On the heels of the Department of Defenses’ updated Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board members General Anthony Zinni, USMC (ret), former commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, General Ron Keys, USAF (ret), former commander of U.S. Air Combat Command , and Admiral Frank “Skip” Bowman, USN (ret), the former director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program and the deputy administrator for Naval Reactors in the NNSA, wrote an Op-ed titled: “The US military refuses to be ‘too late’ on climate change.” The Op-ed was picked-up by over 30 newspapers across the United States and globally.
It begins by drawing on sage advice from General Douglas MacArthur:
More than a year before the United States formally entered World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur warned that “The history of failure in war can almost be summed up in two words: Too late. Too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy. Too late in realizing the mortal danger. Too late in preparedness. Too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance.”
Today, as we pass another global heat record, we run the risk of being too late on climate change, endlessly debating causes at the expense of sensible actions. Just as we have underestimated recent threats, such as the Islamic State and a revanchist Russia, we are in danger of underestimating those threats that follow a changing climate.
The authors also draw on their combined experience in preparing for a wide range of security risks to emphasize the need for being more prepared for climatic risks:
As former military leaders who operated in a wide variety of unstable, climate-stressed environments, on land, on water and underwater, we know these are not hypothetical concerns. That’s why the Pentagon’s recommendation that climate change considerations be integrated into guidance to combatant commanders is the kind of forward-leaning action we should expect across the U.S. government.
Here is a link to the full Op-ed, which originally appeared in Stars & Stripes.