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Military Times: Pentagon still preparing for climate change

Sailors_and_Soldiers_load_water_onto_an_MH-60S_Sea_Hawk_helicopter._(37044691925)

BEAUMONT, Texas (Sept. 3, 2017) U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Navy Sailors load water for delivery to victims of Hurricane Harvey, Sept. 3, 2017.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr.,/Released)

There’s a great article in the Military Times today by Tara Copp detailing the degree to which the U.S. military continues to prepare for a changing climate, and the attendant impacts on its mission. In the piece, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr Patrick Evans states:

“As Secretary Mattis has said, the department evaluates all potential threats that impact mission readiness, personnel health and installation resilience, then uses that information to assess impacts and identify responses,” Evans said. “The effect of a changing climate is one of a variety of threats and risks, but it’s not a mission of the Department of Defense.”

Though this approach by the Department of Defense is not surprising, given the military’s long history of attention to the issue stretching back to 2003, and the unequivocal statements on the subject from at least four senior Pentagon leaders in the current Administration (Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva; Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer; and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, Lucian Niemeyer) the article provides an important look into the very real and practical risks climate change and related weather events pose to military infrastructure and operations. This is especially in focus for the Department of Defense in the wake of hurricanes Irma and Harvey, which have had a significant impact on the military in a number of ways, both in terms of its role in the relief effort, and the exposure of its infrastructure and assets. From the article: (more…)

5 things to know about Hurricanes, Hampton Roads and National Security

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) departs Naval Station Norfolk ahead of Hurricane Irene. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Parde

The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) departs Naval Station Norfolk ahead of Hurricane Irene. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Parde

By Matt Connolly, Center for Climate and Security Virginia Project Fellow

With Hurricane Joaquin threatening to hit the eastern seaboard this weekend, the United States’ largest naval base is on high alert.  At Naval Station Norfolk, sailors are working to secure the base against impending flooding and prepare for Sortie Condition Bravo, an order for all Navy ships in Virginia’s military-saturated Hampton Roads region to be prepared to leave port within 24 hours in order to avoid damage to ships and piers from high winds and seas.  
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