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U.S. Congress Continues to Address Climate Change in Defense and Intelligence Legislation

Rain_on_Capitol_Hill

By John Conger

In the final version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress included multiple important climate security provisions that will significantly increase Department of Defense (DoD) installations’ resilience to climate change. This continues a tradition of bipartisan cooperation on including climate change provisions in the NDAA, including during the last and current Congress (including the FY2018 NDAA, which identified climate change as a “direct threat” to national security. This year’s bill includes a number of significant steps forward, such as funding for climate resilience projects, and the creation of a Climate and Security Council within the Intelligence Community (a long-standing priority for the Center for Climate and Security). Below is a summary of the climate security provisions in the final version of the NDAA. (more…)

Hearing: 4 Defense and Service Assistant Secretaries Highlight Climate Change Risks to the Military

Assistant Secretary McMahon

The Honorable Robert H. McMahon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, October 16, 2019

By Marc Kodack

On October 16, 2019, the House Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities and the Subcommittee on Readiness held a joint hearing on “Resiliency of Military Installations to Emerging Threats.” Witnesses providing statements and answering questions included the HON Robert McMahon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment; the HON John Henderson, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy; the HON Alex Beehler, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment; and the HON Lucian Niemeyer, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment. All highlighted climate change-related risks and/or its effects to their respective military installations in both their written statements and answers to multiple Member’s questions during the hearing. (more…)

Admiral Phillips and Admiral Titley to House Budget Committee: The Security Costs of Climate Change

Rear Admiral Ann Phillips before the House Budget Committee_2019_7_26

Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, USN (Ret), testifies before the House Budget Committee, July 24, 2019

By Mariah Furtek

On Wednesday, June 24, the House Budget Committee held a hearing on the costs the U.S. is facing due to climate change and the resulting expenses for our security enterprise.  

Witnesses included Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, US Navy (Ret) and Rear Admiral David Titley, US Navy (Ret), both members of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board.  Witnesses focused on a wide range of climate change impacts on national security, coastal infrastructure, agriculture and public health.   (more…)

Roll Call Video: Is the Military Ready for Climate Change?

Conger_Roll CallRoll 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.

(more…)

U.S. Congressman Introduces Climate Security Intelligence Act

Rain_on_Capitol_HillOn June 5, U.S. Congressman Danny Heck (WA-10) introduced the “Climate Security Intelligence Act,” a bill that would establish a “Climate Security Intelligence Center” within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence so that, in the Congressman’s words, the “intelligence community has a focal point for climate-related information, which will be crucial to our nation’s ability to meet evolving challenges now and in the years ahead.” If enacted, this center would be, in some ways, an intelligence community-wide successor to the CIA’s former Center on Climate Change and National Security, which closed its doors in 2012, allegedly due to climate analysis being integrated into broader CIA intelligence assessments of economic and energy security. Click here to read the full bill.

Top 10 Most Climate-Vulnerable Military Bases According to U.S. Armed Forces

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Offutt Air Force Base flooded on March 17, 2019, caused by increase in water levels of surrounding waterways due to record-setting snowfall in winter & large drop in air pressure (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)

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. (more…)

The Center for Climate and Security Stands Firmly in Support of Intelligence Analysis on Climate Security

C&S LOGOAccording to reports from the Washington Post and the New York Times, the White House recently suppressed a comprehensive intelligence analysis from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), which has recently been made public.The analysis, which was to be delivered as written testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on June 5, was allegedly quashed due to its description of climate science, and the unwillingness of INR to omit large sections of the testimony.

The Center for Climate and Security stands firmly in support of INR and its personnel, and their clear-eyed assessment of the significant security risks of a changing climate, and strongly condemns the attempt by individuals in the White House to prevent this analysis from being published. This analysis is the latest in decades-worth of intelligence analysis on climate change produced across both Republican and Democratic administrations. (more…)