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Pentagon Not Using Leading Practices to Assess Water Scarcity at Installations

The_PentagonBy 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…)

GAO: Climate Resilience Is Not Being Addressed by the Federal Government

gao_dc_headquarters

By Marc Kodack

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified climate change as a high risk to federal agencies beginning in 2013, and has continued that assessment with its most current list of high risks released in late 2019. The list is updated every other year at the start of a new Congress. According to the GAO, the “High Risk List has served to identify and help resolve serious weaknesses in areas that involve substantial resources and provide critical services to the public.” The reason that climate change was included, is that the GAO has determined that it represents a significant fiscal risk to the federal government. This is due to the projection that if climate resilience is not increased today, significantly higher costs will be incurred in the future to address damage and destruction caused by climate change. Of the 62 recommendations that GAO has made concerning climate risk since 2013, 25 remain open as of December 2018. Thus, the GAO concludes, “…the federal government has not made measurable progress to reduce its fiscal exposure to climate change.” The lack of progress has informed two, 2019 GAO audits related to climate resilience – one for the federal government released in October, and another for the Department of Defense (DoD) released in June. (more…)

GAO Report: U.S. Government Has Regressed on Managing Climate Change Risks

200th RED HORSE and 179th Airlift Wing Airmen aid in Hurricane Michael Recovery Efforts

Ohio Air National Guard’s 200th RED HORSE Squadron and 179th Airlift Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base after Hurricane Michael (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Ashley Klase)

On March 6 the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new risk report titled “High-Risk Series: Substantial Efforts Needed to Achieve Greater Progress on High-Risk Areas.” The last such report was issued in 2017. While the study covers a number of high-risk issues, its findings on how the U.S. government is managing climate change risks are important to note. According to the report (page 45):

“In the 2 years since our last High-Risk Report, three areas—NASA Acquisition Management, Transforming EPA’s Process for Assessing and Controlling Toxic Chemicals, and Limiting the Federal Government’s Fiscal Exposure By Better Managing Climate Change Risks have regressed in their ratings against our criteria for removal from the HighRisk List. (emphasis added)

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U.S. GAO Issues 2 Reports in 2 Months Covering Climate and Security

gao_dc_headquarters

The GAO’s Washington, DC Headquarters

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, or GAO, has issued two reports in the past two months that address the security implications of climate change. One on climate and migration, and the other on emerging threats.

The most recent, titled “Climate Change: Activities of Selected Agencies to Address Potential Impact on Global Migration” was released last month. The full report is worth a read, but the section on climate change, migration and possible national security implications is particularly interesting, not least as the GAO is wisely cautious about how it describes those dynamics. In the section titled “Climate Change Impacts on Migration that May Affect National Security,” on page 6, the report states: (more…)

GAO Releases Report Card on Climate Adaptation at DoD

USS Nebraska_at_Naval_Base_Kitsap

USS NEBRASKA at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, Washington (WA).

Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, or GAO, issued a report “Climate Change Adaptation: DoD Needs to Better Incorporate Adaptation into Planning and Collaboration at Overseas Installations.” In summary, the report found that, well, the DoD needs to better incorporate adaptation into planning and collaboration at overseas installations. It was a pretty descriptive title…See below for some extracts of note: (more…)

GAO Report on Climate Change: Three Recommendations for the Secretary of Defense

DF-ST-87-06962The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) just released a report detailing the actions being made by the U.S. Department of Defense (Dod) to adapt to climate change, and ensure readiness in the face of future climatic changes. As we have often highlighted, the DoD has been very forward-leaning on this issue (across both Republican and Democratic Administrations), as it cannot afford to play politics with military readiness. (more…)

New US GAO Report: Arctic Maritime Infrastructure

Bow ThrustersThe US GAO recently released a new report, Maritime Infrastructure: Key Issues Related to Commercial Activity in the U.S. Arctic over the Next Decade. Based on interviews with industry representatives who are in the process of exploring the region’s commercial readiness, the report found “general challenges related to operating in the Arctic, such as geography, extreme weather, and hard-to-predict ice floes.” These challenges make commercial activity difficult, but they also impact search and rescue missions, research, Coast Guard patrols and general operability. The main recommendation from this report is to prioritize two near term, broad categories: ” information infrastructure, such as mapping and charting, and response services, such as search and rescue.” (more…)