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Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board member, Brigadier General Gerald Galloway, U.S. Army (ret), recently spoke to the Weather Channel about sea level rise risks to military installations along the U.S. coast. When asked where the Department of Defense (DoD) was in its planning for sea level rise (compared to other communities along the coast), General Galloway noted that it has been doing so since the G.W. Bush Administration, and that military bases and their surrounding support communities must build resilience to sea level rise risks in tandem. From the interview: (more…)
As we look toward a new Administration in the United States, and the path forward on addressing the myriad threats in a rapidly-changing geostrategic landscape, it’s worth having a clearer understanding of how the U.S. national security community has come to its current level of concern about climate change. This concern didn’t happen overnight, or under a single administration. Rather, it’s the culmination of decades of assessments stretching back to the end of the Cold War. (more…)
As the current Administration winds down, each of the President’s Cabinet members have submitted “Exit Memos” detailing “the progress we’ve made, their vision for the country’s future, and the work that remains in order to achieve that vision.” They are all worth a read. Of particular note is Secretary of Defense Ashton “Ash” Carter’s memo, and how it contextualizes the risks and opportunities associated with a changing climate. Despite perceptions to the contrary, Secretary Carter joins a growing list of defense leaders, civilian and military, stretching back to the early years of the George W. Bush Administration, that have taken climate change seriously as both a matter of national security, and a driver of innovative action. (more…)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter made a recent statement at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, calling for a “principled security network” for the Asia-Pacific region – one that could collectively address the region’s myriad security challenges – including “the growing strategic impact of climate change.” Rather than ranking threats against each other, which tends to miss the integrated nature of the security landscape, Secretary Carter places climate change within the broader context of a range of pressing security threats and opportunities facing the region, that will be best addressed through a cooperative approach: (more…)
The Journal Health Security has a special issue out on climate change. The contents and abstracts are listed below. The special issue does a great job of exploring the emerging intersection between health and climate security, including a look at wildfires, the role of the US Department of Defense, and risks related to extreme heat. The issue is open access (free articles) for the next two months, so get reading! (more…)
In case you missed it, Keith Johnson with Foreign Policy recently published an article that strikes at the heart of where the United States is in assessing and preparing for the security risks of climate change. While much of the discussion on this topic is about carefully parsing lines of causality, and waiting for certainty before raising concerns about these connections, a quote from Marc Levy in the article makes the case that this is a luxury:
“I think we’re woefully far behind…Sometimes people get accused of being overly alarmist…I think the warnings being given about the security threats from climate change are overly timid.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recently spoke to a group at the Commonwealth Club in California. His remarks touched on issues related to climate risks, including state stability, the oceans, and the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific (for more on this see “The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change). The question and answer session following Sec. Carter’s remarks included a question specifically on what the Department of Defense was doing on climate change (transcribed below). In his response, Sec. Carter makes it very clear that climate change is a strategic threat to the Department of Defense, and something the military is watching closely.