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Cosmic Threats

A Planetary Response

Neville Brown has authored twenty books or major reports, including The Future of Air Power (1986). With the award-winning Future Global Challenge (1977) he began to give economic, social and ecological factors salience in the quest for a peaceable world. This thrust continued with New Strategy Through Space (1990) through to Global Instability and Strategic Crisis (2004) and History and Climate Change, a Eurocentric Perspective (2001), and continued with the informal trilogy: Engaging the Cosmos: Astronomy, Philosophy and Faith (2006); The Geography of Human Conflict: Approaches to Survival (2009); and The Bounds of Liberalism: The Fragility of Freedom.

Cosmic Threats: A Planetary Response calls for the progressive creation of supra-national institutions intended to protect life on Earth against natural threats, be these terrestrial (pandemics, super-volcanoes, major earthquakes …) or celestial (comets, asteroids, meteor storms …). The protection proffered would need to be pre-emptive though also responsive, reducing the number of adverse events but also their specific consequences. Rancid though the world scene currently looks, this may actually be a good time to look towards a planetary security programme that can build up over a century or more. It would need special international institutions that are sufficiently integrated to cope with the celestial and terrestrial contingencies anticipated yet not so much a class apart as to be a law unto themselves, a military regime able to ride roughshod over general world opinion. Such an holistic approach to planetary security might prove to be a definitive substitute for war between nations.

Professor Brown comes to such questions from a broad career background. His lead qualifications are a Masters degree from Oxford in Modern History and a Doctorate of Science from Birmingham (UK) in Applied Geophysics. He has been a naval meteorologist; staff college instructor; part-time but pro-active as a defence correspondent for several of the West’s leading journals; and political consultant. From 1980 to 1986, he was Chairman of the Council for Arms Control.

From 1993 to 1997 he worked half-time in the Sensors and Electronic Systems directorate of Britain’s Ministry of Defence. This was as the Academic Consultant in a small task force specifically created to advise the government of the day apropos what British policy to Strategic Ballistic Missile Defence should be. A declassified rendering of his 90,000-word report (published by Mansfield College, Oxford, in 1998) argued firmly against our going down this path. It could lead to a catastrophic arms race.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-770-4
Hardback Price: £35.00 / $55.00
Release Date: January 2017
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-771-1
Paperback Price: £22.50 / $34.95
Release Date: January 2017
Page Extent / Format: 160 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Prefatory Statement
The Author

1.   Legends and Realities
2.   Galactic Reconnaissance

Underlying Overviews
3.   Tough Centuries Ahead
4.    Planetary Confinement
(1)   Limited World War
(2)  Ambiguous Togetherness

5.  The Abrahamic Schism
(1)  Islam
(2)  The Holy Land

Space Age Progression
6.   The Thermonuclear Five
7.    Skyward Progression
(1)  Muscovite Adjustment
(2)  The Chinese Heritage
(3)   China Ascendant

Space Age Encounter
8.   Terrestrial Belligerence
(1)  Near Space 
(2)   Regular War
(3)  Insurgency and Proliferation
9.   Near Earth Objects         
10.  Celestial Engagement
(1)  Strategic Command
(2)  Operational Applications

Cosmic Spearhead
11.  Emergent Priorities
12.   The Cosmic Setting

Appendix A: The Geostrategic Structure
Appendix B:  Earthquakes and Volcanoes


Despite detecting ‘a simmering sense that acting as a [political] representative is a most unrepresentative thing to do’, Neville Brown remains an optimist at heart. Out of danger emerge opportunities. Terrestrial conflicts force former adversaries to make common cause. Similarly, he argues, the need to protect the planet from ‘Near Earth Objects’ could gradually bind together the nations of the world. For more than half a century, Professor Brown has shared his visionary insights – on strategy, history, deterrence, geopolitics and cosmology – both within academia and beyond. This elegantly written and attractively produced volume shows that, in his mid-eighties, he has lost none of his flair for weaving the lessons of history into original blueprints for the future betterment of mankind. Long may he continue to broaden our horizons!
Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis MP
Chairman, Defence Select Committee

The author argues that the planet needs to prepare for threats from Near Earth Objects like comets, asteroids, and meteors and that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council should lead the creation of a Cosmic Command to defend against them as well as terrestrial disasters. He discusses the role of space reconnaissance, possible changes on Earth in the next two centuries, the nuclear threat, the place of religion in an emergent planetary culture, wars and conflicts, other problems and threats to the Earth, and the role of a Cosmic Command.

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