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The Greening of the U.S. Military

Environmental Policy, National Security, and Organizational Change

By the Cold War's end, U.S. military bases harbored nearly 20,000 toxic waste sites. All told, cleaning the approximately 27 million acres is projected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. And yet while progress has been made, efforts to integrate environmental and national security concerns into the military's operations have proven a daunting and intrigue-filled task that has fallen short of professed goals in the post-Cold War era.

In The Greening of the U.S. Military, Robert F. Durant delves into this too-little understood world of defense environmental policy to uncover the epic and ongoing struggle to build an environmentally sensitive culture within the post-Cold War military. Through over 100 interviews and thousands of pages of documents, reports, and trade newsletter accounts, he offers a telling tale of political, bureaucratic, and intergovernmental combat over the pace, scope, and methods of applying environmental and natural resource laws while ensuring military readiness. He then discerns from these clashes over principle, competing values, and narrow self-interest a theoretical framework for studying and understanding organizational change in public organizations.

From Dick Cheney's days as Defense Secretary under President George H. W. Bush to William Cohen's Clinton-era-tenure and on to Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon, the battle over "greening" the military has been one with high-stakes consequences for both national defense and public health, safety, and the environment. Durant's polity-centered perspective and arguments will evoke needed scrutiny, debate, and dialogue over these issues in environmental, military, policymaking, and academic circles.

About the Author

Robert F. Durant is professor of public administration and policy at American University. He has received numerous research awards, including the 2000 Best Book Award from the Public and Nonprofit Division of the Academy of Management; the Gladys M. Kammerer Award for the best book on U.S. national policy from the American Political Science Association; and the Charles H. Levine Memorial Award given jointly by the American Society for Public Administration and the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration. He is a fellow in the National Academy of Public Administration.


"A wonderful book. Durant's opus is a must read for scholars, policy practitioners, and students of government and organizational behavior."—Review of Policy Research

"[The] insight, organization, and analytic rigor of Durant's book could not be clearer or more compelling. This is an important and well crafted piece of high-quality scholarship. Anyone with an interest in environmental policy and or organizational change will learn a great deal from this work."—Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory

"The book is a powerful case study of an institution (the military) with a long and storied history of how that institution responded to change."—Public Organization Review


"For those who may have formed impressions of the Pentagon's progress, or lack thereof, in becoming greener, this highly readable and accessible book is an indispensable resource."—Kent E. Portney, professor of political science, Tufts University

"The Greening of the U.S. Military helps to add energy, depth, and luster to academic studies of policy history, bureaucratic politics, and public management."—Michael Barzelay, professor of public management, London School of Economics and Political Science

"A highly significant contribution to analysis and understanding of organizational change in government."—Hal G. Rainey, Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor, The University of Georgia

"A very well-written book describing the attempts to instill a 'beyond compliance' environmental culture in the military and the forces that shape these efforts. In short, no book is as up-to-date and extensive or as theoretical. The scholarship is superior."—Denise Scheberle, professor of public and environmental affairs, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

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