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US Northern and Southern Command: Climate Change Impacts Our Area of Responsibility

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Admiral Craig S. Faller, USN, Commander of U.S. Southern Command, speaks to the House Armed Services Committee on March 11, 2020

By Dr. Marc Kodack

In case you missed it – on March 11, the Full House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on “National Security Challenges and U.S. Military Activity in North and South America.” Witnesses providing written statements and answering questions included the HON Kenneth Rapuano, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security, Admiral Craig Faller, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, and General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, Commander, U.S. Northern Command. In their conversations with committee members, the two commanders acknowledged that climate change is affecting their Area of Responsibility, or AOR.

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Depopulating Military Installations Because of Sea Level Rise

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The GAO’s Washington, DC Headquarters

By Dr. Marc Kodack

In case you missed it, an audit of the U.S. Department of Defense’s installation climate resilience from last year, conducted by the Government Accountability Office, found that “installations have not consistently assessed risks from extreme weather and climate change effects or consistently used projections to anticipate future climate conditions.” One of those conditions is sea level rise that will affect multiple coastal installations (see here and here). Sea level rise will not only affect the physical infrastructure on these installations, it will also potentially lead to the inland migration of portions of the populations who live in the surrounding communities – some of whom form part of an installation’s work force. Depending on how far away and how many  migrants move, their loss will degrade an installation’s ability to continue to function at an acceptable level over time. (more…)

Climate and National Security in the New “Solving the Climate Crisis” Report

Solving the Climate Crisis Report CoverOn Tuesday 30 June, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Committee on the Climate Crisis issued a landmark report on the threats that climate change poses to the United States. Based on thousands of testimonies, inputs and recommendations from all sectors and regions of the country, the report outlines concrete legislative steps that the Committee recommends be taken to confront the challenge. In response, John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security and former Deputy Comptroller of the U.S. Department of Defense, stated:

“We are pleased to see that the Committee’s report, “Solving the Climate Crisis”, recognizes the significant impacts of climate change on national security and includes several important recommendations in response.  Their recommendations align with those that the Center for Climate and Security has embraced in its Climate Security Plan for America and A Security Threat Assessment of Global Climate Change, and they build on the important bipartisan work of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.  We urge both the Administration and the Congress to continue prioritizing response to address this important national security threat.”

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John Conger and Alice Hill Call for a National Resilience Act

A Climate Security Plan for America_Report CoverIn a recent op-ed published in The Hill, the Center for Climate and Security’s Director, John Conger, and Board Member Alice Hill, call for a National Resilience Act requiring that all investments by the U.S. federal government be climate resilient.  This would entail ensuring that such investments undergo a “climate resilience review.” In short, all federal investments should be built to stand up against current and projected climatic changes.

Conger and Hill state that this law should be envisioned as part of a comprehensive nationwide “Climate and Security Infrastructure Initiative” – the kind outlined in the Center for Climate and Security’s Climate Security Plan for America. (more…)