When the U.S. Army gets very public about its concerns over the security implications of climate change, it might just be time for policy-makers to listen.
This past Monday, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and the Environment Katherine Hammack stated:
Although the effects of climate change alone do not cause conflict, they act as accelerants of instability, which influences our operating environment roles and mission.
As part of an effort to more robustly address these issues, the Department of Defense held a public meeting yesterday, June 18, in Fayetteville, North Carolina – the site of Fort Bragg – with senior officials from the Pentagon, the President’s Cabinet and local government. The topic: “the threat climate change poses to our national security and the local economy.”
According to the Operation Free website, the meeting participants included: “Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment; Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy (Ret.), the first woman to achieve the rank of three-star general in the Army; Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Town of Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey.”
Chris Rey, USA (ret) took to the OpEd circuit the day of the meeting, stating in the Fayetteville Observer:
As a retired major in the U.S. Army, I couldn’t agree more about the need to increase our climate preparedness. We must build up the resilience of our local communities and accelerate clean energy deployment. That’s why I am joining a group of active and retired military leaders and local officials in Fayetteville in calling for bold action to secure America with clean energy.
Basically, the security implications of climate change constitute both an international crisis, and a very local one – and it’s certainly not just environmentalists who think so. But there are opportunities inherent in the response to this threat which should be acted on immediately.