By, John Conger
Less than a month after Hurricane Florence pummeled North Carolina, affecting military operations from Camp Lejeune to Fort Bragg and more, Hurricane Michael takes aim at a different part of the Southeast.
By John Conger
Earlier this year, concerns were raised by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress about the new National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy omitting references to climate change or its possible impact on our security situation.
Recent work by the American Security Project (ASP) shows that even though the National Defense Strategy does not call out climate change specifically, it is most certainly in there implicitly. ASP decided to look for climate change between the lines and concluded:
The 2018 NDS outlines how the operating environment is changing, highlighting “challenges to free and open international order and the re-emergence of long-term strategic competition between nations.”
Within this framework, we find that climate change will impact the national security of our nation in three main ways. First, climate change will undermine the existing international order. Second, at the same time, weak states will be more vulnerable to great power influence. And third, threats to the homeland will become closer to home and less concrete, allowing them to permeate our borders. As noted in the NDS, “the homeland is no longer a sanctuary.” (more…)
Since January 2017, 18 senior officials at the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) have raised concerns about, and recommended actions to address, the security implications of climate change, both due to its effect on military infrastructure, readiness and operations, and its broader geostrategic implications for the United States.
This includes Secretary of Defense, James Mattis; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul J. Selva; Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer; Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Joseph Lengyel; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment (IE&E), Lucian L. Niemeyer; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations, Energy, and the Environment, Phyllis L. Bayer; Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy, John Henderson; Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Glenn Walters; Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran; Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, General Stephen Wilson; Army Vice Chief of Staff, General James McConville; AFRICOM Commander General Thomas D. Waldhauser; Air Force Director of Civil Engineers, Major General Timothy Green; NORTHCOM/ NORAD Commander, General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy; Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, Alex Beehler; and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, General Robert McMahon. The DoD also produced a survey report on the matter in January 2018.
Below is a chronological list of written and verbal statements by these defense officials, as well as links to DoD reports and other government documents covering the climate-military nexus, that have been released during this Administration thus far. Each entry includes a link to its source, which includes more information and context. (more…)
Here are a list of notable headlines and comments on climate and security matters from the past several weeks. If we’ve missed any, let us know.
- Sept 30 – Thanks to climate change, ENSO’s impacts on temperature and wildfire will likely get stronger. https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/changes-enso-impacts-warming-world … via @NOAAClimate
- Sept 29 – Climate change is a national security issue. Here’s how the Naval Academy, like many military installations around the world, are preparing for sea level rise. https://t.co/7FTJwOwcUF via @DefendOurFuture
- Sept 30 -My new piece in Current Climate Change Reports taking stock of the field of climate and security and how to make it more policy relevant. https://rdcu.be/77ry via @busbyj2
By Peter Schwartzstein, Journalist in Residence
At 10am on a midweek summer morning, the village of Hasa in Sudan’s River Nile state feels all but abandoned. Stray dogs idle in the shade; vultures peck at what remains of a cow carcass. Only in the Nile-side fields, where a few elderly farmers labor, is there any kind of activity. “This is the time when we need to prepare the land. There should be more of us,” the head of the local agricultural association said. “But everyone’s stopped farming. It’s just not possible.”
The scene is similarly disconcerting at the Souk Al-Shaabi, the main market in Omdurman, just across the river from Khartoum. Vendors here struggle to sell anything other than their cheapest produce. Shoppers barter extra furiously, ultimately coming away with many fewer goods than before. At the souk’s entrances, growing crowds of beggars plead for alms – or at least the odd morsel of fruit or vegetable. (more…)
Sherri Goodman, Senior Advisor for International Security at The Center for Climate & Security, explains how climate change has become a geopolitical risk. She speaks with Bloomberg’s Alix Steel on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Americas” on September 26, 2018.
Watch the interview here:
Washington, DC – The Center for Climate and Security applauds the choice of Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, United States Navy (retired) to lead Virginia’s climate resilience efforts. Admiral Phillips will serve in a cabinet-level position as Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection. Admiral Phillips is a distinguished member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board, and has been a leading voice on the risks climate change poses to both military and civilian communities, particularly along the southeastern coast. Before joining the Center, she served for 31 years in the U.S. Navy, including as Commander of Destroyer Squadron TWO EIGHT and Expeditionary Strike Group TWO, as Senior Fellow on the Chief of Naval Operation’s Strategic Studies Group XXVIII, as Deputy Director and Director of the Surface Warfare Division, and as Co-Chair of the Surface Force Working Group in the Navy’s Climate Change Task Force and Energy Task Force.
In response to the announcement, senior national security and defense leaders from the Center for Climate and Security applauded the appointment. See their statements below. (more…)