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Climate Change Didn’t Pause for COVID-19: Implications for Military Readiness

joanvandervort_climateandsecuritypodcast

Joan VanDervort, Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security

By Joan VanDervort

As COVID-19 continues to hammer the nation, approximately 61,900 Department of Defense (DoD) personnel (45,600 of which are made up of National Guard) have been called on to support the national response.

“With COVID-19, it’s like we have 54 different hurricanes hitting every state, every territory, and the District of Columbia — some are Category 5, some are Category 3, and some are Category 1,” Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a recent statement.[1]

But its more than that – not only is DoD supporting the response to the “54 different hurricanes,” but they are fighting the pandemic internally as it begins to degrade readiness from impacts on the pipeline for new recruits to delays in deployments, pauses in training, and cancelation of major exercises. (more…)

Let’s Not Get Caught Flat-Footed on the Next Crisis: Coronavirus, Climate Change, and American Security

Illinois_National_Guard_assemble medical equipment for COVID response

Illinois Air National Guard assemble medical equipment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, April 8, 2020 (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Jay Grabiec)

By Christine Parthemore and Hon. Sherri Goodman

The devastating COVID-19 crisis is driving a national conversation on how we define our security. While this debate is overdue, calls for the nation to reallocate resources from national defense, to threats like the novel coronavirus, are overly simplistic. In the face of complex transnational risks like pandemics and climate change, it is important to consider broadening the government toolkit, not narrowing it.

Indeed, the emerging discourse on the definition of American security should reflect the critical roles our defense agencies play in addressing threats like pandemics and climate change, in concert with their interagency partners. This begins by recognizing how such issues affect even our traditional notions of national security. (more…)

The Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent: The Urgent Need For a Climate-Security Governance Architecture

Rachel_FleishmanThis article was first published on AsiaGlobal Online (April 29, 2020)

By Rachel Fleishman

Today’s international security and governance architecture was born of the post-World War II period, when a conflict-weary world sought to prevent another clash of nation-state alliances drawn into battle by the expansionist actions of a few. Yet many modern security challenges do not fit neatly into postwar constructs, argues Rachel Fleishman of the Center for Climate and Security. Pandemics, mass migration and environmental degradation – and, most prominently, climate change – defy national borders and the world must prepare for concerted, coordinated action to prevent predictable cross-border threats.
(more…)