Engineering Management & Systems Engineering;
School of Engineering & Applied Science

EMSE 6992 (CRN 34008) Environmental Security

Background: Environmental security includes all national, state, local, and private efforts to prevent harm to humans or property by terrorist attacks that damage the natural environment and/or manmade environmental infrastructure. Environment (air, water, natural resources) can be used as a means to propagate terrorism. Destruction of infrastructure such as dams, dikes, harbors to cause floods; intentional destruction of natural resources by fire, introduction of biohazards, - are environmental security concerns and should be considered for terrorism prevention. The nexus between environmental management and national security has become extremely important in the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. For example, DOD's annual expenditures alone for environmental management activities now exceed $2.5 billon per year. The Department of Energy’s defense-related Environmental Management Program spends in excess of $4.2 billon annually.

The Defense Department's weapons programs and military operations, coupled with the Department of Energy's nuclear defense buildup and the vast industrialization of the Nation by the private sector during the 20th century, left an environmental legacy that the country has struggled to effectively address. From stores of biological agents and wastes, nuclear materials, spent and live munitions, to chemical agents such as chlorine, mustard, and nerve gas; from contamination of air, land, and water caused by leaking waste tanks at nuclear defense facilities to the intentional anthrax releases in Washington, DC-- generations of Americans will continue to confront this legacy for the foreseeable future. The terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 added an additional factor to this already complicated set of technical, legal and political challenges: the need for viable security measures designed to preclude access to, and intentional releases of, nuclear, biological, chemical, and waste materials into the environment by terrorists. Furthermore, the economic and environmental devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the Kuwait oil fires heightened our concerns that all environmental infrastructure, including dams, levees, water supply systems, waste treatment and disposal facilities need to be secured from attacks ultimately designed to cause deaths and massive destruction of property.

Course Overview: This course will survey the various design and engineered systems, as well as regulatory and management programs, developed to address these problems, and will critically assess whether or not they are effective. Emphasis will be placed upon understanding potential terrorist attack vectors on government-owned and private sector assets that are most directly tied to environmental health and safety, and upon actions being taken to prevent attacks in the first place. The government's efforts to prevent terrorist attacks by means of legislation, establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, and integration of intelligence gathering will serve as a backdrop for this intensive course of instruction.

Regarding nuclear materials, DOD and DOE responsibilities for securing and remediating defense nuclear waste will be examined in detail. The controversy over safe disposal of high-level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain will be a focus of this portion of the course. Another topical area addressed in the course is that of the Chemical Demilitarization programs of the Department of Defense. Not only is Chemical Demilitarization a major environmental challenge, but it also presents a major security threat due to stockpiles of chemical agents that terrorists could use to create havoc. Programs such as the Defense Environmental Restoration Program, the Formerly Utilized Defense Sites (FUDS) program, the Former Uranium Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) and other government programs related to environmental restoration are examined for lessons on the difficulties that will be encountered should preventative measures fail, and response actions be required on an emergency basis.

Instructor: Adjunct Professor Robert M. Andersen, Partner, Clark Hill PLC; former Chief Counsel, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; former General Counsel, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board; former Deputy General Counsel, National Science Foundation; and former program official, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region V.