Characterizing the desert environment for Army operations
Published:January 01, 2014
Daniel A. Gilewitch, W. Chris King, Eugene J. Palka, Russell S. Harmon, Eric V. McDonald, William W. Doe III, 2014. "Characterizing the desert environment for Army operations", Military Geosciences in the Twenty-First Century, Russell S. Harmon, Sophie E. Baker, Eric V. McDonald
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The U.S. Army will continue to be involved in desert warfare for the foreseeable future. It is imperative that military equipment is designed and tested for use in this environment; that soldiers are trained to operate in the desert; and that they can accomplish their missions under the extreme conditions presented by this distinct operating environment. Understanding desert processes and terrain is fundamental to accomplishing these goals. Scientists have long debated demarcation and classification of deserts, considering many measurable factors. However, few have classified deserts in a way that specifically supports the military missions of operating, training, and testing. This research was undertaken to classify deserts using both physical and military variables and to develop a system that examines deserts from a military perspective. A panel of scientists and military officers developed and tested a model of warm and hot desert classification. The robustness of the model was tested at the Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. This work is a preliminary step toward a thorough examination of desert training and testing sites and potential conflict areas in desert locations throughout the world.
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Military Geosciences in the Twenty-First Century
Military geosciences are concerned with using the broad scope of the earth sciences for military purposes. These purposes range from direct support for military operations to a broad spectrum of non-combat military activities and military land management applications. Historically, the focus has been on geology and geography, but other earth science disciplines such as geophysics, remote sensing, and geocomputation have become increasingly important as a consequence of technological progress made during the final decades of the twentieth century. The eighteen chapters in this volume address the critical aspects of the role of geosciences in military undertakings by focusing on historical perspectives, geoscience for military operations, and military environmental stewardship.