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Assistant Secretary of Defense Niemeyer: Climate Plays Pivotal Role in Military Mission

USS AlbanyOn July 18, 2017 the Senate Armed Services Committee held a confirmation hearing for Lucian L. Niemeyer, the next Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment (IE&E), who ultimately received unanimous support from the Committee. Mr. Niemeyer’s comments on climate change, both in written responses to advance policy questions, and during the hearing, supported the strong commitment Secretary of Defense James Mattis has made to addressing climate change-related risks to the U.S. military’s mission. Here is a link to the full hearing video (question and response on climate change begin at 1:04:00). Below is an excerpt from Mr. Niemeyer’s written answers to advance policy questions on climate change, and an excerpt from the hearing itself.
Advance policy questions [excerpt]:

Climate Change

[Q] Secretary Mattis stated to the Committee, “where climate change contributes to regional instability, the Department of Defense must be aware of any potential adverse impacts,” “climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” and “the Department should be prepared to mitigate any consequences of a changing climate, including ensuring that our shipyards and installations will continue to function as required.” The report accompanying the Committee-passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 directs the Department to conduct a comprehensive threat assessment and implementation master plan on the risks and vulnerabilities to Department missions and infrastructure associated with climate-related events.

Do you share Secretary Mattis’s views on climate change?

[A] Yes, the climate plays a pivotal role in DoD’s ability to execute our missions. The
Department has always considered risks from climate related effects such as high winds, precipitation, extreme temperatures and drought to mission readiness and execution. As Secretary Mattis has stated “the Department should be prepared to mitigate any consequences of a changing climate, including ensuring that our shipyards and installations will continue to function as required.”

[Q] Do you agree that the Department should be prepared to mitigate any consequences of a changing climate?

[A] I agree that the Department must be prepared for extreme weather, but in the long run DoD must plan now to ensure it can meet future mission requirements to remain a ready and resilient fighting force. If confirmed, I will work with the Military Departments to ensure our facilities and installation plans appropriately consider the impact of a changing climate.

[Q] Do you commit to delivering in a timely manner to the congressional defensecommittees the required comprehensive threat assessment and implementationmaster plan on the risks and vulnerabilities to Department missions andinfrastructure associated with climate-related events?

[A] Yes. If confirmed, I will ensure that the comprehensive threat assessment and
implementation master plan is submitted to Congress in a timely manner.

Confirmation hearing – question and response on climate change beginning at 1:04:00 [excerpt]:

Mr. Niemeyer: Secretary Mattis has passed on the desire to want to make sure that we’re incorporating what’s going on around the world with climate change into our operational plans, and I fully plan to support that, and to what extend we can prepare domestically as well for what’s happening with the climate and the environment.

 

 


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