fundamentally altering the relationship between the human population and the supporting natural
resources. FM 1-02 (101-5-1) defines the natural environment as "the human ecosystem, including both
the physical and biological systems that provide resources (clean air, clean water, healthy surroundings,
sufficient food) necessary to sustain productive human life. Included in the natural environment are
manmade structures, such as water and wastewater treatment facilities and natural or cultural resources."
1-2. Environmental Conflict. Conflict caused or aggravated by resource scarcity is not new. What
was once a local or regional problem may now extend globally. Resource scarcity could reduce the
ability of governments to respond to the basic needs of their people. Access to sufficient energy supplies
is of vital national interest to an industrialized nation. The resulting instability can threaten regional
security and lead to armed interventions.
a. Frequently, strategic resources (minerals, oil, or coal) have been catalysts of conflict, possessing
strategic significance. The widespread distribution and product substitution associated with a global
economy tend to mitigate scarcity. Renewable or "sustainable" resources, such as clean air, water,
cropland, or forests, are more difficult to replace and can create regional instability.
b. Environmental resource scarcity, caused by degradation or depletion of renewable resources,
encourages groups to capture these resources or to migrate to find adequate resources. Environmental
resources can contribute to the potential for conflict when they become environmental threats or strategic
1-3. Environmental Threats. Environmental threats intensify regional instability. Threats to stability
and security might result from acts of war or terrorism (the destruction of infrastructure facilities
providing water or fuel). The threats (polluting the rivers or air that flows into another country) may also
result from the routine activities of an industrial society. Security from these environmental threats
include protective measures for natural resources; safety measures for soldiers whether at their home
station or deployed; and offensive, defensive, and support actions when required to meet national security
goals. Environmental threats will confront theater commanders in the form of natural resource issues as
strategic and operational factors before, during, and after future conflicts.
1-4. Environmental Protection as a National Ethos.
a. As outlined in FM 1 (100-1), the nation's ethos translates into national policy, national-security
strategy, and military strategy. The US has often been the first nation to search for solutions to
environmental problems. As environmental protection becomes increasingly important, it assumes a
growing significance to operational readiness. US military forces must maximize environmental
b. Operational readiness requires sufficient land for training individuals and units. The Army
manages large training and testing areas, which are increasingly valuable as part of a diminishing
inventory of undeveloped land. Often, the health of the surrounding natural ecosystem also depends on
the natural habitat of these training or testing areas. Good conservation techniques preserve training areas
for future military use and reduce compliance and restoration costs.
1-5. Environmental Vision. Caring for the environment begins with the Army's vision of
environmental responsibility. The following vision statement from the US Army Environmental Strategy
Into the 21st Century describes what the Army expects of soldiers:
"The Army will integrate environmental values into its mission in order to sustain readiness, improve the
soldier's quality of life, strengthen community relationships, and provide sound stewardship of