General Carter F. Ham, Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday on the security challenges the U.S. faces in Africa. He addressed a number of issues, including environmental and climate security, in response to questions regarding recommendations in a recently released report by the Defense Science Board Task Force on Trends and Implications of Climate Change for National and International Security.
General Ham stressed the importance of environmental and climate security issues for African states, highlighting planned actions “involving as much as 30 different African states that will have as a component of that exercise, response to an environmental disaster of some sort, mostly water-related.” The general also touched on AFRICOM’s need for subject matter experts (namely water experts) to address climate and water-related environmental disasters, such as drought – citing past assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey. Lastly, he stressed the need for a whole-of-government approach to these issues, involving AFRICOM, USAID, the State Department, and non-governmental organizations.
Click here for a full video of yesterday’s testimony (a transcript should be up soon). The comments regarding environmental and climate security begin at 94:57.