By Alan W. Dowd

America's Natural Security

A new report from the Center for a New American Security warns that a number of “natural resource challenges” are impacting U.S. national security. “In the 21st century, the security of nations will increasingly depend on the security of natural resources, or ‘natural security,’” according to the CNAS report. These include:

  • Dependence on hydrocarbons for energy, which empowers unstable and sometimes hostile Middle Eastern regimes as well as Russia;
  • Dependence on minerals mined overseas, including minerals essential to automotive manufacturing and cell phones; many of these are plentiful in China and/or in countries China has heavily invested in; and
  • Dependence on water for basic human needs and for farming.

Read the report at cnas.org.

Talking Turkey

With Thanksgiving upon us, there’s no better time to celebrate the center of attention.

  • 97 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
  • Turkey consumption has increased 116 percent since 1970.
  • Only 29 percent of the turkey we consume is eaten during the holiday season.
  • The average weight of a Thanksgiving turkey is 15 pounds.
  • U.S. farmers produced 271 million turkeys in 2008.
  • There are an estimated 45 million turkeys eaten each Thanksgiving.
  • Oddly, June—not November—is National Turkey Lover’s Month.

Source: University of Illinoishttp://urbanext.illinois.edu/turkey/facts.html

’s Changing Coalition

2003     150,000 U.S. troops + 25,000 troops from 37 other countries

2007     430,000 Iraqi security forces + 171,000 U.S. troops + 11,500 troops from 20 other countries

2009     589,000 Iraqi security forces + 130,000 U.S. troops

Sources: Brookings Institution, Associated Press, Reuters

As a contributing editor to The American Legion Magazine, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.