Midway through 1996, the United States Air Force announced the publication of what was termed the USAF 2025 report. Prepared by the 2025 Support Office at the Air University, Air Education and Training Command, and developed by the Air University Press, Educational Services Directorate, College of Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, the report was, to quote the military, “a study designed to comply with a directive from the chief of staff of the Air Force to examine the concepts, capabilities, and technologies the United States will require to remain the dominant air and space force in the future.”
One particularly intriguing sub-section of the report had the notable title of Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025. That’s correct: the U.S. military has been deep at work trying to determine if the manipulation, and outright creation, of harsh weather conditions – such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, and other forms of devastation that are normally ascribed to the rigors of nature – might be considered viable tools of warfare in the very near future. Such a scenario might sound like nothing more than a crazy pipedream. It most assuredly is not, however. In fact, it’s precisely the opposite.
According to the astounding words of the Air Force’s most learned- and forward-thinkers of the mid-1990s: “In 2025, US aerospace forces can ‘own the weather’ by capitalizing on emerging technologies and focusing development of those technologies to war-fighting applications. While some segments of society will always be reluctant to examine controversial issues such as weather-modification, the tremendous military capabilities that could result from this field are ignored at our own peril. Weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary."
The Air Force also noted: “The desirability to modify storms to support military objectives is the most aggressive and controversial type of weather-modification. While offensive weather-modification efforts would certainly be undertaken by U.S. forces with great caution and trepidation, it is clear that we cannot afford to allow an adversary to obtain an exclusive weather-modification capability."
The Air Force was not the only voice of officialdom expressing interest in, and concerns about, weather-modification technologies for specific use in warfare. On April 28, 1997, the then-U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, delivered the keynote speech at the University of Georgia-based Conference on Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and U.S. Strategy, and intriguingly warned the audience that there were powerful, shadowy forces out there who were “engaging in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of Electro-Magnetic waves. So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It’s real."
The big questions are: To what extent are such technologies not just theoretical? Have they already been successfully and clandestinely developed? And if so, are hostile nations targeting us for attack not via missiles and dirty-bombs, but via means and methods that allow for overwhelming plausible deniability, such as earthquakes, floods and tornadoes?
Before you write off such a controversial sci-fi-style scenario, remember those two significant words of former Defense Secretary Cohen, who said of such amazing and ominous technology: "It's real."