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From the West Coast to Asia: Climate Risk, the U.S. Military, and the Asia-Pacific Region

San Diego_7553By Shiloh Fetzek, Senior Fellow for International Affairs

The Center for Climate and Security recently held a one-day event in San Diego to discuss climate change and security issues as they affect the Pacific coast. Pacific-facing military installations and communities confront a unique set of climate risks and resilience issues. Geostrategic dynamics around expanding US defense posture in the Asia-Pacific also have implications for local planning and infrastructure (e.g. housing and transportation). The missions which these installations support may be influenced by climate-related factors, including fragility risk and demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster response in the Asia-Pacific. At the same time, climate stressors in the Southwest such as drought, wildfires, storms and sea level rise impact area installations and have a bearing on military readiness and operational capabilities. (more…)

While World Leaders Gather to Talk Climate, DOD Steps Up Effort To Fight Wildfires

A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard conducts annual helicopter bucket training at Irvine Lake, Calif., April 5, 2014, to prepare for wildfire season

A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard conducts annual helicopter bucket training at Irvine Lake, Calif., April 5, 2014, to prepare for wildfire season

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Northern Command issued a press release yesterday announcing its continued assistance to support firefighting efforts in California. This is in addition to the on-going efforts by DOD and the National Guard throughout the summer. The press releases noted the following:

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., Sept. 22, 2014 – Two Department of Defense C-130 aircraft equipped with U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems and under the command and control of U.S. Northern Command will be assisting with wildfire suppression efforts in California and the Northwest Geographic Area at the request of the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, Northcom officials said in a news release issued yesterday.

The full release can be found here. (more…)

DOD Battles Western Wildfires Amid State of Emergency

A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard conducts annual helicopter bucket training at Irvine Lake, Calif., April 5, 2014, to prepare for wildfire season

A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard conducts annual helicopter bucket training at Irvine Lake, Calif., April 5, 2014, to prepare for wildfire season

On August 4th, from Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, U.S. Northern command released a news report on its support for battling wildfires. Today, NORTHCOM officials issued an update on their wildfire efforts, noting that:

Since July 20, DoD aircraft have conducted 76 airdrops and discharged more than 137,000 gallons of fire retardant.

Over the last 24 hours, officials said, DoD aircraft conducted two airdrops and discharged about 5,700 gallons of retardant on the Bald Sisters fire in Oregon. Over the same period, seven airdrops discharged about 11,600 gallons of retardant on the East Mountain fire in Idaho.

The supporting unit flying the MAFFS mission is the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, based in Cheyenne.

(more…)

Rats, Hawks and Fighter Jets: Climate and National Security in the American West

Lemoore, Calif. (Aug. 12, 2005) - F/A-18C Hornets, assigned to the "Vigilantes" of Strike Fighter Squadron One Five One (VFA-151), return to Naval Air Station Lemoore after a mission in support of Exercise Sentry Eagle. Sentry Eagle is a biannual, two-day exercise that emphasizes tactics for defending friendly airspace and assets from a variety of adversaries as well as exposing participants to multi-service military forces. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr. (RELEASED)The drought in California is taking its toll on farmers throughout the region, but the fallow fields are also having an unexpected impact on Naval flight exercises. Here & Now reports that pilots at Lemoore Naval Air Station in California, one of the west’s largest Naval bases, have found that fallow fields increase the prevalence of avian predators like red tailed hawks, and increase the likelihood of bird strikes. (more…)