March 25, 2021

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National Security 

U.S. Marine Corps

This month, Marines trained to execute a Networked Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) spanning five separate Pacific islands. The exercise successfully demonstrated integrated operations to seize and defend key maritime terrain, provided low-signature sustainment, and executed long-range precision fires in support of naval operations. Comment: EABO is an operational concept to address challenges created by potential adversaries (Russia or China) who possess the advantages of geographic location, weapons system range, precision, and capacity. These operations can be replicated on any Indo-Pacific island ensuring joint operations, lethal response capability to crises and contingencies with partners throughout the region. It also enables an ability to sustain Marine Corps operations for as long as the maritime forces needs them to secure controlled access points along sea lines of communications. (Sources: Commander INDO Pacific, USMC)

Defender-Europe-21

an annual large-scale U.S. Army Europe and Africa-led, multinational, six month long, joint exercise begins this month. More than 30,000 multinational forces from 27 nations will conduct nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas in a dozen countries. This operation is mostly focused this year on the Black Sea and the Balkans but will also use key ground and maritime routes bridging Europe, Asia, and Africa. The exercise incorporates new or high-end capabilities including air and missile defense assets, as well as assets from the U.S. Army Security Force Assistance Brigades and the recently reactivated V Corps. Comment:  After nearly 20 years of expeditionary operations in the Middle East region, the skills and capabilities necessary to mass U.S. forces onto the European continent and transit them to the front lines have arguably atrophied. Defense-Europe exercises enable U.S. forces to develop those skills while simultaneously identifying and developing solutions to operational and logistical issues in Eastern Europe that might slow a rapid response. The large-scale movement of troops and equipment involves extensive support from each of the host nations, demonstrating the importance of ally and partner investment in European military readiness and defense against an expansionist Russia. (Sources: U.S. Army Europe and Africa, Congressional Research Service)

Environment

Alien Species

Established alien species numbers per continents are predicted to increase from 2005-2050 by 36 percent. Strong increases are projected in Europe followed by Temperate Asia, North America, and South America. Damage from invasive species totals five percent of the global economy. The annual U.S. cost from invasive species is estimated at $120 billion affecting more than 100 million acres (about the size of California). Comment: These projections provide a first baseline for the assessment of future developments of biological invasions. The predicted increases in alien species numbers would be expected to slow with additional government regulations aimed at preventing alien species incursions. It has been shown that targeted biosecurity efforts can reduce the numbers of new alien species becoming established. However, a significant decrease in rates of alien species numbers on a large scale can only be achieved by a coordinated attempt across political borders. (Sources: Seebens H, Bacher S, Blackburn TM, Capinha C, Dawson W, Dullinger S, Genovesi P, Hulme PE, van Kleunen M, Kühn I, Jeschke JM, Lenzner B, Liebhold AM, Pattison Z, Pergl J, Pyšek P, Winter M, Essl F. Projecting the continental accumulation of alien species through to 2050. Glob Chang Biol. 2020 Oct 1. doi: 10.1111/gcb.15333. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33000893., Maine.gov)

Air Pollution

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched Clean Air Catalyst, a new flagship program to combat air pollution. Through this program, USAID will work with local communities — starting in Indore, India and Jakarta, Indonesia — to better understand local pollution sources and identify, test, accelerate, and scale solutions for cleaner, healthier air. Poor air quality increasingly threatens urban livability, damages lungs, fuels climate change, increases allergen sensitivity, and leads to diminished worker productivity. More than six million people die each year from causes related to air pollution, with nearly 80 percent of deaths occurring in low-and middle-income countries. Comment: Cities are at the frontlines of this growing health and climate crisis. If air pollution goes unchecked, increases in urban ground ozone will rise and lead to increased hospital and emergency room admissions and premature death. (Sources: USAID, CDC, EPA) 

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