While climate change often stirs passionate scientific and sometimes political arguments, most people probably don’t view it as a security concern. But Captain Jonathan Spaner and Hillary LeBail from the Coast Guard’s Office of Emerging Policy believe we should. Although the cause is open to debate, the authors point to evidence that demonstrates the climate is warming, and explain that “regardless of our best efforts, climate change will forever change the operating environment of our nation’s military and homeland security components.” As a threat multiplier, its impacts are wide-ranging, exacerbating existing issues like poverty, food and water availability, disease, and natural disasters. To counter it we must encourage education and awareness—just as we do for other security challenges.
In the wake of 9/11, as the nation understandably became focused on better preparation to thwart future terrorist incidents, a massive government and military infrastructure arose to face a possible chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) attack on American soil. But in fixating so much on the potential impact of, say, a rogue nuclear device, we lost sight of just who would be trying to wield such a device, and how likely it is that they could execute such a strike, observes Al Mauroni, director of the U.S. Air Force Counterproliferation Center. Such nightmare-scenario terror-generators as dirty nukes or biological-warfare agents, while clearly worrisome, are difficult to develop, acquire, handle, transport, and deploy. And while our preparatory efforts regarding such threats are laudable, the scale of the undertaking needs to be tempered—particularly in light of budgetary cutbacks—by a healthy dose of reality check.
We’re proud and pleased this month to announce the 2013 winners of the General Prize Award for Author of the Year. When making our selections, we consider a number of factors, including whether the article gained the attention of senior leadership and moved the needle to advance the professional discussion on a topic, challenged conventional thinking and offered alternatives that may not have been considered, or perhaps took on a tough issue that others shied away from, accepting the dare to read, think, speak, and write (and publish). This year’s winners have exceeded that standard. Retired Coast Guard Captain Jim Howe and Reserve Lieutenant Jim Dolbow took first prize for their August article “Reinvent the Fifth Armed Service, Quickly.” Second prize goes to Navy Commander (now Captain) Dale Rielage for “Parsing the Chinese Challenge,” which appeared in September, and Rear Admiral Robert Wray is our third-prize winner for “The Utility of a Three-tiered Navy,” published in June. Bravo Zulu to all the winners!
Paul Merzlak , Editor-in-Chief