Air Power and the Environment: The Ecological Implications of Modern Air Warfare

Venue: Royal Air Force College

Location: Sleaford, NG34 8HB, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

Event Date/Time: Aug 26, 2009 End Date/Time: Aug 27, 2009
Registration Date: Jun 27, 2009
Early Registration Date: May 27, 2009
Abstract Submission Date: Jan 30, 2009
Paper Submission Date: Jul 30, 2009
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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 MoD’s 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,
Cranwell, Sleaford,
Lincolnshire NG34 8HB,
United Kingdom

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:

Tel.: +44 (0)1400 268020

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