UPDATE: Chronology of U.S. Military Statements and Actions on Climate Change and Security: 2017-2018
Since January 2017, 19 senior officials at the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) have raised concerns about, and recommended actions to address, the security implications of climate change, both due to its effect on military infrastructure, readiness and operations, and its broader geostrategic implications for the United States.
This includes Secretary of Defense, James Mattis; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul J. Selva; Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer; Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Joseph Lengyel; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment (IE&E), Lucian L. Niemeyer; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations, Energy, and the Environment, Phyllis L. Bayer; Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy, John Henderson; Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Glenn Walters; Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran; Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, General Stephen Wilson; Army Vice Chief of Staff, General James McConville; AFRICOM Commander General Thomas D. Waldhauser; Air Force Director of Civil Engineers, Major General Timothy Green; NORTHCOM/ NORAD Commander, General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy; Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, Alex Beehler; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, General Robert McMahon; and most recently, General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The DoD also produced a survey report on the matter in January 2018.
Below is a chronological list of written and verbal statements by these defense officials, as well as links to DoD reports and other government documents covering the climate-military nexus, that have been released during this Administration thus far. Each entry includes a link to its source, which includes more information and context. (more…)
Four news stories were published today on the intersection of climate change and national security, and all are worth a read.
“Rising seas threaten Norfolk Naval Shipyard, raising fears of ‘catastrophic damage’,” by Nicholas Kusnetz of Inside Climate News, and also published on NBC News. The article features quotes from Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board members Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (Ret); Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret); and Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (Ret).
“Climate Change and National Security, Part I: What is the Threat, When’s It Coming, and How Bad Will It Be?” by Michelle Melton at the popular Lawfare blog. The article is part of a multi-part series, and does a great job of breaking down the basics of climate change and national security, and includes a link to our list of eighteen senior defense officials who have identified climate change as a national security issue. In fact, with General Joe Dunford’s recent statement, that makes nineteen. (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.
- Nov 18 – Kenneth Matheson, an unmanned aircraft system pilot with
@ArmyERDC, prepares his fixed-wing drone before a flight Nov. 17. Matheson and the UAS team were asked to deploy to Florida to support recovery operations following Hurricane #Michael
- Nov 18 – Lots of discussion about climate change in the 116th Congress – Here’s a look specifically at
#ClimateSecurity | Forecast: Climate Change and Security in the 116th Congress https://t.co/LZcQ3BMxKY
- Nov 18 – The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode Two with Rear Admiral Ann Phillips https://t.co/X5wytet6l0
In February 2018, the Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG) issued a report titled “A Responsibility to Prepare – Strengthening National and Homeland Security in the Face of a Changing Climate” which included a series of recommendations for the U.S. government. Among its recommendations, the CSAG supported Congressional direction in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to assess vulnerabilities to military installations and combatant commander requirements resulting from climate change. In that assessment, Congress directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to identify the ten installations per military service that are most vulnerable to climate change. That report is due on December 12, 2018.
Today, a little less than a month before that deadline, the CSAG is publishing a briefer offering context, advice and recommendations to Congress and the DoD regarding this report, and next steps on assessing and preparing for climate change risks to the nation’s military. Click here for the full report.
Welcome again to The Climate and Security Podcast!
In the second episode, host Dr. Chakraborty talks to Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board member, Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, U.S. Navy (Ret), about connecting the big picture existential threat that is climate change to its local level impacts on our daily lives. While most people don’t think about it day to day, residents of Hampton Roads, VA know all too well what climate change looks like in their community and what it could mean for communities worldwide. (more…)
California’s endurance of its deadliest wildfires in history continues. In recent days, attention has grown to potential effects from the fire hitting the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a site formerly used for nuclear and rocket-related research. The laboratory was partially burned as the fire tore through the site.
Most sites with nuclear or other highly dangerous materials have layers of measures in place to prevent fires from reaching sensitive areas—firewalls, a dirt or gravel radius devoid of all vegetation around key buildings, etc.—as well as systems to detect and extinguish fires when they occur. In the United States, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has fire-related requirements that it has changed over time in response to lessons from fires that occurred at nuclear reactor sites (though some questions on gaps in enforcement remain.) (more…)