Retired Brig. Gen. Chris King, Ph.D., (U.S. Army) will present a discussion on “Understanding the Threats to Peace and Security in the World from a Changing Climate” on Monday, Nov. 13, starting at 3:30 p.m. in the Jenkin and Barbara David Theater within Alumni Hall on Park University’s Parkville Campus. Admission to the event is free and open to the public.
In written testimony earlier this year for his Congressional confirmation as secretary of defense, retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis stated, “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.” King’s presentation will examine the factors that have led Mattis and other senior military officers and defense experts to the conclusion that climate change is a significant threat to U.S. national security. King will also discuss strategic environmental security research, which is the academic discipline that links key environmental issues to peace and stability in the world. In addition, he will present case studies of the Tibetan Plateau in central and east Asia and the Nile River watershed in eastern Africa will be presented to demonstrate the concepts of environmental security.
King was commissioned into the Ordnance Corps in 1972 after completing his Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering at Tennessee Technological University. In 1974, he completed his Master of Science degree in civil engineering (environmental) and entered active duty as a sanitary engineer in the Medical Service Corps. As a junior officer, King completed numerous assignments within the Army’s Preventive Medicine Program and the Army Corps of Engineers. He earned his doctoral degree in environmental engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1988. His next assignment was as chief of the Environmental Health Engineering Division, U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Activity-West, Aurora, Colo. In 1991, King deployed as the officer in charge of the Southwest Asia Health Risk Assessment Team., which determined health risk to U.S. troops exposed to the smoke from the Kuwait oil fires and supported the restoration of Kuwait.
In November 1991, King was selected to be an academy professor and program director of the environmental engineering program at the U.S. Military Academy. In 1998, Congress approved his presidential nomination to be professor and head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. In 1994, King was assigned to the Army Chief of Staff’s crisis action team for the Rwanda relief mission as the medical operations planner. In 2005, he was deployed to Afghanistan to the Office of Military Cooperation to assist in the development of the new Afghanistan Military Academy.
In 1992, King won the American Academy of Environmental Engineering Honor Award for his work on the Kuwait health risk assessment and the Army Science Award for outstanding research for his developments in geophysical subsurface remote sensing. In 2000, he completed a Master of Arts degree in national security and strategic studies at the Naval War College. King is a licensed professional engineer and is board certified by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers with a specialty in hazardous waste management. He is a founding member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change. He has authored two books, Environmental Engineering P.E. Examination Guide and Handbook, and Understanding International Environmental Security: A Strategic Military Perspective.
King retired from Army active duty in 2006, and earned the Distinguished Service Medal. From 2006-16, he served as the dean and chief academic officer of the Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he remains as dean emeritus.