Skip to content

2023-2024 Spotlight Project: The Base Project

The Base Project will create tools for visualizing and evaluating the environmental implications of U.S. military bases around the world since the 1945. Our goal is to take the historic lessons that the Department of Defense (DoD) has accumulated across its vast, global base network and connect those legacies to contemporary issues of climate change and adaptation. Working with an interdisciplinary team from engineering, history, and the digital humanities, the Base Project is a promising new approach to identifying existing strategies and practices that can guide communities and policymakers as they plan for the effects of environmental change.  

The United States military currently operates over 1,200 facilities around the world. In addition, the DoD maintains a vast logistical empire capable of moving men and materials across this global network. Significant documentation exists on the ways that the military has interacted with the local environments across its global infrastructure; this not only includes evidence of environmental degradation, but also of remediation efforts and ongoing DoD efforts to plan for environmental change. Despite the wealth of historic and current environmental data produced by the U.S. DoD over the past 70 years, there is no place where this information can be easily accesses, visualized, compared, and evaluated. The Base Project will fill that gap by providing open-access tools that can be used by scholars, policymakers, communities, military officials, and more as they build strategies for dealing with the effects of climate change.  

The CIAWC will hold a workshop for the Base Project in the spring 2024, bringing together academics, policymakers, community members, and students to review the prototype tool, make plans for expanding the tool, and to workshop a final methods article on bridging humanities and resilience studies for policy impact.