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Military Leaders Applaud Quadrennial Defense Review’s Approach to Climate Change

The_PentagonRELEASE: Military Leaders Applaud Quadrennial Defense Review’s Approach to Climate Change

Washington, D.C. — The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of retired senior military officers and national security experts, applauds the U.S. Department of Defense’s recently-released 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which includes considerable attention to the national security risks of a changing climate. Retired four-star Air Force General Ronald Keys, Advisory Board member at CCS, stated: “Just as you would expect, DoD continues to focus on action. Assess the threat, prepare for the consequences, mitigate the risks, and bottom-line: support the mission.”

CCS Advisory Board member Brigadier General John Adams, United States Army (ret), added: “DoD’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review appropriately emphasizes the national security implications of climate change, and charts a logical course to address the impacts of climate change on the operating environment and our defense installations.” CCS Advisory Board member Rear Admiral David W. Titley, United States Navy (ret) stated: “The 2014 Department of Defense Quadrennial Defense Review got it right with respect to climate change.  It correctly links climate change to energy, water and food security, rising sea levels, and addresses climate change as one of the primary global dynamics of the 21st century.  This is the adult way to think about climate change.”

Echoing the QDR’s assessment of threats to military installations, CCS Advisory Board member Lieutenant General John G. Castellaw, U.S. Marine Corps (ret), noted: “The future is likely to bring us more floods, more droughts, and more severe and rarely-experienced weather events – events that will threaten to inundate our coastal towns, cities and naval bases with seawater.”  He continued: “While the U.S. Congress is still locked in a partisan debate over climate change, the U.S. military is already taking a proactive approach to this national security threat.”

CCS Advisory Board member Sherri Goodman, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Environmental Security, concludes: “Secretary Hagel and his team recognize clearly that climate change is a threat multiplier, a concept first articulated by the CNA Military Advisory Board in 2007.  The QDR is clear that we need to prepare today to reduce risk to our forces tomorrow and to ensure DOD’s infrastructure and installations are resilient to rising sea levels and accelerating severe weather patterns.”

Military experts contend that climate change is likely to make other security risks worse, interacting in a mosaic of threats to U.S. national security. As the QDR states:

The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.

CCS applauds the Department of Defense for continuing to address the national security risks of a changing climate, and calls on U.S. policy-makers to follow the U.S. military’s lead.

Read the 2014 QDR:

Read a CCS summary of the climate change sections of the QDR:

To speak with a CCS expert and/or Advisory Board member on this topic contact Francesco Femia at

Related material: For the U.S. military, climate change is not political. The U.S. military has been planning for climate change impacts from as early as 2003, as expressed in this collection of documents.

1 Comment

  1. Vlad Fomin says:

    You – well done , focusing on the military. They are acutely sensitive to the dangers and threats for a long time in the subject of climate change. Once again, it is advisable to focus not on the training infrastructure for the dangerous consequences of climate change , but on stabilizing the climate and the reduction of existing risks to a minimum. IMHO, it is advisable to draw Sandia National Laboratories ( they – perhaps in the subject ) work to establish a climate stabilization technology . Last week I tried to ” swing ” model ( for the North Atlantic and Asia-Pacific regions ) in relation to Australia, New Zealand , the southern and western parts of the Pacific Ocean. However , positive results – not yet , as having problems getting reliable baseline data for the model. Especially in the South Pacific – a very complex and transient circuit currents and the powerful influence of the properties of Antarctica , are heavily dependent on the seasons.

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