The project provides a model for US military involvement as energy policy shifts from expansionist logics to domestic security.
The geopolitical center of oil production is shifting from the Eastern Hemisphere, and will reach the point in the near future where the world’s oil is predominantly produced in the Western Hemisphere. This is due to the new technologies for retrieving oil in the West, such as ‘fracking’ or hydraulic fracturing in the Bakken shale, and for refining oil, mostly with the tar sands in Alberta, Canada. The project proposes a new militarized urbanism to account for the shift from an expansionist outlook to a focus on internalized security.
In November 2013, the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense held conferences and simulated an energy grid shutdown due to possible training attacks on a power substation in California. These simulations were meant to analyze weak points of attack and possible training procedures to prepare for a future large-scale attack. Through this simulation, the US government found out that the protocols in place are weak and that protection of the energy grid needs to be amplified, stating that an attack on only nine key plants throughout the country could cause all the nuclear plants to meltdown and could extremely cripple the United States.
Not only is there a need to secure our energy from international threats, but from internal monopolies as well. A recent article detailed the future of society based on energy resources alone based on a research paper titled ‘Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies’ by University of Maryland researchers Safa Motesharrei and Eugenia Kalnay, and University of Minnesota’s Jorge Rivas. In the article they detail that since the class system is being heavily divided, those with money will soon be able to control the world’s resources and in the end wipe out much of the population. Based on this prediction, there is a need for a non-biased control and monitoring of these energy resources. Programs within the proposed project then revolve around providing training and development to prepare, protect, enforce and preserve the energy futures of the United States.
Fort Riley is located on the border of Geary and Riley Counties in Kansas, between Junction City and Manhattan. The fort borders highly developed urban areas and sits on the confluence of the Republican and Kansas Rivers, atop one of the largest potable water sources for the state of Kansas. Not only does it have a high influx of population from around the country, it also is the largest military base along the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route. Besides being located 30 miles from the pipeline, it is also within an 80-mile radius to many electrical energy production plants within Kansas itself. Within these plants, there are many different types of energy production, including a wind farm, one of the largest coal generating plants in the Midwest, a natural gas production plant, a landfill ‘gas-to-energy’ plant, and a nuclear power plant. Many high voltage carrier lines run close to the site as well as natural gas pipelines. All of these energy resources also prove to be vulnerable in catastrophic events. Fort Riley is a large training base, and with its location around many possible weak spots for attack, make it a prime spot to create a training oriented facility for prepping the military for the shift to an internalized protection logic.
The program includes 5 different areas of preparing for the future. Each is located on its own level, ranging from the most secure operations at the bottom, below the ground, to the most public above. The pentagonal shape mimics the militarized building logic present from traditional military formal identity. Each floor has a main public trapezoidal space, 2 other spaces that house semi-public support spaces, and secret, highly militarized spaces.
The central space becomes different types of catastrophic scenarios for each program. On the lowest level are the training facilities. The central space is used as a mock city grid to train soldier in a real world environment and how to fight on a civilian front. Ammunition training, storage and fire prevention, and weapon development labs support the training program as well. The next layer up is reserved for the detention facilities. The central space takes on the role of preparing the military for large prisoner of war detention scenarios. The other spaces are a large courtroom for environmental trials, jail cells and prisoner recreation areas, and judge chambers and offices. Hydrology programs are at the next level. The center space is reserved for catastrophic flood and clean up training. Also on this level are a large-scale aquarium, water clean up and storage facilities, and navy SEAL training areas. The next level is the park level, which is devoted to welfare related programs. The main space trains the military in crowd control during large protests or major events. Programs on this level include public exercise facilities with an outdoor track and amphitheater, physical therapy and health facilities, and mental health facilities and testing labs. The final and top most layer has facilities related to research. The center space become training for hazardous energy failure. The ancillary spaces are reserved for new energy demonstrations, energy production spaces, and labs for new energy research.
Each main public space overhangs the central space and has visual relationships between each program. The areas that the programs take in the pentagon relate to the site. The training programs operate on the side that is the most internal on the base land. The detention facilities face away from the large civilian interface. The hydrology level positions itself in the area that floodwaters would first form in order to collect and utilize it, as well as to keep the site from flooding. The park level then orients itself in relation to the civilian/military interface and the research facilities are also positioned in close relation to the civilian interface. The programs also are positioned in this manner to camouflage the more secretive ones from above, and create a deceitful situation as to what is actually occurring below ground.