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New Environmental Security New Course Starts in Fall 2006

The GW E&EM program will unveil a new course in Environmental Security during the Fall 2006 semester. Taught by Professorial Lecturer Robert Andersen, a nationally recognized expert in environmental and national security matters, the new course will examine the newly emerging environmental security programs of the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of Energy and other Federal agencies.


During the 20th century, the Defense Department's weapons programs, construction and operation of military installations, live-fire training centers, and other preparedness activities, coupled with the Department of Energy's nuclear defense buildup, left an environmental legacy that the country has struggled to effectively address. Nuclear and conventional warfare buildups in the United States, both before and during the Cold War, created a need for diverse cleanup and restoration programs. The threat to national security during Cold War was considered by many to be so great that the sparse technical knowledge scientists possessed about future environmental consequences was largely ignored.

From stores of biological agents, spent and live munitions, and chemical agents such as muster and nerve gas; from contamination of land and water caused by leaking nuclear waste tanks at Hanford Reservation in the State of Washington to environmental impacts of battle training sites from the east coast to California to Hawaii-- generations of Americans will continue to struggle with 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 to maintain a viable defense and prevent access to, and proliferation of, nuclear, biological, and conventional warfare materials by terrorists.

The nexus between environmental management and national security has become so important in the United States that the Department of Defense recently established the position of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security. This new high-level position is reflective of the enormous role that environmental management now is playing not only within DOD but also throughout the entire American defense establishment. In DOD alone, annual expenditures for environmental management activities now exceed $2.5 billon per year, and the Department of Energy’s defense-related Environmental Management Program spends in excess of $4.2 billon annually. It is anticipated that there is a major demand for a course in the Washington, D.C. area covering the full spectrum of environmental security topics that have grown phenomenally in the past few years.

Among the programs that will be studied in the new course is the Defense Environmental Restoration Program, which is DOD's over-arching program for addressing the environmental fallout of defense program. The Formerly Utilized Defense Sites (FUDS) cleanup program, as well as other programs designed to return land to some beneficial use, including Former Uranium Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP), and Superfund/Brownfield initiatives will also be covered. Regarding nuclear materials, DOD and DOE responsibilities for cleanup of 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 is a major security threat from stockpiles of chemical agents that terrorists could use to create havoc. 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.

The course instructor, Robert M. Andersen, formerly served as the General Counsel of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and the Chief Counsel of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He presently is Senior Counsel at LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae in Washington, D.C.




Jonathan P. Deason, Ph.D., Lead Professor

The George Washington University
Engineering Management & Systems Engineering Department (EMSE)
Environmental & Energy Management Program (E&EM)
Spring 2006 (Volume 7, Number 1)

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