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Military and National Security Leaders Criticize Decision to Shut Down U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change

Rear Admiral Jonathan White USN_Ret_Climate Security Podcast

Rear Admiral Jon White, USN (Ret), led the U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change from 2012-2015

According to E&E News, the United States Navy has ‘quietly stood down its Task Force Climate Change (TFCC), created in 2009 to plan and develop “future public, strategic, and policy discussions” on the issue.’ The decision is not getting good reviews from the Navy leader who started the task force, and the national security leader who valued its work. While the TFCC was never meant to exist forever (the nature of a task force is to perform a task and then disband), the Center for Climate and Security’s Rear Admiral Jonathan White, U.S. Navy (Ret), who led the TFCC from 2012 to 2015, highlights the fact that the goal of the task force was to fully incorporate climate change into the U.S. Navy’s decision-making processes, and that this simply hasn’t happened yet. From the article:

“Across all of [the Department of Defense], it is hard for me to see that climate change is taken as seriously at it should be,” said White, who is currently president of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “The task force ended, in my opinion, without full incorporation of climate change considerations.”

Further, the Center for Climate and Security’s Alice Hill – former senior director for resilience on the National Security Council – highlighted the fact that after 10 years of the TFCC’s work on the issue, no report on its accomplishments were released at its conclusion, which runs contrary to the problem-solving nature of a task force.

Normally, Hill said, when a task force ends, “there will be a culminating report that says now all of the activities the task force has either have been completed or taken to other areas.”

Admiral White blames it on the White House’s aggressive climate denialism (which has targeted the national security and intelligence communities this year), and Navy leadership not wishing to be targeted.

“They don’t want to get targeted by the administration; it’s a battle they don’t want to fight,” he said.

The fact that political pressure is preventing the U.S. military from doing its job of assessing all risks to the United States, including climate change, should be deeply worrying to all Americans.

Read the full article here.




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