The Greening of the U.S. Military: Environmental Policy, National Security, and Organizational Change

The Greening of the U.S. Military: Environmental Policy, National Security, and Organizational Change

The Greening of the U.S. Military: Environmental Policy, National Security, and Organizational Change

The Greening of the U.S. Military: Environmental Policy, National Security, and Organizational Change

Synopsis

By the Cold War's end, U.S. military bases harbored nearly 20,000 toxic waste sites. All told, cleaning the approximately 27 million acres is projected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. And yet while progress has been made, efforts to integrate environmental and national security concerns into the military's operations have proven a daunting and intrigue-filled task that has fallen short of professed goals in the post-Cold War era.In The Greening of the U.S. Military, Robert F. Durant delves into this too-little understood world of defense environmental policy to uncover the epic and ongoing struggle to build an environmentally sensitive culture within the post-Cold War military. Through over 100 interviews and thousands of pages of documents, reports, and trade newsletter accounts, he offers a telling tale of political, bureaucratic, and intergovernmental combat over the pace, scope, and methods of applying environmental and natural resource laws while ensuring military readiness. He then discerns from these clashes over principle, competing values, and narrow self-interest a theoretical framework for studying and understanding organizational change in public organizations. From Dick Cheney's days as Defense Secretary under President George H. W. Bush to William Cohen's Clinton-era-tenure and on to Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, the battle over "greening" the military is one with high-stakes consequences for both national defense and public health, safety, and the environment. Durant's polity-centered perspective and arguments will evoke needed scrutiny, debate, and dialogue over these issues in environmental, military, policymaking, and academic circles.

Excerpt

This book is a parable rife with practical lessons about the challenges, choices, and opportunities involved when contests over “principles and practicality” arise in the American political system. Moreover, it is a tale of a kind of reform that despite its implications for principles and practicality has garnered scant attention from scholars in the fields of public management, public administration, public policy, and political science. Specifically, the book’s focus is on an epic and ongoing struggle to build a corporate sense of responsibility within the United States military for ensuring that its day-to-day operations promote national security without putting public health, safety, and the environment at risk. It is, in the process, a saga of the thrust-and-parry politics accompanying efforts to “green” the armed forces that began episodically during the Cold War, took on heightened salience and vigor during the Clinton years, and today competes during the George W. Bush presidency for attention and funding amid the War on Terror, insurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a proposed and costly transformation of the military. It is also a cautionary tale showing how change is less about the power of ideas than about the protection and pursuit of political, organizational, and personal prerogatives. As such, this book is pregnant with implications for those interested in protecting national security in these challenging times without compromising public health, safety, and the environment in the process—and vice versa.

This book also is a story rife with implications for scholars concerning the adequacy of leading theories of large-scale organizational change when applied to public organizations. With a small but growing set of exceptions in the public management literature, most of what we think we know about large-scale organizational change is predicated on theoretical perspectives culled largely from research on private sector organizations. Moreover, even that literature is plagued by a variety of competing theoretical perspectives. Given this situation, the book discerns from the patterns of politics witnessed during efforts to green the U.S. military a polity-centered framework for understanding and studying large-scale change in public organizations in this and other policy domains.

I culled the data informing my analysis from documents afforded by the agencies and interest groups involved; congressional hearings; Government Accountability Office (formerly known as the General Accounting Office) and Congressional Budget Office testimony and reports; studies by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council; and books, studies, and monographs by academic and military writers. in addition, I systematically reviewed all articles appearing between 1993 and 2005 in the leading industry newsletter . . .

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