herri Goodman, author of “The Role of Water Stress in Instability and Conflict” and former U.S. deputy defense undersecretary (environmental security), joined Dr. Travis Morris’ terrorism class on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, to lead a discussion on environmental security. Goodman, drawing on her experience with the Defense Department, answered questions on resource scarcity, weaponizing resources and the maldistribution of limited resources.
Civilians and Cadets alike asked questions about working with various levels of command and the conflicts that arise during work with diverse cultures. Goodman spoke to her experience working with nuclear facilities that were forced to close temporarily and shift their focus toward waste management.
She also talked about the conflict with training sites for the U.S. Army that were habitats for endangered species. The training was forced to halt because of environmental concerns and the well-being of the endangered species. To adapt to the environmental restrictions, Gen. Gordon Sullivan ’59 incorporated the use of the natural features the Army couldn’t remove into the training grounds to better prepare his soldiers for the field.
National security’s dependence on our political and military position in areas of Asia and Europe led to a discussion on the vulnerability of limited resources.
National security’s dependence on our political and military position in areas of Asia and Europe led to a discussion on the vulnerability of limited resources. One tactic that can be utilized besides force is strategically locating necessary resources to sustain life such as water. At times, the goal is to limit or even cut off water use to a particular group. To give a good example of a conflict aggravated by climate change, Goodman described an international conflict in which the ability to limit water supply gave Israel an upper hand.
With the increasing conflicts overseas, countries are prepared to deal with political refugees but have little experience with refugees fleeing environmental changes. There has been an increase in refugees from coastal areas who were forced from their homes by the rising sea levels that the government is struggling to address. Goodman spoke to her opportunities to work with foreign leaders and to her experiences abroad working with delegations on these conflicts as they are affecting governments around the world.
Mallory Dutil, a student who researched water security in multiple countries, including some conflict-prone areas, in summer 2019, closed the lecture by presenting her research. Goodman’s time in Dr. Morris’ class was an informal platform for students to ask questions as an introduction to her later seminar.