Army Defers to NGO, Signs Treaty

The “U.S. Army and The Conservation Fund to Sign National Memorandum of Understanding.”

If you hurry, you can be there to witness the treaty signing by the “Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, and Mr. Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund.”

These two gentlemen will “announce a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and The Conservation Fund to promote the effective and balanced management of water resources, conservation of wildlife habitat and cultural resources, and sustainable development of communities.”

I am informed—by confidential sources—that there will be photo “opportunities”, so bring your cameras.

Where to go? 2000 Half Street Street, Washington, DC, which is the Earth Conservation Corps’ Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center. This is not, for my non-military readers, an Army base. 11 am Friday, 22 January.

Now, unless that agreement runs along the lines of “Stay out our way and you won’t get hurt”, then the Army has no business signing a faux treaty with any non-governmental organization.

The next thing you know, the Navy will be courting the Sierra Club to give up its noisy ships. Don’t scoff! There are plenty of malcontents who are making this very claim. Seems whales don’t like the sound of passing aircraft carriers. Spinning propellers induce in them—just as the Beatles induce in your author—a severe case of the willies.

The good news is that those carriers run off nuclear fuel and this have a very low carbon impact. The Navy should get Greenpeace to issue a joint press release to this effect. It will cheer the hearts of environmentalists everywhere.

I can just imagine the news stories of the future, once our enlightened military is fully in place.

“The general explained the defeat and staggering loss of life by claiming he could not attack the enemy because he was hiding in a protected wetland.”

It’s still worse than you know. Other groups are “against” the military use of depleted uranium slugs because…well, because they are nuclear. A very scary word. Which is why I don’t think Greenpeace will go along with my previous idea.

Obviously, the Army should limit the damage it causes. It should be made to think about its actions. But it must not be beholden to anybody but its Commander in Chief and Congress.

Stay tuned for updates. I have contacted the Army’s PR group to discover the text of the agreement. If they tell, I’ll post it here.

Update Eugene Pawlik A HQ02, the Army press guy, told me the text of the agreement won’t be made public until tomorrow.

Update Friday. The text of the agreement is not available, but it is summarized at the Conservation Fund’s website.

Among some of what our Army will do is “Promote innovative, effective responses to climate change that will maintain healthy water resources and associated natural communities;”

Finally! Some real weaponry in the battle against global warming.


  1. 49erDweet

    You sly fox, you. Making all this stuff up, eh? What an inventive mind you statisticians have. Obviously this could not be really happening, else the Army big-wigs would be considered mad as hatters, and laughed right out of their five-side building by the ones without stars on their collars – the ones who actually do the work.

  2. gcb

    I don’t know about the US military, but I can tell you that, during my most recent bout of training as a reservist in the Canadian military, we had to be very cognizant of the potential for fuel spills and their resultant possible harm to wildlife. (This on a base that was used to test Agent Orange in the 60s!)

  3. I especially love these agreements that can’t be made public before they’re signed.

    The good part, though, is that it can’t have legal force, being as the Deputy SECARMY isn’t Congress.

  4. Jesus. With a halflife of 4.5 billion years, and a specific radioactivity of about 12 kBq/g, U238 is about 50 times as radioactive as random native granite. Slightly less “hot” than the local granite we have in buildings here in Colorado; we have a lot of pitchblende around here.

  5. Chuckles

    @Charlie Martin,

    You’d think the ‘depleted’ bit would be a dead giveaway wouldn’t you?

    But no, it’s got the dreaded word ‘nucularh’ in the description, and this causes an instant common sense scram in most of the western population.

  6. Briggs


    The Army is not in the business of upsetting anybody, after all. Think of the possible hurt feelings!


    Is it a coincidence—or devastating mental slip—that you used the word scram in your comment?


    Then again, maybe I’m becoming paranoid. A quantum burst of 540 nm radiation just hit me upside the head. And you know what that means.


    Speaking of the radiation I just mentioned to Charlie: the Bush administration knows all about this kind of phenomenon and they did nothing to stop it!


    I wish I could claim that kind of creativity.

  7. leg

    The environmentalists, with politician complicity, are worming their way into goverment business with these sorts of MOU’s. Frankly it is scary. There is no accoutability and the government agency is hamstrung.

    Briggs: 540 nm, huh? You zapping yourself with a laser these days?

    Charlie: not sure where you are coming from with the uranium comment, but do you know that you ingest about 1-2 ug per day (0.3 pCi or about 1000 disintegrations per day) of uranium? Probably a little more if you are hiker like I am here in Colorado. The dirt here tastes so good here when cooked over an open fire.

  8. JH

    … nuclear. A very scary word.

    “I agree,” Sarah Palin said. She laughed, glad Briggs felt comfortable enough to joke with her. (I didn’t make up these words; see them for yourself on page 228 of her memoir.)

    I cannot help it since Mr. Briggs is going rogue here.

  9. bill-tb

    BJ Clinton signed the Kyoto treaty and look what that did.

  10. Google TNC + Army. The financial ties between NGO’s like The Natural Conservancy and the US military are deep. $Billions in “national defense” funds have gone into the pockets of enviro groups. It’s just one more scam to rob you of your wealth and property. TNC and Goldman Sachs are virtually one and the same, btw. This is old news to those of us who deal with land and water issues in the West.

  11. schnoerkelman

    But this isn’t the Army really, this is the Corp of Engineers. Why aren’t we worried about the fact that the Guv-mint is running around building things using the Army? And since they ARE building things in the US perhaps it does make sense to take some care of how and where things get built? I’ve got some broken levies that come to mind.

    Time to take off the silly hats and get back to Real Stuff my dear Mr. Briggs (should it be Dr.?). I love your stats pieces and read everything here but sometimes it gets a little over the top for my taste.

  12. Briggs


    I agree with you that some of my material less good than others. Or, to put it more truthfully, some of it stinks. Like this Army piece did. I am working on it.

    However, a couple of points my favor. The press release highlighted the fact it was the “Army” and the not the Corps of Engineers. And like I said, of course the Army should be held responsible for any damage it creates, and that it should plan in advance to mitigate that damage.

    But its master should be the president and the Congress that oversees the Army. It should be Congress that creates the law which states “The people might not, but the Army might, in such and such circumstances, roll into this swamp.” It should not be an NGO—a NGO which is freely allowed to lobby Congress and the president for the rules it desires.

    I’ll work on saying this better still.

    But, thanks.

  13. DAV

    Briggs: “A quantum burst of 540 nm radiation just hit me upside the head. And you know what that means.”

    If you’re driving it could mean you’re good to go.
    The eyes have it nearly to the max.
    Envious I’s as well.

    I’m beginning to turn green.

  14. Chuckles

    “Is it a coincidence—or devastating mental slip—that you used the word scram in your comment?”


    Coincidence definitely, anything else it would have to be peer-reviewed.

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