Military Geology Should Be Upgraded as the U.S. Army Stands Down


Military geologists have provided essential but little-known military intelligence and combat engineer support to the U.S. Army since the grand days of Lieutenant Colonel Alfred H. Brooks' assemblage of U.S. Geological Survey personalities on the World War I western front. Regrettably, since 1918, active-duty practice of military geology and topographic engineering has been career-killing, and therefore most commanders do not establish such a technical proficiency. Germany found, at least by 1914, geologic knowledge to be essential to the advantageous commitment of troops. Works of German military geologists have never been equaled. Yon Bulow's Wehrgeologie (Berlin, 1938) today is a superior manual of military/engineering geology. Germany's superior use of military geology employed professional geologists, many of whom were leading academics, through its reserve forces structure. The authors advocate training of Army Reserve and Army National Guard military geologists, employed in a regular paid-drill augmentation to Regular Army combat units, down to maneuver battalion level, serving the Operations (S-3) Sections. These reservists should be treated in the manner of the health-science professionals and promoted as technical specialists rather than as troop leaders. The career ladder should run from second lieutenant to colonel, and the officers should be integrated through the Corps of Engineers.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Jan 1998