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Home » climate and security » Army Assistant Secretary Nominee on Whether or Not Climate Change Affects the Military: “Absolutely.”

Army Assistant Secretary Nominee on Whether or Not Climate Change Affects the Military: “Absolutely.”

Alex Beehler

Alex Beehler, nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, August 22, 2018

On August 21, Alex Beehler, the nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, was asked by Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed during a confirmation hearing about whether or not he agreed with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ s view that climate change affects the military mission. His response was unambiguous:

“Absolutely. Echoing what General McMahon just said, and if confirmed, from my position I will do everything to encourage installations and help direct installations to properly prepare on a case by case basis for both adverse weather and effects long-term from climate.”

Senator Reed also asked the same question of retired General Robert McMahon, the nominee for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, who also noted that he agreed with Secretary Mattis’ view on climate change.

Mr. Beehler and General McMahon join sixteen other senior military leaders under this Administration that have expressed their commitment to address the effects of climate change.

Read the full exchange below (begins at 53:43 in the recorded hearing):

Senator Reed: I mentioned before that the GAO has done a study that has indicated that the Department of Defense spent over $1 billion dollars simply in military construction recovery from hurricanes and other climate effects. Do you agree with Secretary Mattis’ views that climate effects have an impact not only on the institutional forces, but also national security – droughts in Somalia. Start with Mr. Mc Mahon.

Robert H. McMahon: Senator, our military has faced weather extremes throughout its history, and the adverse impact of that we saw last year. But we’ve seen it as a military officer in the Southeast a number of times. Each year we prepared for the hurricanes that would come through. So, yes I agree with Secretary Mattis that weather can and does have an adverse effect on our ability to accomplish our mission. Risk mitigation is the preparation to ensure that we are ready for that. And if confirmed, I will continue to ensure that we are as ready as possible.

Alex Beehler: Absolutely. Echoing what General McMahon just said, and if confirmed, from my position I will do everything to encourage installations and help direct installations to properly prepare on a case by case basis for both adverse weather and effects long-term from climate. I understand that there is a report obligation coming out of the NDAA that was just passed that requires each of the services to do an assessment and a master plan impact. And if confirmed I will ensure that that effort of assessment and master plan impact is complete, comprehensive and delivered on time.


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