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New Report from the Pentagon – Geographic Combatant Commands Already Addressing Climate Change Threat

U.S._Unified_Command_Plan_Map_2011-04-06Washington, D.C. — The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of senior retired military officers and national security experts, supports the U.S. Department of Defense’s recently-released report to Congress “National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a Changing Climate.”

Significantly, the report highlights what the U.S. Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs) are already doing to address the climate threat. (more…)

Leon Panetta on Climate Security in the DoD, CIA and the Pope’s Encyclical

Secretary of Defense the Honorable Leon Panetta addresses service members at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marc I. Lane/Released)

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta addresses service members at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. (photo by Staff Sgt. Marc I. Lane)

Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency,  sat down with America Magazine, the National Catholic Review, to discuss “Laudato Si” the recent climate encyclical from Pope Francis. Panetta, a life-long Catholic with decades worth of work in the security and intelligence sphere, provided some interesting insights into how the two threads intersect in his life, including how he incorporated climate risks into his work while at the Department of Defense and the CIA. This isn’t, however, the first time Panetta has spoken on the issue. See “Secretary of Defense Panetta Reaffirms Climate Change as a National Security Risk” for more (2012). Here is the full interview. Below are excerpts specifically related to climate security.  (more…)

Climate Security Prominent in the Shangri-La Dialogue

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates addresses the audience during the 6th International Institute for Strategic Studies conference, the Shangri-La dialogue, in Singapore, June 2, 2007, Defense Dept. photo by Cherie A. Thurlby

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates addresses the audience during the 6th International Institute for Strategic Studies conference, the Shangri-La dialogue, 2007, Defense Dept. photo by Cherie A. Thurlby

The IISS Shangri-La Dialogue (14th Asia Security Summit), an annual gathering of Asia-Pacific defense ministers, military and civilian staff, just concluded on May 31. Most of the media attention was focused on exchanges between the United States and China over the South China Sea, but climate security found its way into a number of discussions, including the prepared remarks of U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. Ash Carter; Cirilo Cristóvão, Minister of Defence, Timor-Leste; Dr Fabian Pok, Minister for Defence, Papua New Guinea, and Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (and Vice-President of the European Commission). Several other officials also addressed the issue during the Q&A sessions.

Below are excerpts from the speeches. Perhaps equally as significant as where climate change was mentioned is where it was not. It is perhaps these parts of the discussion, including the plenary sessions on New Forms of Security Collaboration in Asia and Preventing Conflict Escalation, that provide an interesting look into how these discussions can continue to evolve to better incorporate climate security dynamics. In the Special Session on Energy Security Challenges in the Indo-Pacific Region, for example, climate change was not mentioned until the Q&A portion of the discussion.

On the other hand, attention to humanitarian assistance and disaster response was, appropriately, ubiquitous. Given that climate change is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of natural disasters in the region, future discussions on how to address these increased risks could potentially lead to additional opportunities for broader and deeper cooperation between Asia-Pacific nations. (more…)

Climate Security and the U.S. Pacific Command Posture: Strategic Long-term Challenges

Marines gather to listen to Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, speak aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

Marines gather to listen to Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, speak aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California. Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

On Thursday April 16, 2015, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea. Witnesses included Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III, USN Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. Admiral Locklear has been particularly concerned about the threat of climate change to the region, in the context of U.S. strategic interests (see here, here, here and here). Admiral Locklear’s written testimony for Thursday’s hearing reiterated those concerns. Below are excepts from Admiral Locklear’s testimony. The full testimony is available here, and a transcript of the hearing is available here. (more…)

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