“Climate change is no longer a ‘future threat’—it’s here now.” This is the stark conclusion of the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board, a group of eleven retired generals and admirals who studied the security implications of rising sea levels and a shrinking Artic. Climate change is poised to shake up regional dynamics as the Artic North becomes traversal, opening up valuable new trade routes through the North Sea (a contingency the Russian military is already preparing for). Climate change will also cause new scarcities in food, water, and energy—particularly in developing nations—compounding local security issues. The whole report is worth a read.
European elites keep an eye on the totality of U.S. foreign policy, while Asian elites care mostly about what happens in Asia. This is among the many conclusions of a fascinating new study by Chatham House that polled elites across the world. Other takeaways include a universally more positive perception of U.S. businesses over the federal government and a general failure by foreign nationals to understand the United States’ tripartite system of governance and decisionmaking. Both European and Asian elites express the view that U.S. foreign policy is becoming less and less predictable.
The Pentagon even has a plan to stop the zombie apocalypse. Foreign Policy breaks the story of “CONOP 8888, ‘Counter-Zombie Dominance,’” U.S. Strategic Command’s plan to protect citizens from a sudden zombie apocalypse. While the premise is catchy, thinking about such a scenario also makes sense. The purpose is to develop training scenarios so preposterous that they can’t be confused with the real thing. Overall, I think this is a great way to exercise the planning muscles.
Is America’s Air Force dying? Mackenzie Eaglen at the American Enterprise Institute takes a sobering look at the state of U.S. military aircraft. She observes that the average airframe is now twenty-five years old, and the total Air Force is the smallest and oldest it’s been since its inception in 1947. With a slowing replacement rate (and little money to reprogram into procurement), this challenge will only grow.
Weekend Reader bonus: the very strange world of military infographics. It’s remarkable that all of these are real. One below; follow the link for even more (better?) ones.