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Military Leaders Respond: Congressional Testimonies on Climate Change, Energy and National Security

Pakistan Humanitarian AidRELEASE: Military Leaders Respond: Congressional Testimonies on Climate Change, Energy and National Security

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, is encouraged by testimonies delivered today to the Defense Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee by Edward Thomas Morehouse, Jr., Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Operational Energy Plans and Programs, Dennis McGinn, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Energy, Installations & Environment, and Daniel Y. Chiu, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, and Brig Gen Kenneth Lewis, Director of Trans-Regional Policy and Partnership Strategy, Joint Staff (J5). CCS also supports the testimony from Commander David Slayton, United States Navy (ret) before the U.S. House of Representatives Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Sub-Committee of the Transport, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Today’s hearings demonstrate that climate change will significantly affect all aspects of national and international security. As Assistant Secretary of Defense Daniel Chiu noted in his testimony: “The effects of climate change – such as sea-level rise, shifting climate zones, and more severe weather events – will have an impact on our bases and installations at home and overseas; on the operating environment for our troops, ships, and aircraft; and on the global security environment itself as climate change affects other countries around the world.”

CCS Advisory Board and CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board member Admiral Frank “Skip” Bowman, United States Navy (ret) noted in a video statement: “Whether it is in the Arctic, or in developing areas of the world that are already stressed by water and food security, or here in the U.S., we need to move out and better prepare our military and our nation to respond to the catastrophic projections of climate change. We cannot afford to wait.”

In response to the hearings, CCS Advisory Board member Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson, United States Air Force (ret) stated: “These hearings and the testimonies on Department of Defense determination to address the very real impacts of Climate Change on National Security follows closely on the heels of the just released CNA Corporation study by a Military Advisory Board of retired admirals and generals, the National Climate Assessment, the latest IPCC report and the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review.  All point to urgent action based on science, facts and risk management.  This deserves and must have strong bipartisan support.”

CCS Advisory Board member Rear Admiral David W. Titley, United States Navy (ret) added: “Compared to many other threats the Department of Defense faces, we know a lot about both the timing and the magnitude of climate change. As today’s testimonies make clear – the time for action is now.”

Highlighting the Department of Defense’s significant leadership on the issue, CCS Advisory Board member Lieutenant General John G. Castellaw, United States Marine Corps (ret), asserted: “Following up from the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, these testimonies show that climate change threats, like other threats to national security such as terrorism and nuclear weapons proliferation, are taken seriously across the Department of Defense – both the military and civilian leadership. Policy-makers need to respond with actions that are commensurate to the threat.”

Along similar lines, CCS Advisory Board member Brigadier General John Adams, United States Army (ret) said: “Our climate is changing, therefore our defense department must ensure we have the right mix of forces, equipment, doctrines, and policies to effectively operate in new climatic and meteorological conditions. Planning for the future battlespace – one that will be very different in the next decades due to climate change – is one of DOD’s most important missions. As a lifetime soldier, I am glad to know that DOD approaches this mission seriously.”

Addressing the issue of military installation security, CCS Advisory Board member Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, United States Army (ret) stated: “Thirty military installations in the US have already been identified as facing problems from climate change and sea level rise that could impact both their training utility and their ability to serve as launch platforms for our forces. Others, overseas, face similar challenges. The time to begin work on adapting the bases and their neighboring communities to deal with future conditions is now. Doing it later, when runways are flooded, roads are underwater, and training curtailed is too late and far more costly.”

In a joint statement, CCS Co-Directors Francesco “Frank” Femia and Caitlin Werrell concluded: “Today’s testimonies add to the chorus of voices within the military and national security establishment about the importance of addressing climate change. This has long ago ceased to be an environmental issue, and it never should have been a political issue. It’s simply a matter of national security.”

CCS applauds the Department of Defense for taking a leadership role on addressing climate change threats to national and international security, and encourages policy-makers to follow their lead.

Read the four Senate testimonies here:
 http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/hearings-and-testimony/defense-hearing-energy-security-and-research

Read the House testimony from Commander David Slayton, USN (ret) here: http://transportation.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2014-05-21-slayton.pdf

To speak with a CCS expert and/or Advisory Board member on this topic contact Francesco Femia at ffemia@climateandsecurity.org.

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. peter joseph says:

    I was appalled by the way the two climate denier witnesses, Curry and Steyn, treated Sen. Markey, loudly cross examining him with a flurry of nonsense — with the consent of the chair, Sen. Cruz. Admiral Titley behaved like a gentleman.

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