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 the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) recently-released 2014 Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP), which states: “Climate change is predicted to affect the Department in many ways, including direct effects on installations and indirect effects on regional stability, particularly those regions of the world already prone to conflict.”
CCS Advisory Board member Rear Admiral David W. Titley, United States Navy (ret) noted: “It is encouraging to see the Department of Defense recognize that building climate resilience can help both bolster military readiness, and advance the Pentagon’s goal of preventing conflict. There are concrete steps we can take to make the world a less insecure and dangerous place, and the SSPP offers some of those steps. Though the hardest choices have yet to be made, this is a welcome start.”
In a joint statement, CCS Co-Directors Francesco “Frank” Femia and Caitlin Werrell agreed: “The SSPP shows that the Pentagon is committed to climate change resilience as a means of both protecting its own infrastructure, and preventing more instability in an already unstable world. This is not about bugs and bunnies. It’s about national security.”
The SSPP draws a direct connection between climate resilience and the DoD’s climate prevention goals outlined in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). As the SSPP states: “…to the extent DoD can share sustainable practices with partner nations, international resilience in the face of climate change is being built. This resilience can contribute to the Department’s goal of conflict prevention as outlined in the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review.”
And as highlighted by DoD News, sea level rise is already threatening military infrastructure, including in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. According to John Conger, Acting Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Installations and Environment: “We see recurrent flooding today, and we are beginning to work to address a projected sea level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years.”
CCS applauds the Department of Defense for taking the initiative to address the strategic, operational and readiness risks climate change poses, including risks related to instability and conflict, and encourages policy-makers to follow suit.
Read the 2014 DOD SSPP: http://denix.osd.mil/sustainability/upload/DoD-SSPP-FY14-FINAL-w_CCAR.pdf
To speak with a CCS expert and/or Advisory Board member on this topic contact Francesco Femia at ffemia at climateandsecurity dot org.
Related material: The U.S. military has been planning for climate change impacts from as early as 2003, as expressed in this collection of documents.