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Top 10 Most Climate-Vulnerable Military Bases According to U.S. Armed Forces

Offutt Air Force Base_battling_flood_waters_190317-F-IT794-1053

Offutt Air Force Base flooded on March 17, 2019, caused by increase in water levels of surrounding waterways due to record-setting snowfall in winter & large drop in air pressure (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)

By John Conger

In 2017, the U.S. Congress directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a list of the installations in each military service that were most vulnerable to climate change.  They gave DoD a year to do this work, as it wasn’t simple.  The DoD would need to look across its enterprise, and determine how it would measure vulnerability and assess which risks were specifically from climate change.  At the Center for Climate and Security, we published a briefer on the factors they might consider. (more…)

U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Nominees Highlight the Threat from Climate Change

ADM Moran LtGen Berger_SASC Hearing_2019_04_30

Admiral Moran and Lieutenant General Berger testify before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee – April 30, 2019

By John Conger

On April 30, the nominee for Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran, and the nominee for Commandant of the Marine Corps, Lieutenant General David Berger, testified before the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that climate change was a significant threat to Navy and Marine Corps installations.  (Watch the full video here.)

ADM Moran observed that “We are largely a waterfront service, so climate change when there’s rising waters are going to be a problem for us if we don’t address them.”  He also asserted the Navy is working plans to reinforce coastal areas. (more…)

The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode 7 with Joan VanDervort

joanvandervort_climateandsecuritypodcastWelcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!

In this episode Joan VanDervort, Member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board and former Deputy Director for Ranges, Sea and Airspace in the U.S. Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness), talks about how climate change impacts military training and readiness. Joan pulls from her extensive career in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to explain how training is the cornerstone of readiness.  Climate factors, like intense rainfall impacts on infrastructure and increased heat causing trainee and soldier hospitalizations, pose serious risks to training and ultimately to the ability to successfully carry out military missions. Joan also discuss how the DoD tracks the migration of diseases as well as the health of military personal going into combat. Tune into this episode for insights into military readiness that can only come from decades of experience as a civil servant.

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Release: North Carolina Leaders, Military and Security Experts Discuss Climate Threats in Wake of Hurricane Florence

North Carolina Fact Sheet CoverEvent: “Sea Level Rise & Security in the Southeast: Implications for the Military and Civilian Communities”
Date and time: September 24, 2018, from 2:00pm-4:45pm (Livestream available here during opening remarks, and then again after the film screening, at approximately 3:00pm)
Location:  The James B. Hunt Jr Library, NC State University Centennial Campus, Raleigh, NC
Hosts: The Center for Climate and Security in partnership with The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, North Carolina Sea Grant, and the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership
Agenda and speakers: here
North Carolina fact sheet: here

Raleigh, NC – As the citizens of North Carolina come to terms with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and the devastating impacts of storm-related flooding, The Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Environmental QualityNorth Carolina Sea Grant, and the Albermarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership have come together to discuss how the effects of sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme weather events can combine to greatly effect the state’s coastal communities, the military operations carried out at installations located in the eastern part of the state, and how planning for resilience can be integrated into the long-term outlook and policy for the region. (more…)

Hurricane Florence’s Impacts on Military Installations and Missions in the Southeast

Fort Bragg Hurricane Florence

U.S. Army personnel head out from Fort Bragg to provide aid to North Carolinians flooded by Hurricane Florence, Sept. 15, 2018. ANDREW MCNEIL/U.S. ARMY

By John Conger

When it comes to climate change, there are some issues (sea level rise, Arctic ice melt) which it doesn’t take a science degree to get one’s head around.  Extreme weather, on the other hand, is highly complex and there isn’t always a simple way to characterize changes in a way that doesn’t spur debate.

Nonetheless, it is widely acknowledged by scientists, based on decades of rainfall data, that climate change is significantly increasing the frequency of weather events that deliver extreme rainfall, such as hurricane Florence. And what’s entirely beyond debate is that in addition to the climate risks civilian populations and infrastructure faces in the region, the Department of Defense has multiple important installations in areas that are vulnerable to extreme rainfall events, and Hurricane Florence just slammed into several of them.   (more…)

Hearing: Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force Leadership All Highlight Climate Change Risks to Military Readiness

SASC Force Readiness Hearing_2018_02_14

General Glenn Walters, USMC and General Stephen Wilson, USAF, during Senate Armed Services Committee hearing “Current Readiness of U.S. Forces,” Feb 14, 2018

Last Wednesday, during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on “Current Readiness of the U.S. Forces,” senior leadership from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force all highlighted climate change-related risks to their respective military installations, and force readiness, in a very substantive and illuminating exchange with Senator Tim Kaine.

The Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Glenn Walters, and the Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran, both warned of serious sea level rise threats to critical Marine and Navy installations, citing a shared status as  “waterfront organizations.” Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General Stephen Wilson, and Army Vice Chief of Staff General James McConville, noted rising threats from forest fires, floods and hurricanes, including to energy resiliency across their bases. Below is both a summary and full transcript of those statements, as well as a link to the hearing video (exchange with Senator Kaine begins at 01:07:40). (more…)

Marine Corps University Journal: Special Issue on Climate Change & Policy

U.S. Marines aid Saipan with typhoon relief efforts

U.S. Marine carries water jugs during typhoon relief in Saipan, 2015. (photo by Lance Cpl. Brian Bekkala)

The Marine Corps University (MCU) Journal just released an interesting new addition to the climate and security discussion with its “2016 Special Issue: Climate Change & Policy,” which is happily not behind a paywall. The special issue is the latest in a long line of reports on climate change from the U.S. defense community.

For a good write-up on the special issue, and a close look at the introductory article by Edward J. Erickson, see Schuyler Null’s blog post over at the New Security Beat.

Below is the full table of contents:

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