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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.
There exists a bipartisan U.S. national security consensus that climate change presents a strategically-significant risk and will require a comprehensive response. It’s an issue that the next President of the United States (and likely, many after that) will have to take very seriously. Despite this, the topic did not receive a lot of attention during the U.S. election cycle. To fill that gap, we are releasing a video (below) of an extraordinary panel of five senior retired general and flag officers from across the U.S. military’s service branches discussing the significant risks climate change poses to military readiness, operations and strategy. The panelists are authors of the latest Center for Climate and Security publication, titled: “Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission.” The discussion was the opening feature in the first annual Climate and National Security Forum.
For the report, click here.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more videos from the 2016 Climate and National Security Forum.