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By John Conger
Both the U.S. House and Senate recently passed their versions of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, but it’s quite possible there will be a delay before a conference bill is completed. Rather than wait for the final version, this blog will review the climate change and resilience provisions in each version.
Each of these bills is built upon a legislative foundation that’s been developed over the last three years, that involved key steps such as a declaration that climate change poses a direct threat to the national security of the United States, a requirement that the Department of Defense (DoD) prioritize its vulnerabilities and send to Congress a list of its most vulnerable installations, expansion of existing authorities to incorporate climate considerations, improvements to building codes, and a requirement for DoD to conduct resilience planning at each of its installations (plans that will be for identifying next steps for shoring up the unique vulnerabilities at each location). A summary of these provisions can be found here. (more…)
The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) recently commissioned RAND Europe to examine climate change’s effects on MOD’s activities, and its attendant security implications, to assist the MOD in creating an updated climate change strategy. This examination produced a proposed framework for MOD’s leaders to use for assessing climate change risks to its mission, as well as multiple policy recommendations for addressing the challenges and seizing the opportunities climate change presents to the MOD, as it executes its global strategic mission now and out to 2035. (more…)
In the January 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment, the Director of National Intelligence offered this clear prediction: “We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or largescale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability…”
It is hard to come up with a better description of the current crisis.
A few pages later, the report predicts that “global environmental and ecological degradation, as well as climate change, are likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond. Climate hazards such as extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation, and acidifying oceans are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security.” (more…)
On January 25, New Zealand’s Minister of Defence Ron Mark, and a team of senior defense leaders including the New Zealand Secretary of Defence and Chief of the Navy, met with the Center for Climate and Security’s and Council on Strategic Risks’ leadership to discuss the security and military implications of climate change, and what the United States and New Zealand can learn from each other. This was part of Defence Minister Ron Mark’s visit to Washington, DC that included meeting with his counterpart, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. See the press release here. Click here for more on recent climate security actions by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence, and here for equivalent information on the U.S. Department of Defense.