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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…)

Intelligence Officials Highlight Security Risks of Climate Change in Important House Hearing

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Rod Schoonover, Peter Kiemel and Jeffrey Ringhausen before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, June 5, 2019

By John Conger

On June 5, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing on the National Security Implications of Climate Change.  The latest in a series of hearings (HASC, HFAC, HOGR) held this year on climate and security issues, the HPSCI was unique in that it called government witnesses.  Specifically, they included Peter Kiemel from the National Intelligence Council, Rod Schoonover from the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and Jeffrey Ringhausen from the Office of Naval Intelligence.

The stage was set by Chairman Schiff who called climate change the “greatest long-term national security threat to the U.S.” and quoted the most recent Worldwide Threat Assessment published by this Administration’s Director of National Intelligence, which stated: (more…)

Sherri Goodman and Vice Admiral McGinn Testify Before House Foreign Affairs Committee

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By John Conger

The Honorable Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist with the Center for Climate and Security and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security), and Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, US Navy (Retired), Member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board and former Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations, Energy and Environment, testified Tuesday morning (April 2, 2019) before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on “How Climate Change Threatens U.S. National Security.”  They were joined by Mr. Paul Weisenfeld, Executive Vice President for International Development of RTI International and Mr. Barry Worthington, Executive Director of the United States Energy Association. There was general bipartisan agreement on the security risks of climate change, and more to debate on the solutions. (more…)

Climate Security Consensus Breaks into the Open

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The Center for Climate and Security’s Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret) testifies before the House Armed Services Committee – March 13, 2019

By John Conger

The House Armed Services Committee bore public witness to the growing consensus between Democrats and Republicans on supporting the military’s response to climate change, during a Readiness Subcommittee hearing titled “Ensuring Resiliency of Military Installations and Operations in Response to Climate Changes.”

Chairman Garamendi’s opening statement outlined a series of concerns:

Just this last year Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused billions of dollars in damage to Camp Lejeune and leveled much of Tyndall Air Force Base.  California wildfires led to the evacuation of family housing at Camp Pendleton, Naval Air Station Point Mugu, and the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. In addition, our coastal installations and their surrounding communities are already experiencing significant flooding due to sea-level rise. The Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific is threatened by sea level rise and may not last 20 years. The Navy’s principal Atlantic Base Norfolk/Hampton Rhodes and the Naval Academy are already experiencing flooding. Melting polar ice in Arctic regions has already opened new sea routes and competition for resources, yet it appears that DOD has not developed a systematic strategy for ensuring U.S. national interests in the Arctic.

(more…)

Climate and Security in the U.S. Congress: March 7-13

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editBy John Conger

A lot is happening on the climate and security front in the U.S. Congress. This is unsurprising, given the continued attention to the security risks of climate change from the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, as well as a persistent message from the national security community outside government about the importance of addressing this growing threat. Below are descriptions of two Congressional actions in the past week alone, as well as one on the horizon (well, tomorrow).

March 13: Tomorrow, the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Readiness will be holding a hearing titled “Ensuring Resiliency of Military Installations and Operations in Response to Climate Changes.” The hearing will feature testimony from retired Rear Admiral David W. Titley, U.S. Navy (full disclosure: he’s a Senior Member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board and a Member of the Board of Directors at the Council on Strategic Risks, our parent organization). He will be joined by the Honorable Sharon Burke, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy at the Department of Defense, and Nicolas Loris at the Center for Free Markets and Regulatory Reform. (more…)

Briefer: The Pentagon’s Forthcoming Climate Report – What to Expect and How Congress Should Use It

CSAG Briefer_2018_11_6In 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.