Military Geology in War and Peace
In warfare, military geologists pursue five main categories of work: tactical and strategic terrain analysis, fortifications and tunneling, resource acquisition, defense installations, and field construction and logistics. In peace, they train for wartime operations and may be involved in peace-keeping and nation-building exercises. The classic dilemma for military geology has been whether support can best be provided by civilian technical-matter experts or by uniformed soldiers who routinely work with the combat units. In addition to the introductory paper this volume includes 24 papers, covering selected aspects of the history of military geology from the early 19th century through the recent Persian Gulf war, military education and operations, terrain analysis, engineering geology in the military, use of military geology in diplomacy and peace keeping, and the future of military geology.
Background and recent applications of military geology in the British armed forces
Published:January 01, 1998
Michael S. Rosenbaum, 1998. "Background and recent applications of military geology in the British armed forces", Military Geology in War and Peace, James R. Underwood, Jr., Peter L. Guth
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Military geology involves the application of geological science to the decision-making processes required by military command; hence the individual geologist needs to be professionally experienced in applied geology and trained in military staff work and doctrine.
The importance of establishing an adequate and relevant database of information is now widely recognized and the trend for its compilation has been toward digital recording in support of the existing paper library information. The provision of geological information together with its interpretation and the means of giving advice are now established components of decision support within headquarters at Corps and Division. Generally the tasks have to be dealt with in emergency situations and so time is very short by comparison with comparable civilian projects. What is primarily required is a rapid assessment of the ground conditions within the context of the prevailing military situation. For the advice to be useful, it has to be presented in a manner compatible with the standard military format and avoiding use of technical jargon.
Construction work is required in support of the battle: preparing defenses, supporting an advance and consolidating the new positions. Interaction of these works with the ground and the supply of natural materials, particularly water, requires characterization and management sensitive to the contemporary military operations. Local supplies, even if undamaged, are unlikely to be able to sustain the quantities required by the influx of large numbers of troops. Health risks from poor water, not only due to natural bacteria but also deliberately contaminated from terrorist sabotage or NBC attack, require that suitable supplies be established early in the campaign.
Recent actions in the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf, and mainland Europe demonstrate how military geology has been used, directly or indirectly, by the British armed forces. The trend throughout the 20th century has been of increased mobility during armed conflict, although the scale of operations has varied enormously.