As global sea levels rise and extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense, what is the impact on our nation’s military readiness and the capabilities of its forces to carry out their missions? On both the domestic and international front, the effects of climate change could become catastrophic, overwhelming disaster-response capabilities.
Recent actions and statements by members of Congress and US military officers have drawn attention to the consequences of climate change, including the destabilizing effects of storms, droughts, and floods. Military experts note that the fallout from global warming—massive migrations, increased border tensions, and greater demands for rescue and evacuation efforts—could increase the need for more direct US military involvement.
For these reasons, climate change is increasingly recognized as having national security implications, which has spurred dialogue between the climate change and national security communities. This issue brief, by Brian La Shier and James Stanish, provides an overview of the US military’s position on climate change, and specifically how it defines climate change risks and the subsequent challenges the military branches will likely face in the future. In addition, a brief accounting of Department of Defense and Congressional actions on climate and security is provided.
David Jonas and Dyllan Taxman’s insightful article— “JCP-No-Way: A Critique Of The Iran Nuclear Deal As A Non-Legally-Binding Political Commitment” —examines the Iran Nuclear Deal and its place in prior US arms treaties.
By positioning the Iran Nuclear Deal within the historical context of past agreements, American treaty-making, and national and international political norms, the authors conclude that the use of a non-binding political commitment to rein in Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions was both novel and inappropriate.
Instead, the authors argue that the Obama Administration should have used one of the available legally binding agreement options when negotiating with Iran. While the Trump Administration has since withdrawn from the Iran Nuclear Deal, this article highlights the importance of the US prioritizing future arms agreements that carry the force of law.
JCP No Way: A Critique of the Iran Nuclear Deal
The United States government’s 1793 prosecution of Gideon Henfield represents the first instance of the lawfare engaged in by the fledgling government. Over the course of the decades that followed, criminal prosecution became a default selection for addressing national security threats. This article examines how the Washington Administration utilized law as a weapon to defend itself from the British and French and set the precedent for using prosecutions to achieve national security objectives.
Replacing the “Sword of War” with the “Scales of Justice”: Henfield’s Case and the Origins of Lawfare in the United States