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Secretary of Defense Carter: the “growing strategic impact of climate change”

ash_carter_dod_secretary_portraitU.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…)

Special Issue: Health Security and Climate Change


Philippine and U.S. service members learn to identify heat stroke (photo by Lance Cpl. Perria)

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…)

How the U.S. Military’s Not Waiting to Find Out if Climate Change is an Existential Risk

Soldiers_assist_residents_displaced_by_Hurricane_Sandy_in_Hoboken,_N.J.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.”


Defense Secretary Carter on the Strategic Implications of Climate Change


Photo by US DoD

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.


Admiral Sam J. Locklear Joins the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board

UntitledThe Center for Climate and Security is honored to welcome Admiral Sam J. Locklear, United States Navy (Retired), to its distinguished Advisory Board of senior military, national security and foreign policy experts. Admiral Locklear recently retired from the US Navy after serving with distinction for over 39 years, including 15 years of service as a Flag Officer. During his significant tenure as a four star, Admiral Locklear lead at the highest levels serving as Commander U.S. Pacific Command, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command.

As Commander U.S. Pacific Command, the United States’ oldest and largest geographic unified combatant command, he commanded all U.S. military forces operating across more than half the globe. He accurately assessed the rapidly changing geopolitical environment of the Indo-Asia-Pacific, the most militarized area of the world, made significant advancements in how U.S. forces are postured for crisis or contingency, and was instrumental in addressing the growing global cyber challenges in the region. A key architect of America’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, Admiral Locklear provided the vision, strategic framework, and detailed planning that began the rebalance of U.S. military influence to the Asia-Pacific. He skillfully managed the US military relationships with our five Pacific treaty allies, numerous key security partners, and emerging multilateral security forums. Additionally, he maintained a pragmatic but lasting relationship with China’s military and made significant progress in developing a deeper strategic security relationship with India. (more…)

New Report from the Pentagon – Geographic Combatant Commands Already Addressing Climate Change Threat

U.S._Unified_Command_Plan_Map_2011-04-06Washington, D.C. — The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of senior retired military officers and national security experts, supports the U.S. Department of Defense’s recently-released report to Congress “National Security Implications of Climate-Related Risks and a Changing Climate.”

Significantly, the report highlights what the U.S. Geographic Combatant Commands (GCCs) are already doing to address the climate threat. (more…)

Leon Panetta on Climate Security in the DoD, CIA and the Pope’s Encyclical

Secretary of Defense the Honorable Leon Panetta addresses service members at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marc I. Lane/Released)

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta addresses service members at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. (photo by Staff Sgt. Marc I. Lane)

Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency,  sat down with America Magazine, the National Catholic Review, to discuss “Laudato Si” the recent climate encyclical from Pope Francis. Panetta, a life-long Catholic with decades worth of work in the security and intelligence sphere, provided some interesting insights into how the two threads intersect in his life, including how he incorporated climate risks into his work while at the Department of Defense and the CIA. This isn’t, however, the first time Panetta has spoken on the issue. See “Secretary of Defense Panetta Reaffirms Climate Change as a National Security Risk” for more (2012). Here is the full interview. Below are excerpts specifically related to climate security.  (more…)