Climate Change, Gender, and Rethinking Military Operations


Jody M. Prescott. 2014. “Climate Change, Gender, and Rethinking Military Operations.” Vermont Journal of Environmental Law 15 (4): 766–802.

Author: Jody M. Prescott


"The linkages between climate change, gender, and military operations are not necessarily immediately obvious. This article argues, however, that a particular type of unit, the Agricultural Development Team (“ADT”), developed and deployed to Afghanistan since 2007, has not only demonstrated the capability to address the gender-differentiated, climate change-related sources of insecurity at the tactical level, but that it could also serve as a model to effectively factor the gender-differentiated impacts of climate change across the broad spectrum of U.S. military operations.  To support this argument, this article will first explore the gender- and sex differentiated impacts of climate change upon populations, and why women, particularly in developing countries, tend to be more vulnerable to these impacts. Mindful of this operational reality for U.S. forces deployed to these areas, this article reviews current U.S. military doctrine setting out the means and methods by which the U.S. military interacts with local civilian populations in foreign nations. In particular, this article further assesses the significance of DoD’s failure to meaningfully address the environment and gender in military-civilian operations. The third section of this article explains the role of the ADT in the context of other types of military-civilian interface units that the U.S. military has developed and used in Afghanistan. In the fourth section, this article briefly describes various ADT projects to highlight ways in which wartime missions can mitigate climate change’s effects and enable vulnerable population cohorts such as women to adapt to its effects. These descriptions are based in part upon interviews with National Guard officers that recently led different ADTs in Afghanistan. In conclusion, more fully factoring the process of climate change and the importance of its gender-differentiated impacts into modern military operations would help create the conditions which could lead to sustainable social and economic stability in countries challenged by the effects of armed conflict and climate change. Such stability is crucial for the reestablishment and growth of the rule of law, a cornerstone of U.S. stability and reconstruction policy" (Prescott 2014, 768-769).


Topics: Agriculture, Armed Conflict, Combatants, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2014

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