DC’s architects of a new approach to resource scarcity issues

More evidence of increasing awareness of scarcity issues (and the consequent need for integrated policy approaches to managing them) over in the US: this presentation on ‘environmental challenges and global security’ from a colonel on the joint chiefs’ staff, given at a Department of Agriculture meeting on the food crisis held last week. 

Intriguingly, it includes a recommendation for a new National Security Council inter-agency policy committee on environmental security – which would develop a strategy to “utilize all elements of national power (diplomatic, information, military and economic)” so as to prevent conflict and promote regional stability.

The Department of Defense isn’t the only part of the US government where there’s innovative thinking happening on this area.  As I noted here last November, the National Intelligence Council’s report on global trends to 2025 placed a good deal of emphasis on scarcity issues,which was thanks to NIC’s Director of Analysis Mat Burrows.

Another key player in all of this is Carol Dumaine – like Mat, a career CIA analyst (where the Washington Post called her one of “the CIA’s dissidents”)  – who’s now over at the Department of Energy’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence as their Deputy Director for Energy and Environmental Security. Carol describes herself as an “intelligence ecologist” and argues that current global challenges require “generalists who are specialists of the whole” – see this excellent presentation that she gave at an Institute for Environmental Security conference in DC in March.

The signs are also positive that National Security Adviser James Jones recognises the importance of scarcity issues and the need for changes to machinery of government in pursuit of more effective approaches to them.  As a Washington Post profile of Jones published this morning observes,

Although the administration is barely more than 100 days old, Jones has launched an ambitious restructuring of the White House national security apparatus so it can focus on modern issues such as energy and climate change.