The Center for Climate & Security

Climate and Security Week(s) in Review: Oct 1-14

AMO Black Hawk crew surveys damage in Hurricane Michael's wake

Warehouses destroyed by Hurricane Michael near Panama City, Fla., are visible during a flyover by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection air and marine operations crew, Oct. 11, 2018. Photo By: Glenn Fawcett

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.

  • Oct 14 -Air security and defense for the continental U.S. is being handled out of an “alternate location” after Hurricane Michael virtually destroyed Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., last week. via @starsandstripes


New USAID Report on the Double Burden of Climate Exposure and State Fragility


The Intersection of Global Fragility and Climate Risks, USAID 2018

By Joshua Busby, Ashley Moran, and Clionadh Raleigh

The security implications of climate change emerged as an important area of concern in the mid 2000s in both policy circles and academia. Since then, there has been much research exploring causal pathways between climate phenomena and violent conflict, often with mixed and complex results.

We sidestep that causality debate in our new report for USAID. Instead we focus on the intersection of climate exposure—that reflects exposure to climate hazards—and state fragility worldwide. We map the countries and places within them that face the double burden of high climate exposure and high state fragility. (more…)

Hurricane Watch 2018 – Michael takes aim at Florida and Georgia


Naval Support Activity Panama City, Fla. ordered a mandatory evacuation of all personnel ahead of Hurricane Michael, Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

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.

On the Florida coast, bases across the Florida panhandle are bracing for the storm’s impacts. (more…)

Finding Climate Change Between the Lines in the National Defense Strategy

ASP-National-Defense-Strategy-Report_Summary_PageBy 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…)

Chronology of U.S. Military Statements and Actions on Climate Change and Security: 2017-2018


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…)

Climate and Security Week(s) in Review: September 17-30


A soldier with the South Carolina Army National Guard assists Conway Fire Search and Rescue teams with rescue efforts in Conway, S.C., in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, Sept. 17, 2018. WILLIAM BROWN/U.S. ARMY NATIONAL GUARD

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 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. 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. via @busbyj2


How a Metastasizing Food Crisis Threatens Sudan’s Stability: A Dispatch from Khartoum


Vegetable Market – Khartoum Bahri-Sudan (2012) Photo by, Asim Al-Rasheed Al-Tom

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…)

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