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Three Climate Issues to Watch in Defense Bills this Fall

by John Conger

For many years, a bipartisan consensus has been built in Washington around the risks that climate change poses to U.S. national security priorities. Congress has passed pragmatic legislation to assess the vulnerability of military infrastructure and forces; to expand U.S. military authorities and capabilities for resilience; and to increase emphasis on the melting Arctic and new tensions between the United States and both Russia and China.  

This year, however, climate issues have been drawn into tense and partisan political debates, which at the time of this publication, look like they will lead to a government shutdown. As the overarching government funding issues take center stage, here are three climate issues to keep an eye on as Congress moves defense legislation this Fall.


Secretary Hagel on Climate Change Affecting the Security Environment

130425-D-BW835-225Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be attending the 11th Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA), according to a DoD press release it is the “the Western Hemisphere’s “premiere venue” for senior leaders to discuss regional defense issues,” and climate change is on the agenda. At a press conference earlier this week Secretary Hagel provided a preview of the topics he will discuss at the CDMA tomorrow. Sec. Hagel noted specifically the role of climate change on the security environment. John Banusiewicz with DoD news reports: (more…)

Video: “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change”

The_PentagonThe new CNA Military Advisory Board report “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change” is already making a significant impact on the climate discussion in the United States. The report was launched at the Woodrow Wilson Center yesterday, with a panel that included Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (ret), General Ron Keys, USAF (ret), Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (ret) and Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, British Royal Navy (ret). If you didn’t get a chance to be there, or to watch it live online, you can watch a video of the event here.

CCS Co-Director Speaks to Pentagon’s Firm Stance on the Threat of Climate Change

C&S LOGOCCS Co-Director Francesco Femia spoke to California radio station KPFA 94.1 yesterday about the recent release of DoD’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), and the seriousness with which the U.S. military addresses climate change. The conversation ranges from the role of the QDR, to the direct and indirect threats that climate change poses to national security. The conclusion: The U.S. military cannot afford to play politics with such a pressing security issue, and plans to meet the challenge head on. Click here to listen to the full interview (beginning at 6:17), or here to download the audio file.