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Arid regions present formidable challenges to the conduct of contemporary military operations. Fundamental geographic factors such as radiation balance, wind and dust, and unique terrain have affected the outcome of desert campaigns and battles throughout history. While the scientific community understands desert geography, the fundamental effects of environmental factors on military operations are rarely well known or understood. Some level of understanding is necessary to provide context for researchers solving military problems. The purpose of this paper is to offer a military context for the work in this volume. This study provides a brief summary of the influences selected environmental factors may have on modern military forces operating in hot desert environments. In particular, this research examines the effects of unique desert terrain, aeolian processes and dust, and radiation balance with regard to troops, equipment, and tactics; historical and modern examples illustrate these effects.

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