The Center for Climate and Security’s Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission, 2nd Edition concludes that sea level rise risks to coastal military installations will present serious risks to military readiness, operations and strategy, and includes new information regarding military installation vulnerabilities, including to the energy and transportation infrastructure that these installations depend on. The Panel includes retired flag and general officers from across the Armed Services: General Ronald Keys, USAF (Ret), Lieutenant General John Castellaw, USMC (Ret), Vice Admiral Robert Parker, USCG (Ret), Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, USN (Ret), Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (Ret) and Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, USA (Ret).
The Military Expert Panel Report asserts that policies and plans for addressing climate change risks must go beyond military infrastructure resilience, to include the resilience of surrounding civilian infrastructure, as well as the resilience of military operations and strategy in the face of these rapid changes. The authors recommend that policy-makers support comprehensive and preventive measures to address increasing risks from sea level rise. Recommendations include:
– Continuously identify and build capacity to address infrastructural, operational and strategic risks
– Integrate climate impact scenarios and projections into regular planning cycles
– Make climate-related decisions that incorporate the entire spectrum of risk projections
– Model catastrophic scenarios and incorporate into planning and war gaming exercises
– Work with international counterparts at key coastal bases abroad
– Track trends in climate impacts as uncertainty levels are reduced
– Maintain close collaboration with adjacent civilian communities
– Continue to invest in improvements in climate data and analysis.
Click here for the full report.
Release event video w/ General Ronald Keys, USAF (Ret); Vice Admiral (Ret) Robert Parker, USCG (Ret); Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (Ret); Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, USA (Ret); Hon. John Conger; Joan VanDervort:
Quotes from the Military Expert Panel (February 26, 2018):
“This report update asks the questions: ‘How bad could it be, could we operate through that, and if not…then what?’ The answer is that climate change is already presenting significant risks to military infrastructure, will continue to do so throughout this century, and if we don’t make some changes, will make the military’s job much harder. The next questions to answer are: ‘How long will it take to prepare for these risks, and how much will that cost?’ It’s past time we answer these questions, and start making the necessary investments. From a military perspective, we have a responsibility to prepare for this threat, just as we do other threats to national security.” – General Ronald Keys, USAF (Ret), Member of the Military Expert Panel, the Center for Climate and Security
“The Department of Defense intuitively understands it has a ‘responsibility to prepare’ for sea level rise, increased storm surges, wildfires and other climate change-related effects. Risks to military readiness, operations and strategy are concrete and already occurring. The military’s practical, clear-eyed and consistent approach to this challenge, across both Republican and Democratic Administrations, is a testament to its apolitical nature, and should pave the way for a continued bipartisan path forward on addressing the security risks of climate change.” – Heather Messera, Military Expert Panel Chair, the Center for Climate and Security
“Sea Level Rise and extreme weather adaptation and resilience for the Department of Defense requires a “whole of government and community” approach, both inside and outside the fence line, across the full extent of federal, state, local government and society writ large. DoD takes this ‘responsibility to prepare’ seriously – the threat is real – but it can’t do it alone, and it has no time to waste.” – Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips, USN (Ret), Member of the Military Expert Panel, the Center for Climate and Security
“Planning military infrastructure without considering climate change, especially coastal infrastructure and sea-level rise, is akin to steaming a ship into port without considering the water depths on the chart. We’re smarter than that, and we must demonstrate it. Our military prides itself on information based decision-making at every level, from the tactical to the strategic, and the decisions involving climate change are no different. Just like we do with navigation charts, we must consistently demand and invest in better information to inform our decisions, but as indicated in this report, the information at hand is clear and compelling – we are not sailing blindly! With that information at hand, we have a clear responsibility to prepare for this risk.” – Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (Ret), Member of the Military Expert Panel, the Center for Climate and Security
“Sea level rise is threatening our coastal installations and can jeopardize their ability to carry out their essential missions. To fulfill a responsibility to prepare, these installations and their neighboring civilian communities must be supported in their efforts to adapt their critical infrastructure over time to meet these growing challenges.” – Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, USA (Ret), Member of the Military Expert Panel, the Center for Climate and Security