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U.S. Air Combat Command Assesses Climate Change Threats to the Air Force 

General Mikes Holmes

General James Mikes Holmes, Commander, Air Combat Command

By Mariah Furtek

According to Air Force Magazine, General Mike “Mobile” Holmes, Commander ​of Air Combat Command (ACC), recently tasked Air Force Weather forecasters with assessing the long-term vulnerability of Air Force assets to climate change threats. 

The 14th Weather Squadron focused on ACC’s main operating bases: analyzing the impact of high winds, wildfires, floods, extreme temperatures, severe weather, and instrument flight rule conditions on the 50-mile radius surrounding each base. Forecasters paid special attention to areas where temperature and altitude cause aircraft performance issues, an issue I recently covered in a briefer for the Center for Climate and Security. (more…)

Congressional Research Service: Military Installations and Sea-Level Rise

CRS_Sea Level Rise US MIlitary Cover Photo

By Marc Kodak

The Congressional Research Service recently released a two page In Focus report on sea level rise and military installations. The U.S. Department of Defense has over 1,700 installations that could be affected by sea level rise, with the potential to affect readiness and operations. The authors suggest that Congress might consider using their fiscal and national security authorities to determine how these installations are preparing to address sea level rise. (more…)

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: (more…)

Briefer: Climate Change Implications for U.S. Military Aircraft

Climate Change Implications for US Military Aircraft Cover PhotoBy Mariah Furtek

Climate change is radically altering the physical environment in the theater of conflict, making future military successes dependent on adaptation today. New research shows that climate change is reducing performance of U.S. military aircraft. As the environment grows hotter and more humid, military aircraft will not be able to carry as much payload or travel long distances without refueling. More missions will be cancelled or modified due to decreased aircraft performance on hot and humid days, which diminishes the U.S. military’s ability to project power and respond effectively to conflicts. (more…)

Army War College: The U.S. Military is “Precariously Underprepared” for Climate Change

US Army War College_Implications of Climate Change for the U.S. Army_2019_7By Mariah Furtek,

The United States Army War College recently released a report exploring the significant impact climate change will have on national security and U.S. Army operations, and offering a set of urgent recommendations. The second sentence of the report sets the stage immediately, stating “the Department of Defense is precariously underprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.” 

The report details the most eminent threats climate change poses to national security: severe weather events, mass migration, diminishing global freshwater supplies, changing disease vectors, Arctic competition, stress on the U.S. power grid and nuclear reactors, as well as sea-level rise.  (more…)

Admiral Phillips and Admiral Titley to House Budget Committee: The Security Costs of Climate Change

Rear Admiral Ann Phillips before the House Budget Committee_2019_7_26

Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, USN (Ret), testifies before the House Budget Committee, July 24, 2019

By Mariah Furtek

On Wednesday, June 24, the House Budget Committee held a hearing on the costs the U.S. is facing due to climate change and the resulting expenses for our security enterprise.  

Witnesses included Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, US Navy (Ret) and Rear Admiral David Titley, US Navy (Ret), both members of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board.  Witnesses focused on a wide range of climate change impacts on national security, coastal infrastructure, agriculture and public health.   (more…)

The New U.S. Department of Defense Leadership Team on Climate Security

Secretary Esper and General Milley

Secretary Mark Esper and General Mark A. Milley, USA

By John Conger

As the confirmation processes continue for both Mark Esper to become Secretary of Defense and General Mark A. Milley to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it is worth exploring what these officials have said and done about climate security in general, or particular aspects of it, while they’ve been in their current positions running the Army – including most recently during the confirmation process.

First, as Secretary of the Army, Dr. Esper submitted to Congress a top ten list of his most climate-vulnerable bases, focusing mostly on drought and desertification, and committed to “work closely with other leaders throughout the Department of Defense and with Congress to identify corrective actions and implement steps to enhance our readiness and capability in the face of climate related threats.” (more…)