6.2 Roundtable 4: Operations
in Europe and Africa
Moderator’s Summary
Colonel Edward (Ted) A. Smyth
So with that, I will kick off our discussion of future naval operations in Europe and Africa. To start, let me point out that this whole
issue of climate and energy is not a new one. If you go back to
1970, the late statesman George Kennan, who most of you know
was the architect of the U.S. policy of containment, recognized
The moderator is Colonel Edward (Ted) A. Smyth, a Fellow within the
National Security Analysis Department (NSAD) and a Fellow and former President of the Military Operations Research Society (MORS).
Mr. Smyth is a former Marine Corps Colonel with 30 years of active service, during which he commanded Marine Corps units at the company/
battery, battalion, and regimental level. His primary military occupational specialty was artillery/fire support with subspecialties as a military operations analyst and historian. Since joining The Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL), he has served as
Director of the Campaign Analysis Team of the Surface Combatant 21
Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis, as the Director of Land
Attack Warfare Studies, and as Supervisor of the Ground Operations
Section of the NSAD. He has also coordinated efforts in support of
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (OPNAV) Sea Strike analyses,
served as the Supervisor of the Joint Effects Based Operations Group,
developed and organized a 3-day symposium sponsored by MORS on
the subject of “Analysis of Urban Warfare,” and served as the Senior
JHU/APL Analyst in support of the National Security Agency’s Signals
Intelligence Requirements Office. His most recent activities include
active contributions to the 2006–2009 Johns Hopkins University
Symposium on Unrestricted Warfare and leadership of a MORS special
meeting on the subject of “Wargaming and Analysis,” an Analysis of
Alternatives on the Joint Effects Targeting System (JETS), and a study of
the implications of economic and financial issues and actions on U.S.
national security.
Climate and Energy Proceedings 2010
the linkage between ecological change and the potentially serious
implications for the international community (Figure 1).
So this is not a new phenomenon with which we are dealing.
However, unlike the 1970s, today’s security concerns are somewhat different to say the least. We no longer live in a bipolar world,
but rather one in which we are witnesses to rather dramatic shifts
in global demographics, wealth, and power. Any or all of which
may interact, as the Secretary of Defense points out (Figure 1), “to
produce new sources of deprivation, rage, and instability.”
Furthermore, and we have heard this from several of our speakers already, if our projections are accurate, our planet will see an
increase of several billion more people by the year 2025. Feeding,
clothing, and housing these people will impose enormous pressures on our ecology, and in particular on energy, food, and water
supplies, and thereby raise the possibility of significant shortages as
demand outstrips our supplies.
As noted on the plus side, by several of our previous speakers, the recently published Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR)
has finally recognized the linkage between climate change, energy
Figure 1. Observations of Kennan, Gates, and the QDR
Chapter 6 Future Naval Operations in Europe and Africa
security and economic stability. [1] So I view that as a plus.
Hopefully, we are now moving in the right direction.
Let me turn our attention specifically to Europe and Africa
(Figure 2). Before we turn our focus to the challenges that will confront our naval forces that are operating in those theaters, I would
like to simply point out to you the sheer magnitude of this region—
not simply in terms of area size or length of coastline, but also in
terms of the populations themselves. When combined, these two
continents are home to 25% of the world’s population. From an
economic perspective, the two continents are very much a study
in contrast (Figure 3). Although Europe’s economic strength as
measured in its gross domestic product is significant and contains
5 of the 10 most wealthy nations on earth, Africa remains one
of the more impoverished areas with 11 countries ranked below
Somalia in terms of wealth. To me, that serves to put the continent
of Africa in perspective.
In terms of energy issues, Europe and the United States both
rank as major consumers of petroleum and natural gas. As we have
Figure 2. Comparison of Europe and Africa
Climate and Energy Proceedings 2010
Figure 3. Comparison of Population, Economic Status,
and Energy in Europe and Africa
seen, a high percentage of the petroleum destined for European
and U.S. consumption originates from either the highly volatile
Middle East or from the sometimes less-than-cooperative Russian
Federation. I would also hasten to point out that in 2009, just this
past year, 13% of the U.S. daily consumption of petroleum originated in Africa, including regions, as we heard from General Wald,
that frequently witness political, cultural, and economic strife.
With this economic and demographic information as background, what do we believe will happen in terms of energy on
both of these continents? Over the past decade, Europe has experienced some of its warmest years on record and has also seen
record floods (Figure 4). As we have heard, shrinking sea ice
opens new areas for natural resource exploitation and may raise
tensions between Arctic nations and maritime states over the designation of important new waterways as international straits or
internal waters.
Extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts,
and floods, are projected to become more frequent and more
intense. Many projections identify Southern Europe, the Alps, the
Chapter 6 Future Naval Operations in Europe and Africa
Figure 4. Climate Changes in Europe and Africa
Mediterranean Basin, and the Arctic as the areas most likely to be
impacted. In a similar context, Africa is expected to see significant
increases in temperature, particularly in the Sub-Saharan region,
and parts of Southern Africa, as well as dramatic decreases in precipitation that may potentially expose even more significant numbers of the population to water stress and subsequent decreases in
agricultural production.
Given this information, there are a couple of points I would like
to make before I turn the podium over to our experts. First, I would
hope that there is no disagreement with the premise that Europe and
Africa are of critical importance to our national security. Similarly,
I hope there is no disagreement that climate changes and energy
issues are having, and are projected to have, continuing adverse
impacts on those interests. Secondly, I will also suggest that naval
forces, which are at the root of this symposium, have provided and
will continue to provide numerous capabilities in support of U.S.
national security interests. In fact, Captain Al Collins referenced
several of the capabilities ascribed to on Figure 5 in his description
of the Navy’s role in the Haitian Relief effort.
Now, if you are willing to buy into my premise, and I hope
you are, what then are the implications for naval forces from these
Climate and Energy Proceedings 2010
Figure 5. Implications for the U.S. Naval Forces
in Europe and Africa
changes? What actions are necessary today and in the near term to
maintain our capability? What future roles should our naval forces
be prepared to address? These are some of the questions that we
hope to address in our subsequent presentations and in our discussion. To address these issues, we have assembled a panel with
considerable experience in the theaters of operation.
1. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report,
Feb 2010, http://www.defense.gov/qdr/.