African Environmental and Human Security in the 21st Century

by Helen E. Purkitt

About Helen Purkitt

Helen Purkitt is professor of international relations at the U.S. Naval Academy. She holds a PhD from the University of Southern California and directed the international relations graduate studies program at Texas Tech University before joining the USNA faculty. Dr. Purkitt is editor of the Annual Edition: World Politics series, co-author of South Africa’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, and serves as an expert for 60 Minutes and other media forums. She has published dozens of peer-reviewed monographs and articles, including several on African environmental security.


Madelfia A. Abb is a retired U.S. army lieutenant colonel who served in tactical to strategic levels military intelligence organizations. She served as the chair of the Department of Military Science at Seton Hall University and is a 2008 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Her research focuses on the application of living systems, complexity, and chaos theories, and she has co-authored published chapters and monographs focused on a holistic understanding of human security crises in Africa.

John Ackerman is an assistant professor of national and international security studies at the U.S. Air Force’s Air Command and Staff College. He is currently investigating the intricacies of a climate action plan for the Department of Defense and the challenges and opportunities for Air Force assistance to AFRICOM and Africans.

Brent C. Bankus is a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel with a background in Armor, Cavalry, and Infantry branches. He currently works in the National Security Issues group of the U.S. Army War College.

Jennifer Bath is an assistant professor of cellular and molecular biology at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. She is the director of research at the Concordia College Global Vaccine Institute (CCGVI), and her research focus is on neglected tropical helminth diseases.

Chad Briggs is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Environmental Security in The Hague (Netherlands), an assistant professor of international relations and environmental risk at Lehigh University, and a senior adviser for international security affairs to the US Department of Energy's Energy and Environmental Security Directorate. His work focuses on the connections between environmental conditions and international security, environmental health risks in post-conflict and post-disaster regions, and security impacts of climate and environmental change.

Stephen F. Burgess is an associate professor at the U.S. Air War College. His recent work focuses on US-Africa policy and US-Africa command, as well as the role of air power in Africa. He also works on US-India Relations.

Kent Hughes Butts is professor of political-military strategy at the Center for Strategic Leadership, U.S. Army War College. Dr. Butts has served as a strategic analyst in the Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College and taught at the U.S. Military Academy. He has also been a John M. Olin Postdoctoral Fellow in National Security at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. Dr. Butts is the author of The Department of Defense Role in African Policy and coauthor of Geopolitics of Southern Africa: South Africa as Regional Superpower. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and holds an MBA from Boston University and an MA and PhD in geography from the University of Washington. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College.

Mark Deets, USMC, History Department, U.S. Naval Academy is a U.S. Marine Major and a Foreign Area Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served as the U.S. Marine and Defense Attaché to Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde from 2005-2007.

Elisabeth Feleke is regional program manager for West Africa at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. She liaises and works with African regional organizations, military and civilian leaders as well as U.S bilateral missions in West Africa on regional security issues.

Dan Henk, a social anthropologist, is the director of the Air Force Culture and Language Center at the Air University and a retired army colonel. His military service included assignments in Asia, Europe, and accreditation as attaché to four African countries. His research ranges from defense budgeting and arms industries to emerging military roles and missions to human and environmental security. His most recent book is The Botswana Defense Force in the Struggle for an African Environment.

Laurel J. Hummel is a U.S. army colonel, an academy professor, and director of the geography program at West Point. She is the co-editor of Understanding Africa: A Geographical Perspective.

Cindy R. Jebb is a U.S. army colonel, professor, and deputy head in the Department of Social Science at the West Point. Her most recent book is The Fight for Legitimacy: Democracy Versus Terrorism, co-authored with P.H. Liotta, Thomas Sherlock, and Ruth Beitler.

Maxie McFarland is a career Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service (DISES) professional currently serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence for US Army Training and Doctrine Command TRADOC- G2. As such, he supports the Army as the lead proponent for the Operational Environment and the resulting integration for Army training, experimentation, and concept development. He also oversees the Human Terrain System program, the University of Foreign Military & Cultural Studies, the Foreign Military Studies Office, and the Joint Training CIED Operations Integration Center (JTCOIC) in support of the Army and sister services training and operations.

Luis Rios is a U.S. air force lieutenant colonel, and assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at West Point. His most recent publication is a coauthored book chapter on environmental security about the Sahel region of Africa in Understanding Africa: A Geographic Perspective(2009).

Anthony Turton is a research associate at the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cape Town. He is a special operations veteran and still serves as an instructor at the South African National Defense College for their Executive National Security Program, (which is a course requirement for the promotion of Colonel to Brigadier General) that is offered to various military formations across the entire African continent.


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