Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Military Economics in the News

Cross posted at http://lessmilitary.blogspot.com/

Posted on November 2, 2010 by Matthew Leatherman

This piece originally appeared in the Raleigh News & Observer.
Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, chief of the Army’s Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, believes his soldiers are “our nation’s most relevant force” and said as much in a Raleigh press conference recently. Ordinarily this claim could be dismissed as the type of chest-thumping any commander does to boost morale back at the unit. The difference is that Mulholland is right – at least for now. The future, however, may be quite different.
                   REST HERE

Survey: Officers favor ‘soft power’

By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Sep 27, 2010 10:30:10 EDT
A majority of military officers — especially the mid-career officers in the O-4 and O-5 paygrades — support giving more money and strategic emphasis to nonmilitary initiatives such as diplomacy and economic development in order to advance U.S. security interests, according to a recent poll.
Some 83 percent of officers think that nonmilitary tools such as diplomacy, food assistance, health care support, education and economic development are either very important or fairly important for achieving national security goals, according to the poll conducted by a Washington-based education and lobbying group.N.M.
Labs Likely To Gain From Treaty Push
By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer
          The price tag for maintaining U.S. nuclear weapons could be headed up again.
        After a 10 percent budget increase in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, and a plan to push for more increases in future years, the Obama administration is telegraphing its intentions to up the ante.

        The new money is part of the administration's efforts to win Senate approval of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty...


The underlying need for the money - whether it is genuinely needed, or is being used to solve a political problem - has been little discussed. Within the government, there have been no significant public voices questioning the spending.
        Outside government there are skeptics, even within the weapons community.
        One of the most visible has been Bob Peurifoy, a retired Sandia Labs vice president and respected weapons program veteran. He argues the new spending is unnecessary for the actual job of maintaining the nuclear arsenal.
        "I suggest that some have trouble distinguishing between 'must have' and 'fun to have' facilities," Peurifoy said in a recent e-mail to a group of prominent nuclear weapons experts.
                             REST HERE


    For Immediate Release
    Monday, November 1, 2010                               


    Antonito, Colo. – Conejos County Clean Water, Inc., a citizen’s group based in Antonito, Colorado, San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, a group based in Alamosa, Colorado, and Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, a non-governmental organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, announced today that they have filed suit in federal court to compel the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process that analyzes the impacts of transporting radioactive, hazardous and toxic waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) through the state of Colorado via a storage and truck-to-rail transfer site in Conejos County.

    In November 2009, Conejos County officials and citizens of Antonito discovered the active transfer of LANL wastes by crane from flat-bed trucks to rail gondolas less than a quarter mile from the town and within 100 yards of a headwaters tributary to the Rio Grande.  The waste was contained in soft sacks which can hold 24,000 pounds of waste. Neither the local governments nor residents were notified of any plans of the DOE, LANL, San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad, and EnergySolutions (a private Utah-based corporation which operates a radioactive and hazardous waste dump 75 miles west of Salt Lake City) to transport and transfer radioactive, hazardous and toxic waste in Conejos County. The County halted the activities pending compliance with local land use laws.

    “This is a case of the DOE and their contractors trying to impose their will on local communities without providing notice and without any opportunity for a fair impact review,” said Andrea Guajardo, member of the board of directors of Conejos County Clean Water, Inc. “That DOE would attempt to force these impacts on Conejos County, the poorest county in Colorado, without engaging the public in a meaningful way is inexcusable – and illegal,” Ms. Guajardo added.

    In 2005, LANL and DOE signed a consent decree with the New Mexico Environment Department agreeing to clean up certain waste dumps at the LANL facility by 2015.  The waste that was shipped is part of a “cleanup campaign” funded by stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

    “We have a moral obligation to protect the headwaters of the Rio Grande,” San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council director Christine Canaly said, “it’s imperative the public be engaged in this process.”

    DOE officials recently stated that waste from other DOE sites, including Sandia National Laboratory, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the Pantex Site, located north of Amarillo, Texas, could also be transferred at the Antonito location, once it is established as a transfer site for toxic, hazardous, and radioactive wastes.

    “DOE will continue to generate radioactive, toxic, and hazardous wastes and EnergySolutions is looking for ways to take a larger cut of the DOE waste for its dump,” stated Joni Arends, director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  “The community efforts to protect the San Luis Valley and the headwaters of the Rio Grande are absolutely necessary for now and in the future.  If the transfer site in Antonito is opened, DOE will utilize it to the fullest extent and the people of the Valley could expect more and more shipments from other DOE sites.”

    Colorado-based attorney Jeff Parsons, along with the non-profit law firm Energy Minerals Law Center, through attorney Travis Stills, represent the groups.

    Andrea Guajardo, board member, CCCW, 720-939-9948
    Joni Arends, executive director, CCNS, 505-986-1973
    Christine Canaly, director, SLVEC, 719-256-4758
    Jeff Parsons, attorney, 720-203-2871
    Travis Stills, attorney, Energy Minerals Law Center, 970-375-9231

    The complaint may be viewed at:  http://www.slvec.org/

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