Food Price Volatility, Rebel Groups, and Civilian Victimization in Sub-Saharan Africa

March 2019 No Comments

Food Price Volatility, Rebel Groups, and Civilian Victimization in Sub-Saharan Africa

Speaker: Landis, S. (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

Date: 27 March 2019

Speaker Session Preview

SMA hosted a speaker session presented by Dr. Steven Landis (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) as a part of its SMA General Speaker Series. First, Dr. Landis presented three questions that motivated his research: 1) A broad question: “What are the potential concerns for the US military due to the second-order effects of climate change?”; 2) a specific question: “How does food insecurity impact rebel group capabilities and patterns of violence in conflict zones?”; and 3) a question about the future: “What happens in conflict zones if food insecurity becomes further exacerbated by climate change?” Dr. Landis stated that food insecurity has received a lot of attention lately, and this attention is expected to be exacerbated into the future. He then spoke about his prior post-doc research, as well as the JP 3.0 Notional Joint Combat Operations Model, to provide context for his presentation. Both of these projects attempted to identify and examine the “unknown unknowns,” i.e. what US decision makers had not been considering with regards to military operations challenges they may face in the 21st Century. He stressed the importance of considering and assessing these non-obvious linkages to conflict, such as climate change. He then explained that food insecurity is likely to be impacted internationally and spoke about a few instances of commodity price swings since 2007. Dr. Landis discussed his findings after examining a variety of academic literature on the subject, highlighting that increases in food insecurity seems to lead to a shift in rebel capabilities and motivations, which in turn leads to increased civilian victimization. He then explained why he and his team decided to use Africa as a test case and outlined their research design. To conclude, Dr. Landis presented two of his team’s primary results and reviewed their key takeaways.

Speaker Session Audio File

To access a recording of this session, please email Ms. Nicole Omundson (

Download Dr. Landis’s Biography and Slides


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