Roll Call released a video recently featuring Center for Climate and Security (CCS) Director, John Conger, and CCS Advisory Board Member, Dr. Marcus King, exploring the question of whether or not the U.S. military is ready for a changing climate. Most of those interviewed for the piece, including Colonel Brian Laidlaw, Tyndall Air Force Base’s Installation Commander (who noted that they simply don’t have the money to repair half the buildings on the base that were damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018), suggested that the military has quite some way to go before it’s fully prepared.
John Conger noted that “every building on that base [Tyndall Air Force Base] was damaged in some way [by Hurricane Michael].” He later continued: “We’re going to start getting more and more flooding at these bases over time. The main road into Norfolk Naval Station floods several times a year. And, you know, in twenty years they’re expecting it to flood daily.”
Marcus King said: “The impact of climate change on infrastructure, especially military infrastructure, can be very expensive.” And: “It’s the military’s responsibility to prepare for these contingencies, and we can see that they’re happening.”
The video also highlighted the growing bipartisan consensus that climate change is real and should be addressed, featuring Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida, stating: “Climate change is real, it is affecting the military, and these are not things that you get a choice to believe in, or not believe in.” Democratic Representative from Rhode Island Jim Langevin also appeared in the short video, noting that 46 Republicans joined 188 Democrats in the last Congress defeated a proposed amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that identified climate change as a direct threat to national security.
Though the U.S. lags far behind in both preparing for and reducing the scale and scope of climate change, the silver lining is that policy-makers on both sides of the aisle have converged on an appreciation of its security risks, and the need to do something about it.
Watch the full video here.