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On December 31, the American Foreign Policy Council’s excellent Defense Dossier published a timely new volume titled “Resource Security and Changing Global Environmental Conditions.” The entire volume is worth a read, covering natural resource stresses on a broad array of security issues including military readiness, water and food stress, and energy security. The volume also includes articles from four Center for Climate and Security experts, including Rachel Fleishman and Sherri Goodman who write about climate change and the U.S. military, and Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, who address the security implications of a recent special report from the IPCC. Click here to read.
By John Conger, Director, The Center for Climate and Security
As the Florida communities devastated by Hurricane Michael begin their long recovery, much attention has been focused on Tyndall Air Force Base and the incredible amount of damage the base took from the storm.
First and foremost, it’s important to highlight the wise decision to evacuate the base as the storm approached. No lives were lost on Tyndall and many of its F-22 aircraft were relocated elsewhere – out of harms way. Missions have been moved and critical functions have continued to operate. A decision to ride out the storm could have gone much, much worse.
Second, while the damage assessment is still ongoing, it is very clear that the bill will be quite high – not only to the infrastructure of the base, but also to the very expensive F-22 aircraft that remained at the installation. Official numbers have not been released, but it is clear that many F-22s remained at the base because they were in various states of maintenance and unable to fly. Fortunately, initial indications from the Air Force are that damage to the aircraft is less than it could have been. (more…)
By John Conger
A year after Congress declared climate change to be a direct threat to national security – a process that included a bipartisan vote on the House floor with dozens of Republicans joining Democrats to affirm the declaration – Congress passed a Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that reflects an acceptance of that consensus and an embrace of constructive measures to ensure the Department of Defense (DoD) is able to perform its missions under changing climate conditions.
With bipartisan support, Congress has produced a bill that accepts climate change as a given, takes significant steps forward to improve the resilience of DoD installations to climate change risks, and sets its sights on preparing to operate in a warming Arctic. (more…)
Led by Representatives Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Jim Langevin (D-RI), a bipartisan group of 106 lawmakers released an extraordinary letter last week urging the President of the United States to reconsider omission of climate change as a security threat in its National Security Strategy, citing the words of sitting Secretary of Defense James Mattis to underline the issue’s importance. (more…)
Last week, a new report was released by the Planetary Security Initiative (PSI), a multi-organization consortium including the Center for Climate and Security, and coordinated by the Netherlands’ Clingendael Institute. The report, titled Action on Climate and Security Risks, reviews global progress made to date on addressing the security implications of a changing climate. The review includes both significant concerns, and reasons for optimism. From the announcement:
The current Administration’s top leadership on defense, diplomacy and intelligence – the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State, and Director of National Intelligence – all agree that climate change is happening and presents risks to the United States that must be addressed.
For example, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, in his answers to the Senate Armed Services Committee’s “Questions for the Record,” made very robust statements about current – not future – impacts of climate change on the U.S. military’s mission. His statements were some of the most forward-leaning public sentiments on the issue expressed by a sitting Secretary of Defense: “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today. It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning…Climate change can be a driver of instability and the Department of Defense must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon.”
Continue reading this article at The Cipher Brief