Population Growth: The Radical Religious and the American Military

By Stephen D. Mumford, DrPH | 25 February 2017
Church and State

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This excerpt has been adapted from our Chairman Dr. Stephen D. Mumford’s book, American Democracy and the Vatican: Population Growth and National Security (1984). The book is available at Kindle here and to read for free here.

The Radical Religious and the American Military

Of all of my concerns, the greatest are the implications of overpopulation for the security of our country. As the two thousand scientists at the 1968 AAAS meeting stated, the pope’s “deeds promote war and make poverty inevitable.” How is the United States preparing militarily for this new threat and what are the Vatican’s activities to thwart those preparations?

In the August 1981 issue of Military Review, the U.S. Army’s leading military journal, there is an article by LTC John G. Wilcox, study director for International Programs at the U.S. Army Concepts Analysis Agency in Bethesda, Maryland. The article, “Military Implications of the Global 2000 Report,” was the first ever published in a U.S. military journal on the implications of overpopulation for U.S. military preparedness—and the last. It began:

Despite changing social and scientific trends which indicate a vastly different threat environment in the year 2000, the Army continues to structure and train its forces for conventional war on the plains of Europe. Even “contingency” missions such as those associated with the Rapid Deployment Force are in terms of conventional battle as we knew it in World War II and as we perceive it will be in Central Europe…. The war in Vietnam affected the military psyche to such an extent that there has been no serious analysis of the lessons of that war, and what was written of Vietnam has been discreetly purged from the military history books….

The Army has become too inflexible in its rigid adherence to the concepts of fighting a mechanized battle in a sophisticated conventional war of the future. Rather than preparing our Army to defend the United States and our national interests, this fixed strategic model limits U.S. power to apply force in differing situations in differing areas of the world. This article examines some specific demographic trends that indicate a vastly changed world situation in the future in which our Army may be called upon to defend this nation in ways beyond today’s comprehension.

The recently published Global 2000 Report contains some very stark realities and serious military implications….[37]

I was gratified to see this interest in the military implications of overpopulation because of my conviction that full acknowledgment of the overpopulation problem would come when military analysts became involved.

For more than a decade, I had given much thought to the subjects discussed by Wilcox in his article. So, too, had my colleague, General Dennis Hapugalle, of the Sri Lanka Army. We had discussed our military experiences, which coincided with those predicted by Wilcox, and decided to prepare an article reflecting our views for Military Review. The article was entitled “Population Growth and the Security of Nations” and was summarily rejected by the editor-in-chief with the comment that our article “does not fit into subject areas scheduled by the journal.” We were astounded. Wilcox’s article was probably the most important and relevant ever published by this journal. There were no follow-up articles or discussions whatsoever.

In a letter replying to Malcolm Potts, dated October 21, 1981, Wilcox summed up the reaction to his article:

The subject of population control requires a great deal of study. I am not sure if the armed forces are willing to acknowledge the implications of current projections. I must tell you that the only feedback I have received has been from the media, politicians, and academics. There has been no official interest expressed by any military official.

Discussion by the U.S. Defense Department of the military implications of overpopulation have been completely suppressed. There is only one reason: such discussion would seriously threaten the survival of the Vatican. Catholic Action, Opus Dei, and the Knights of Malta operate in the U.S. military just as they do in all other areas of American life. Military analysts, their superiors, and their publishers are all intimidated by this Vatican-inspired Catholic network.

General Alexander Haig, former secretary of state, experienced what happens even when such a high-ranking person steps forward. During his Senate confirmation hearings, Haig had supported the Carter National Security Council’s position:

I think perhaps the largest, the most pervasive problem by which mankind will be increasingly wrenched is our declining ability to meet human needs in the areas of food, raw materials, and resources, counterpoised against what are clearly rising expectations of growing populations. I think this is the grist from which many of the controversies in the period ahead will evolve.[38]

Haig no doubt infuriated the Vatican with this statement.

(Credit: Yavuz Sariyildiz / Shutterstock.com)

According to his own account, he was forced out of the Reagan administration by Catholic colleagues. He maintained his support for the Carter Council position until after his departure from the Reagan administration. Eventually, he realized that he was finished politically unless he recanted. This he did on March 6, 1983. He had become a senior fellow at Herman Kahn’s Hudson Institute which produces “research findings” that inevitably agree with the Vatican position on everything. He stated:

I think the basic approach of Herman Kahn and his colleagues at Hudson, which I share, is that our young people have been plagued with a series of Malthusian assessments for an extended period. This was perhaps exemplified by the Club of Rome report in 1978, and subsequent studies done under President Carter, which suggested to our youth that they’re going to inherit a nation that’s run out of energy, food, and jobs. But the data suggest precisely the opposite: not an excess of labor and a shortage of jobs, but a shortage of labor as early as 1985 which will be rather severe by 1990. So our young people are going to inherit a nation of great opportunity….[39]

Catholics in the military who seek promotion must similarly respond to the needs of the Vatican. Military officials avoid this new threat to our security because their advancement, like Haig’s, depends upon it. After all, pursuit of this line of thinking is “offensive to the Holy See.” Instead of facing up to these realities, everything is blamed on “the communists.” And our military prepares almost exclusively for a war with the “Russian communists” on the plains of Europe.

