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Military Times: Pentagon still preparing for climate change

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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…)

Assistant Secretary of Defense Niemeyer: Climate Plays Pivotal Role in Military Mission

USS AlbanyOn July 18, 2017 the Senate Armed Services Committee held a confirmation hearing for Lucian L. Niemeyer, the next Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment (IE&E), who ultimately received unanimous support from the Committee. Mr. Niemeyer’s comments on climate change, both in written responses to advance policy questions, and during the hearing, supported the strong commitment Secretary of Defense James Mattis has made to addressing climate change-related risks to the U.S. military’s mission. Here is a link to the full hearing video (question and response on climate change begin at 1:04:00). Below is an excerpt from Mr. Niemeyer’s written answers to advance policy questions on climate change, and an excerpt from the hearing itself. (more…)

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on Climate Instability and Political Instability

General_Paul_J._Selva,_USAF_(VJCS)During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on July 18, 2017, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul J. Selva, gave a detailed description of the impact he understands climate change has (and will have) on the global operating environment in which the armed services operate, and the need for the Department of Defense to be prepared for the threat. Of particular note, he stated: “It will also cause us to have to focus on places where climate instability might cause actual political instability in regions of the world we hadn’t previously had to pay attention to.” That inspires us to shamelessly plug our recent report, “Epicenters of Climate and Security: The New Geostrategic Landscape of the Anthropocene,” which explores a number of possible hot spots of the kind the General is referring to.

Below is both a full transcript of his comments, and a video of the exchange: (more…)

In the News: The Sea Level Rise Threat to Military Infrastructure in Hampton Roads

military-expert-panel-cover-page-2016Virginia news outlet ABC’s 13 News Now did some great coverage of a recent gathering of researchers at Old Dominion University in Virginia which aimed to “develop strategies for dealing with sea level rise and recurrent flooding.” The news story covered the threat to critical infrastructure in the region, including its many military bases and surrounding civilian support communities. This included a reference to the Center for Climate and Security’s Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission. The news story highlighted the study’s results, which demonstrated significant potential impacts on military readiness. For the full video, click here.

 

Video: Hill Briefing on Climate Change and the U.S. Military’s Mission

IMG_9747On June 5, The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation (HMJ) hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill exploring climate change risks to U.S. national security – particularly, the effect on Department of Defense (DoD) force readiness, missions and infrastructure. The discussion ranged from prospective impacts on overseas missions, to the current effects of sea level rise and increased flooding on the daily lives of service members and their families on military bases and surrounding communities throughout the United States. Speakers included EESI Executive Director Carol Werner, CCS Director of Government Affairs Colonel Tom Watson, USAF (Ret), and the following distinguished members of the CCS Advisory Board: (more…)

Capitol Hill Briefing: The National Security Implications of Climate Change

CCS_EESI_LOGOSThe Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invite you to a briefing on the role of climate change as a “threat multiplier” in the geopolitical landscape and the implications that has for U.S. national security. The briefing will be held on Monday, June 5, 2017, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM, Room 334, Cannon House Office Building. Please RSVP to expedite check-in. Live webcast (connection permitting) will be streamed. (more…)

Senator Graham on Climate Change, National Security and the Military Perspective

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Senator Lindsey Graham speaking climate change and national security [Image: The Center for Climate and Security, May 16, 2017]

At an event on Capitol Hill Wednesday sponsored by the Center for Climate and Security and its partners (Deploy/US, the Evangelical Environmental Network and the R Street Institute), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) highlighted the opportunity for a bipartisan approach to climate change and clean energy policy. Specifically focusing on the national security and military perspective, Senator Graham noted: “From a national security side: Retired generals and admirals, the more you speak about the national security implications, the easier it is for a Republican to get involved.” (more…)