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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…)
Roll Call released a video recently featuring Center for Climate and Security (CCS) Director, John Conger, and CCS Advisory Board Member, Dr. Marcus King, exploring the question of whether or not the U.S. military is ready for a changing climate. Most of those interviewed for the piece, including Colonel Brian Laidlaw, Tyndall Air Force Base’s Installation Commander (who noted that they simply don’t have the money to repair half the buildings on the base that were damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018), suggested that the military has quite some way to go before it’s fully prepared.
The Center for Climate and Security is pleased and honored to announce that General Charles F. Wald, US Air Force (Ret), has joined its distinguished Advisory Board of military and national security leaders.
General Wald is President of Jones Group Middle East (JGME). He is responsible for overseeing all of JGME’s business development and operations in the region. Prior to joining JGME, General Wald served as Vice Chairman, Federal Practice Senior Advisor, Deloitte Services, LP. He provided senior leadership in strategy and relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense as well as Deloitte’s Commercial Aerospace and Defense Clients globally. General Wald is a subject matter specialist in best commercial business practices, doctrine and strategy, military procurement and sustainment, counterterrorism, technology innovation and international energy security policy.
By John Conger
In 2017, the U.S. Congress directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a list of the installations in each military service that were most vulnerable to climate change. They gave DoD a year to do this work, as it wasn’t simple. The DoD would need to look across its enterprise, and determine how it would measure vulnerability and assess which risks were specifically from climate change. At the Center for Climate and Security, we published a briefer on the factors they might consider.
In early 2019, the DoD report was submitted to Congress, but it omitted the requested prioritization and had other puzzling gaps as well. It omitted the Marine Corps. It left out all non-US bases. It didn’t respond to Congressional questions about mitigation and cost. Instead, it included a list of 79 bases that the Department determined were its most critical, and then did a rudimentary assessment of the threat from climate change without prioritization. Congress directed them to go back and redo the work. (more…)
By John Conger
Extreme weather is an important face of climate change that is showing itself more and more frequently. Warming leads to storms with increased energy and increased precipitation, and that can lead to a lot of damage. That’s already the case. For the future, we can foresee that weather patterns will continue to change rapidly, storms will become more devastating, and that we should expect (and plan for) the unexpected.
This understanding and preparation is essential for the critical infrastructure of the United States, and the people who man and depend on that infrastructure. The last year has been particularly devastating to both civilian and military infrastructure, and there’s no way around that fact.
The Department of Defense (DoD), for example, is facing more than $8 billion in recovery costs to address extreme weather damage at Tyndall Air Force Base, Offutt Air Force Base, and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, installations that are very important for U.S. military capabilities and livelihoods. (more…)
Yesterday, on the heels of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on climate change and national security, the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, General David L. Goldfein, and the outgoing Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable Heather A. Wilson, spoke about the security implications of climate change during a posture hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In response to a question about the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s previous comments on the subject, General Goldfein highlighted the connection between climate change, extreme drought and the start of the Syrian civil war (an issue we first wrote about in 2012), and stated: “what Chairman Dunford was talking about was that we have to respond militarily very often to the effects, globally, of climate change.” Secretary Wilson also spoke about the importance of climate resilience at Air Force bases, as articulated in the Air Force’s recent infrastructure investment strategy, noting “We don’t leave our bases to fight. We fight from our bases. And so their resilience is very important.” (more…)