In June 1983, former President Carter, in an address to the Global Tomorrow Coalition, sharply criticized the Reagan administration for its handling of overpopulation problems. He also accused Reagan of ignoring poverty and oppression in El Salvador in pursuit of military aid:

It is tragic indeed for our leaders to ignore these clear warning signals and to allege that they are just the result of ill-advised foreign political decisions or a communist plot against us.[40]

If discussion of the military implications of overpopulation were not suppressed, there would be a deafening clamor rising from the military. As a group, these men and women are the most exposed of any occupational group in America to the effects of overpopulation. It was during my own military experience in Korea in 1969 that I first recognized the obvious serious implications of overpopulation for the security of all nations. Signals abound. For example, in Morocco, more than 240 people were killed in food riots in January 1984.[41] India has announced it will build a barbed wire fence around parts of Bangladesh after four thousand illegal aliens were beaten to death in February 1983.[42] In the United States, refugee settlement organizations (the largest, of course, is Catholic) receive almost four times as much money as all Immigration and Naturalization Service law enforcement programs combined.[43] However, all signals are being ignored.

The military role in dealing with the problem of overpopulation is certain to be vast in the future, and an appropriate role has been described in an earlier text.[44] Indonesia, which has the most effective program for a country with a large rural population, other than China, uses its military to assist in providing family planning services. True American conservatives must be concerned about the total lack of such military preparedness in our country.


[37] LTC John G. Wilcox, “Military Implications of the Global 2000 Report,” Military Review (August 1981).
[38] From testimony given by Alexander Haig in Senate hearings concerning his confirmation as secretary of state which were held in March 1981.
[39] B. Bradlee, Jr., “Al Haig on White House Predators, Lebanon, Foreign Policy, and Carter,” Chapel Hill Newspaper (March 6, 1983), p. 10.
[40] C. Peterson, “Carter Denounces Reagan’s Record,” Washington Post (June 3, 1983), p. A-1.
[41] “Food Price Increases Rescinded After 240 Reported Dead in Riots,” Raleigh News and Observer (January 23, 1984), p. 3A.
[42] “India Plans to Fence Out Bangladesh Immigrants,” Raleigh News and Observer (January 23, 1984), p. 3A.
[43] “Refugee Act to be Reauthorized,” FAIR Immigration Report (1983), 4:10:1.
[44] S. D. Mumford, Population Growth Control: The Next Move Is America’s (New York: Philosophical Library, Inc., 1977).

Dr. Stephen Mumford is the founder and President of the North Carolina-based Center for Research on Population and Security. He has his doctorate in Public Health. His principal research interest has been the relationship between world population growth and national and global security. He has been called to provide expert testimony before the U.S. Congress on the implications of world population growth.

Dr. Mumford has decades of international experience in fertility research where he is widely published, and has addressed conferences worldwide on new contraceptive technologies and the stresses to the security of families, societies and nations that are created by continued uncontrolled population growth. Using church policy documents and writings of the Vatican elite, he has introduced research showing the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church as the principal power behind efforts to block the availability of contraceptive services worldwide.

In addition to his books on biomedical and social aspects of family planning, as well as scientific articles in more than a score of journals, Dr. Mumford’s major works include American Democracy and the Vatican: Population Growth and National Security (Amherst, New York: Humanist Press, 1984), The Pope and the New Apocalypse: The Holy War Against Family Planning (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Center for Research on Population and Security, 1986), and The Life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will Doomed a U.S. Population Policy (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Center for Research on Population and Security, 1996).

During the formative years of the World Health Organization (WHO), broad consensus existed among United Nations member countries that overpopulation is a grave public health threat and would be a major cause of preventable death not too far in the future. One of the founding fathers of the WHO, the late Milton P. Siegel, speaks to Dr. Mumford in 1992. He explains how the Vatican successfully stymied the incorporation of family planning and birth control into official WHO policy. This video is available for public viewing for the first time. Read the full transcript of the interview here.

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