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The U.S. Congress Overrode Trump Veto on FY21 NDAA: Here are the Climate Security Highlights in the Bill

By John Conger

On January 1, the U.S. Senate voted to override Mr. Trump’s veto of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with an 81-13 vote.  A few days earlier, the House voted 322-87 to override the veto.  It is worth noting that the Statement of Administration Policy, which lists Mr. Trump’s objections to the bill, did not express opposition to any of its climate provisions.

This bill continues the trend we’ve seen in recent years of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees passing pragmatic climate security legislation without making it a political issue.  In this bill, for example, Congress directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a strategy to follow up on its 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, essentially asking for a plan to climate proof the DoD.  Given the signals the incoming Biden Administration has sent, there is every reason to expect it to develop an ambitious plan in response.  It also continues the trend of expanding resilience authorities by granting broad authority to fund projects that improve the climate resilience of DoD installations – even when located on private land.  (For those readers unfamiliar with the nuances of DoD funding, this is a big deal… and it’s important because climate change doesn’t recognize fence lines and sometimes the actions you need to take are outside the base.)

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What Would a Climate-Focused Defense Budget Look Like?

John Conger talks to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on climate threats to the U.S. military – April 25, 2019

By John Conger

Every Administration makes changes to the draft budget they receive before it is submitted to Congress, and there’s every reason to expect that to be the case with a President Biden.  The budget is supposed to be submitted by the first Monday in February, but that deadline is rarely met.  Incoming Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush submitted their budgets in April, while President Barack Obama submitted his first budget in May.  In this window, changes get made to better reflect the priorities of the incoming Administration.

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Climate Security in the 2021 U.S. National Defense Authorization Act

Rain_on_Capitol_HillBy 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…)

A Climate Change Framework for the UK’s Ministry of Defence – Lessons for NATO?

Royal_Navy_SAR_Helicopter_on_Big_Torry_Hill,_Ochils_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1660779By Dr. Marc Kodack

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…)

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