Operational Environment


Indeed, it seems military dominance is now predicated on a technological superiority of accumulating spatial environmental information.14  This belief, irrespective of whether true or false, has legitimized the expansion of the technological architecture of the US military to develop persistent means of imaging, measuring, and visualizing the entire globe in anticipation of future military engagements.15  In so doing, the diversity of the earth’s ecosystem and all life is necessarily reduced to “identifiable self-present identities” easily categorized and defined as potential targets.16  In conjunction to this, there is a growing acceptance of characterizing the biophysical nature of the planet as at risk and in need of intervention. Climate change casts the environment as both threatened and as a threat.17  In this way, the language of terror and security is extended beyond the urban physical environment without geographic restriction.18  The ecological crisis of climate change is poised to extend the state of emergency enacted by the American government post 9/11, and to become both universal and permanent.19  The normalization of this condition will put in place a framework within which any threat to global capitalism and national sovereignty shall be defined as of military concern and a target for preemptive action and control.20  Global warming by human-induced climactic change thus sets the environment to be defined as either recalcitrant in its commitment to supplying resources or worse yet, to be defined as an aggressor, within a paradigm of terrorism, for its ongoing deployment of natural disasters.


This combination of an unrelenting ‘informationalizing’ and projective management has transformed the environment in military terms from being a theater in which to wage war to being itself an operational target.


Fionn Byrne, “Operational Environment,” in Tatum Hands (eds) LA+ Journal: Tyranny, (ORO Editions, 2016): Forthcoming.