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What Would a Climate-Focused Defense Budget Look Like?

John Conger talks to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on climate threats to the U.S. military – April 25, 2019

By John Conger

Every Administration makes changes to the draft budget they receive before it is submitted to Congress, and there’s every reason to expect that to be the case with a President Biden.  The budget is supposed to be submitted by the first Monday in February, but that deadline is rarely met.  Incoming Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush submitted their budgets in April, while President Barack Obama submitted his first budget in May.  In this window, changes get made to better reflect the priorities of the incoming Administration.

While there has been a lot of talk about cutting the defense budget under a Biden Administration, it doesn’t seem particularly likely.  The major great power threats and emphasis on modernization and readiness will remain.  However, one of the key priorities of President-Elect Biden has been climate change, and it is reasonable to expect that priority to be reflected in his first budget request. 

What would a climate-focused defense budget look like?  See my op-ed in Defense One, which discusses recommendations from our Climate Security Plan for America, and how that roadmap recommends that the security risks of climate change be emphasized within the Department of Defense.

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