"Air Power and the Environment: The Ecological Implications of Modern Air Warfare"
The Conference of:
The Air Power Studies Division,
Kings College London
The Royal Air Force
Centre for Air Power Studies
Royal Air Force College Cranwell
26 and 27 August 2009
Environmental responsibility already lies at the forefront of our western world perspective and is constantly growing in importance. Ecological activism, which used to be a fringe movement, has now become mainstream. In 2007 Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace Prize (and an Oscar!) for their efforts to raise environmental awareness. Greenpeace, which uses "non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems," alone has no fewer than 220,000 members in the UK and 2.8 million worldwide.
Ecologists, environmentalists, activists, lobbyists and of course strategists are already turning their attention to ecological aspects of modern warfare, including land mines, cluster ordnance, erosion and soil damage, air pollution, deforestation, nuclear testing and proliferation, oil spillage and fires, DU contamination, the disposal of ordnance, and so forth. It seems likely that such concerns will also become increasingly mainstream.
As a consequence, governments and their armed forces will doubtless be paying more attention to the serious ecological ramifications of conflict. Some already are. The Global Strategic Trends paper published by the MoDs Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) illustrates the importance now being placed on these matters by cutting-edge British strategists.
Balancing strategic and operational needs with both military and environmental ethics is certainly not impossible, and responsible armed forces, including the Royal Air Force, are already thinking deeply about how best to balance what superficially seem to be (but actually are not) competing imperatives.
This innovative conference the first on this topic in the United Kingdom will touch on several broader security themes and topics but will focus especially on the concepts and practices of modern air power and their environmental implications.
The organisers intend the conference to be held at the historic and prestigious Royal Air Force College to attract practitioners, policy-makers, academics and also university students (for whom attendance will be free upon presentation of a student id card), and for it therefore to wrestle analytically with big air power-related themes and topics at the heart of current strategy and security debates.
The conference proceedings will be published subsequently in book form by the Royal Air Force Centre for Air Power Studies.
Some potential topics:
Climate change and security
Strategies to prevent, mitigate, and redress war's environmental consequences
Warfare and environmental law
The historical targeting of oil and industrial infrastructure
Contemporary targeting strategies for oil and industrial infrastructure
Environmentally harmful / acceptable ordnance
Decommissioning and disposal of ordnance
Aviation fuel management
Air forces and carbon emissions
Air forces and alternative fuel sources
Air forces and resource / waste management
Real versus synthetic training
Prospective presenters should normally expect 30 minutes per presentation, plus 10 minutes of discussion time.
Abstracts (of no more than 350 words) should be posted or emailed to:
Ms Debra Aitkenhead,
Personal Assistant to the Dean of the
Royal Air Force College,
Lincolnshire NG34 8HB,
Abstracts must be received by 30 January 2009
All prospective contributors will be notified in mid February.
Queries of an academic nature should be directed to:
Dr Joel Hayward,
Dean of the Royal Air Force College
(and Conference Convenor), at:
We are particularly keen to ensure that graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty are able to play an active role in the conference.
In addition to making attendance entirely free to all currently enrolled university students we may be able to provide limited financial support (beyond purely transport and accommodation) to any students whose papers have been accepted for presentation.
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