of the U.S. Military, Robert F. Durant delves into this too-little understood world of defense environmental policy to uncover the epic and ongoing struggle to build an environmentally sensitive culture within the post-Cold War military. Through over 100 interviews and thousands of pages of documents, reports, and trade newsletter accounts, he offers a telling tale of political, bureaucratic, and intergovernmental combat over the pace, scope, and methods of applying environmental and natural resource laws while ensuring military readiness. He then discerns from these clashes over principle, competing values, and narrow self-interest a theoretical framework for studying and understanding organizational change in public organizations. From Dick Cheney's days as Defense Secretary under President George H. W. Bush to William Cohen's Clinton-era-tenure and on to Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, the battle over greening the military has been one with high-stakes consequences for both national defense and public health, safety, and the environment. Durant's polity-centered perspective and arguments will evoke needed scrutiny, debate, and dialogue over these issues in environmental, military, policymaking, and academic circles.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Series: Public Management and Change series


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pp. ix-xiii

This book is a parable rife with practical lessons about the challenges, choices, and opportunities involved when contests over “principles and practicality” arise in the American political system. Moreover, it is a tale of a kind of reform that despite its implications for principles and practicality has garnered scant attention from scholars in the fi elds of public management, public administration, ...


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pp. xv-xvii

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CHAPTER 1: A World Apart?

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pp. 1-26

On May 28, 1987, a “bombshell” launched from Western Europe flew by the windows of the Kremlin and landed near Moscow’s Red Square. This bombshell was not an errant Soviet, U.S., or North Atlantic Treaty Organization test missile, but a young West German pilot named Mathias Rust flying a small Cessna airplane that had evaded the vaunted surveillance systems of the Soviet Air Defense Forces. Like the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, ...

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CHAPTER 2: Greening, National Security, and the Postmodern Military

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pp. 27-51

As international relations scholars James Rosenau and Paul Viotti so cogently put the dilemma facing military forces in the 1990s, “Enormous stresses and strains are rocking military establishments worldwide in the aftermath of the Cold War. . . . In a turbulent world of fragmenting polities, faltering econo-mies, restless publics, refocused enmities, and vast international transformation, where do soldiers and military organizations fit?”1 Among other factors animat-...

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CHAPTER 3: About-Face at the Pentagon?

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pp. 52-76

In 1987 the inspector general of the Department of Defense reported that the department’s environmental and natural resources efforts to date had been stymied by a stunning failure to demonstrate their high priority within the military services. Moreover, progress on the greening front would be uncertain unless four objectives were achieved: policies that were excessively fragmented had to be integrated; effective management structures, which did not at that time exist, had ...

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CHAPTER 4: Base Cleanups, Sovereign Impunity, and the Expansion of the Beaten Zone

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pp. 77-102

Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, commander-in-chief of the Union forces during the Civil War, felt no hesitation in placing himself within what military rifle-men call the “beaten zone”: the elliptical pattern (or “cone”) formed by machine-gun rounds striking either the ground or the target. Nevertheless, Grant had several brushes with serious injury if not death during the war, in particular at Fort Harrison, Petersburg, Shiloh, and Vicksburg. Indeed, at Fort Harrison and Vicks-...

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CHAPTER 5: Guns, Dogs, Fences, and Base Transfers

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pp. 104-130

During Sparta’s war with Argos, King Cleomenes (520–491 BC) negotiated a thirty-day truce with Argos that he violated nightly by ravaging their fields. Cleomenes never understood the fuss over the violations, Cicero reports, because of a technicality: The truce stipulated days, not nights.1 As the previous chapter began describing, those trying to ensure that closed, realigned, or realigning military properties in the post–Cold War era were available for reuse and redevelop-...

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CHAPTER 6: Missiles, Mayhem, and the Munitions Rule

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pp. 131-154

Homer writes in the Iliad that when Mars rushed into Achilles’s soul in his battle with Hector, “the springs of fate snap[ped] every lock tight.”1 As the two previous chapters on base cleanups have illustrated, however, the U.S. military in the post–Cold War era conceded nothing to fate. Rather, like the principles informing the Clinton administration’s strategic military doctrine in the 1990s, fate was something to shape, prepare for, and respond to in order to pro-...

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CHAPTER 7: Natural Resources Management, Military Training, and the Greening of the Drone Zone

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pp. 155-176

I was talking to God coming up that hill,” said a fatigued and adrenalin-driven U.S. Army Ranger participating in the annual Mangoday Warrior Exercise at Fort Knox, Kentucky.1 Mangoday is named after Genghis Khan’s famed cavalry-men, who legend says trained beyond exhaustion and battled without fear. Aptly named, this exercise puts an elite corps of Ranger captains through five food- and sleep-deprived days of extensive marches and mock battles. Evident throughout ...

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CHAPTER 8: Safety, Security, and Chemical Weapons Demilitarization

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pp. 196-220

Generations of soldiers in the U.S. Army’s Eighty-second Airborne Division know the story well.1 At the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, German panzers were routing U.S. forces beating a hasty retreat in the Ardennes Forest. At some point in the retreat, a tank commander unfamiliar with the terrain asked a soldier for directions, and the following exchange ensued:...

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CHAPTER 9: Pollution Prevention, Energy Conservation, and the Perils of Ch

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pp. 202-225

During World War I commentators coined the term châteaux generalship to note favorably the wisdom of high commanders on the western front establishing their headquarters in châteaux located safely behind the front lines. Their expertise was too valuable to put in harm’s way. In the immediate after-math of a war in which so much blood and treasure were squandered in inconclusive trench warfare, however, châteaux generalship lost its luster. As military ...

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CHAPTER 10: Avoiding the Harder Right in the Post-Clinton Era?

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pp. 226-244

The Cadet Prayer at West Point is well known, principled, and inspiring: “Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.” Arguably, the Clinton years witnessed the most concentrated, sustained, and potent effort in the modern military era to take what presidents since Truman saw as the “harder right”: ensuring United ...

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CHAPTER 11: Lessons for Theory and Practice

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pp. 245-282

The Roman general Gaius Marius once threatened the Greek potentate Mithridates before joining battle, “King, either try to be stronger than the Romans, or else, keep quiet and do what you are told.”1 Those trying to green the U.S. military during the Cold War can identify with Mithridates. With the dawning of the post–Cold War era and especially the election of Bill Clinton, the planets seemed aligned to protect any greening gains made during the Cold War ...


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pp. 283-298

E-ISBN-13: 9781589014466
E-ISBN-10: 1589014464
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589011533
Print-ISBN-10: 1589011538

Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Public Management and Change series
Series Editor Byline: Beryl A. Radin, Series Editor See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 192072565
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Greening of the U.S. Military

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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Armed Forces -- Environmental aspects.
  • Military bases -- Environmental aspects -- United States.
  • Environmental responsibility -- Government policy -- United States.
  • Military privileges and immunities -- United States.
  • Environmental policy -- United States.
  • Organizational change -- United States.
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