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By Marc Kodack
The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently issued its 2019 National Preparedness Report, and it’s conspicuously missing a key threat to security – climate change. The report provides an overview of FEMA’s 2018 efforts to address the National Preparedness Goal. The goal is sub-divided into five mission areas; prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery that together address “the threats, hazards and incidents that pose the greatest risk to the Nation.” Spread across the five mission areas are 32 activities or core capabilities. Despite the unprecedented risks associated with it, climate change and its’ effects—e.g., sea level rise, coastal or inland storm intensity and flooding, increases in temperature, drought, wildfire—are not mentioned anywhere in the report. None of the 32 activities and core capabilities acknowledge this growing risk factor for the US homeland. (more…)
In case you missed it: In a September 9 hearing on “Homeland Security and Terrorism” before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, two former Secretaries of Homeland Security – Janet Napolitano, who served under President Barack Obama, and Michael Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, highlighted the security risks of climate change. Below are excerpts covering the issue:
Secretary Napolitano: But as we all know, and as the former speakers have alluded, threats against our homeland are not static. They evolve. We in the department must adapt with them. Today, i would like to speak with you about three areas i believe the country must focus on — cybersecurity, mass casualty shootings, and the effects of global warming on climate change…
By Marc Kodack
As we begin to assess the full extent of the damage and lives lost caused by Hurricane Dorian, it is worth looking at recent assessments of community resilience commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security to help shape how we better prepare in the future. This includes making sure that the military communities that keep our bases operating are resilient to climate and non-climate related disasters. Military installations located across the U.S. have recently been affected by significant climate-influenced disaster events (and non-climate disasters) that presented serious risks to military communities, and have cost billions of dollars in facility and infrastructure repairs, and. These events include earthquakes in July 2019 at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California, that resulted in the installation being in a “mission unsustainable” state for multiple days sustaining an estimated $2.5 to $5 billion in damages; severe flooding on the Missouri River resulting from record melting snow upriver exacerbated by a bomb cyclone in March 2019 which effected a third of Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, with an estimated $650 million for “operations, maintenance, construction, and simulator costs;” and Hurricane Michael in October 2018 which struck Florida and Tyndall Air Force Base damaging every building on the installation resulting in $4.7 billion in damages (see also John Conger’s article on his eye-opening visit to Tyndall about 6 months after the hurricane hit). (more…)
On Friday, the New Security Beat posted a great blog and podcast featuring comments by Alice Hill, the senior director for resilience policy at the U.S. National Security Council (NSC), which were delivered at the launch event of the G7-commissioned report “A New Climate for Peace: Taking Action on Climate and Fragility Risks.” Alice Hill details the process by which the U.S. government, including the Department of Homeland Security, has integrated climate change risks into its plans and programs. She identifies key developments in policy, but also critical gaps in implementation – including gaps in expertise on how to limit the fragility risks of climate change in unstable nations.
A blog on the subject, as well as the full podcast, can be found here.