Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is currently in the middle of a tour meeting with 13 defense ministers from across the Asia-Pacific region. Part of the message he will be bringing with him involves the role that climate change plays in the security of the region. Just yesterday, military and defense leaders from our Advisory Board applauded Sec. Hagel for his attention to climate change at the ASEAN defense ministers meeting.
Following up on that meeting, Secretary Hagel has written an op-ed for Defense One where he also highlights the climate threat (emphasis added):
“…the United States military will continue to build new types of partnerships that tackle non-traditional security challenges more effectively. The military presence we maintain in the Pacific – including approximately 330,000 personnel, 180 ships, 2,000 aircraft, the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force and five Army brigades – provides unparalleled capabilities. But the kind of non-traditional security challenges that pose a growing threat to stability in the region, such as climate change, natural disasters and pandemic disease, cannot be resolved through military efforts alone. They require strong partnerships across military and civilian agencies, and with the private sector and non-governmental organizations. That’s why I am pleased that USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah will lead one of our sessions in Hawaii.”
We applaud Secretary Hagel’s leadership, and have made a similar call for joint defense, diplomacy and development efforts to build climate resiliency throughout the region.