Welcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!
In this episode Joan VanDervort, Member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board and former Deputy Director for Ranges, Sea and Airspace in the U.S. Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), talks about how climate change impacts military training and readiness. Joan pulls from her extensive career in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to explain how training is the cornerstone of readiness. Climate factors, like intense rainfall impacts on infrastructure and increased heat causing trainee and soldier hospitalizations, pose serious risks to training and ultimately to the ability to successfully carry out military missions. Joan also discuss how the DoD tracks the migration of diseases as well as the health of military personal going into combat. Tune into this episode for insights into military readiness that can only come from decades of experience as a civil servant.
E-International Relations recently conducted a great interview with the Center for Climate and Security’s Senior Strategist, the Hon. Sherri Goodman, where she talks about both the unprecedented risks we face in today’s age, as well as the unprecedented foresight that technological developments have given us. An excerpt:
The most exciting current research and debates on climate security are occurring in three inter-related areas: First, the emergence of the “Responsibility to Prepare” concept, developed by the Center for Climate and Security, is enabling both deeper research and more consequential action on the unprecedented risks and unprecedented foresight we face in the climate era. We now live in an era of unprecedented threats from climate change, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, cyber attacks, hyper-nationalism and other disruptive trends. At the same time, we have access to unprecedented foresight from technological advances in improved predictive capabilities, data analytics, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, virtual reality and other advanced technologies. As we acquire capabilities to better predict alternative futures, we have a responsibility to prepare for these unprecedented risks.
This is a crosspost from the New Security Beat.
By Ladeene Freimuth
Until recently, if a natural disaster destroyed or damaged critical infrastructure, U.S. disaster relief law generally required it to be replaced or rebuilt in a “substantially similar” manner. This requirement made no sense for several reasons. In some cases, old, outdated infrastructure no longer exists, so replacing it in the same manner would be difficult, if not impossible. (more…)
For the third time during the current U.S. Administration, climate change was included in the annual 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community released by the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Consistent with threat assessments and memoranda from the National Intelligence Council and CIA during both the GW Bush and Obama Administrations, the assessment raises concerns about the national security implications of a changing climate. This demonstrates a strong bipartisan consensus regarding the security risks of climate change.
Reiterating a point we make each year when the Worldwide Threat Assessment is released, given that climate change acts as a “threat multiplier” – multiplying existing threats in the security environment – one cannot contain the threat to the specific sections described below. For example, climate change is likely to have a significant impact on health security, as included in this year’s assessment, as well as nuclear proliferation, which is covered separately in the threat assessment. It may contribute to the conditions that allow for terrorism, or international organized crime, to thrive. It may also make mass displacements of people, instability, conflict, and atrocities, more likely. Climate change influences the entire geostrategic landscape. In that sense, one could walk through the entire threat assessment report and identify ways in which climate change will intersect with nearly every risk identified, and in most cases, make them worse. (more…)
Here are a list of notable headlines and comments on climate and security matters from the past several weeks. If we’ve missed any, let us know.
Top Line Highlights
– UN Security Council Debate on Climate Security (here)
– US Department of Defense report to Congress on Climate Risks (here)
– US National Intelligence Strategy and Climate Risks (here)
– New Climate and Security Podcast Episodes with Francesco Femia, Caitlin Werrell & Sherri Goodman (here)
– Record-breaking heatwave in Australia (here)
By John Conger
On January 22, Dan Coates, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released the 2019 National Intelligence Strategy, outlining priorities and objectives for the intelligence community over the coming years.
In the Strategic Environment section, the DNI addresses changes that are defining the increasingly complex global environment. After discussing traditional adversaries and evolving threats in new domains such as space and cyber, he talks about the strains that governments are feeling and how they may incite violence. He specifically cites climate changes as a key pressure point that will challenge the capacities of governments around the world. (more…)
By John Conger
In the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the U.S. Congress asked the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide a report on “vulnerabilities to military installations and combatant commander requirements resulting from climate change over the next 20 years.” That report was delivered to Congress yesterday, prosaically-titled Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense.
The first sentence in the “background” section of the study is worth noting. It reaffirms that the DoD continues to take climate change seriously, as it has across four administrations, both Republican and Democrat. The sentence reads: “The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense (DoD or the Department) missions, operational plans, and installations.” (more…)