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By Marc Kodack
The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) latest audit of DoD installations focused on “the extent to which DoD has assurance that it is using reliable information to identify installations at risk of water scarcity.” GAO found that DOD does not have “assurance that [it] is using accurate and reliable information regarding which installations are at risk for water scarcity.” GAO examined multiple DoD and military service assessments that focused on or included water scarcity. Some of these assessments included the effects of climate change on water availability. GAO collected installation information on water scarcity from field visits or through questionnaires from a total of 17 installations. The installations selected were previously identified by DoD or the Services as having water vulnerabilities or scarcity. (more…)
By Marc Kodack
The overall state of infrastructure in the U.S. is very poor. Whether it’s energy, transit, drinking water, or inland waterways, these and other types of infrastructure are all aging and deteriorating at different rates. Climate change exacerbates the condition of many of these types of infrastructure. For the Department of Defense (DoD), infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, rail, ports, and aviation structures, is important to move personnel and equipment in response to disasters within the U.S. or for deploying overseas for humanitarian and/or combat operations. The declining state of bridges across the U.S. may impede the DoD’s ability to meet the timely execution of its assigned mission. Bridges will experience climate change effects, including those from rising temperatures that can lower physical performance leading to degradation in their life span. (more…)
UPDATE: Chronology of U.S. Military Statements and Actions on Climate Change and Security: Jan 2017- Oct 2019
Since January 2017, at least thirty-five senior officials at the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) have publicly raised concerns about, and recommended actions to address, the security implications of climate change, both due to its effect on military infrastructure, readiness and operations, and its broader geostrategic implications for the United States. (more…)
By Marc Kodack
On October 16, 2019, the House Armed Services’ Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities and the Subcommittee on Readiness held a joint hearing on “Resiliency of Military Installations to Emerging Threats.” Witnesses providing statements and answering questions included the HON Robert McMahon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment; the HON John Henderson, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy; the HON Alex Beehler, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment; and the HON Lucian Niemeyer, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment. All highlighted climate change-related risks and/or its effects to their respective military installations in both their written statements and answers to multiple Member’s questions during the hearing. (more…)
The Hon. John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security and former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, appeared on MSNBC‘s Velshi and Ruhle show today, to discuss climate change impacts on the U.S. military, the geostrategic landscape (especially in terms of China and Russia’s activities in the Arctic), and migration and political instability. The interview was part of MSNBC’s week of climate change coverage, with Monday focusing on climate change and national security.
UPDATE: Chronology of U.S. Military Statements and Actions on Climate Change and Security: Jan 2017- August 2019
Since January 2017, at least thirty-two senior officials at the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) have publicly raised concerns about, and recommended actions to address, the security implications of climate change, both due to its effect on military infrastructure, readiness and operations, and its broader geostrategic implications for the United States. (more…)
Why does the Department of Defense call climate change a threat multiplier? Last week, Yale Climate Connections sat down with Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist at the Center for Climate and Security and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security) to find out more. She explains, “Extreme weather and water shortages increase the risk of political instability and terrorism.” As a threat multiplier, climate change aggravates other stressors that together can threaten a nation’s stability. (more…)