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The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode 12 with General Middendorp

General Middendorp_2019_02Welcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!

In this episode host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty talks to General Tom Middendorp, Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security and former Chief of Defence of the Netherlands. General Middendorp talks about being a commander in South Afghanistan, and how even after driving out the Taliban in one case, conflict persisted due to disputes over the division of water. He describes firsthand experiences from across twenty missions on how climate change and human impacts can amplify war and negate best efforts at peacekeeping. He discusses the importance of cooperation across aid workers, diplomats, policymakers, military coalitions and other stakeholders to pursue stability at a global scale. Tom emphasizes the role defence communities can play in terms of offering opportunities to visionaries to develop ideas such as an innovation that extracts water out of dry, desert air.  Hear this unique perspective – from the former highest-ranking military officer in the Dutch Armed forces – on overcoming the challenges at the nexus of climate and security!

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Sherri Goodman and Vice Admiral McGinn Testify Before House Foreign Affairs Committee

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By John Conger

The Honorable Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist with the Center for Climate and Security and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security), and Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, US Navy (Retired), Member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board and former Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations, Energy and Environment, testified Tuesday morning (April 2, 2019) before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on “How Climate Change Threatens U.S. National Security.”  They were joined by Mr. Paul Weisenfeld, Executive Vice President for International Development of RTI International and Mr. Barry Worthington, Executive Director of the United States Energy Association. There was general bipartisan agreement on the security risks of climate change, and more to debate on the solutions. (more…)

Climate Security Consensus Breaks into the Open

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The Center for Climate and Security’s Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret) testifies before the House Armed Services Committee – March 13, 2019

By John Conger

The House Armed Services Committee bore public witness to the growing consensus between Democrats and Republicans on supporting the military’s response to climate change, during a Readiness Subcommittee hearing titled “Ensuring Resiliency of Military Installations and Operations in Response to Climate Changes.”

Chairman Garamendi’s opening statement outlined a series of concerns:

Just this last year Hurricanes Florence and Michael caused billions of dollars in damage to Camp Lejeune and leveled much of Tyndall Air Force Base.  California wildfires led to the evacuation of family housing at Camp Pendleton, Naval Air Station Point Mugu, and the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center. In addition, our coastal installations and their surrounding communities are already experiencing significant flooding due to sea-level rise. The Army’s Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site at the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific is threatened by sea level rise and may not last 20 years. The Navy’s principal Atlantic Base Norfolk/Hampton Rhodes and the Naval Academy are already experiencing flooding. Melting polar ice in Arctic regions has already opened new sea routes and competition for resources, yet it appears that DOD has not developed a systematic strategy for ensuring U.S. national interests in the Arctic.

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General Scaparotti and General Lyons Agree with Intelligence Assessments on Climate Change Threat

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General Scaparrotti and General Lyons testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 5, 2019

In a hearing yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander of United States European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and Army General Stephen R. Lyons, Commander of United States Transportation Command, both agreed with the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that climate change is a security threat. This is despite a current National Security Council attempt to impose a political test on that national security analysis, which was denounced yesterday by a group of 58 senior military, national security and intelligence leaders with experience across Republican and Democratic Administrations.

See a transcript of the exchange below (video here): (more…)

The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode 9 with Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (Ret)

Rear Admiral Jonathan White USN_Ret_Climate Security PodcastWelcome back to The Climate and Security Podcast!

In this episode, Rear Admiral Jonathan White, US Navy (Retired), President and CEO of the Ocean Leadership Consortium and member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board, talks to host Dr. Sweta Chakraborty about his 32-year career in the U.S. Navy and his acute understanding and knowledge of the oceans. Since his retirement, Jon’s made it a point to apply his knowledge to inform short term and long term decisions to address how oceans warming impact the rest of the planet. His extensive knowledge on climate change impacts (e.g., sea level rise, coral bleaching, depleting and changing aquatic ecosystems) and manmade pollution (e.g., toxin and nutrient infusion into waters resulting in red tides) informs his work across all government and at all levels. This episode features all of this as well how the military has predictive and gaming capabilities that can ultimately help to mitigate threats and amplify necessary awareness and communications to the public. Don’t miss this one! (more…)

Release: International Military Council on Climate and Security Announced at The Hague

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The Hague, Netherlands, 19 February 2019 — At the Planetary Security Conference, a meeting of hundreds of security and foreign policy experts and practitioners, the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and its partners the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael)/ the Planetary Security Initiative, the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS),  and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS) announced the creation of a new International Military Council on Climate and Security, or IMCCS. The IMCCS will be a “standing” umbrella network of senior military leaders from across the globe that will meet regularly, produce an annual World Climate and Security Report, and drive communications and policy in support of actions on the security implications of a changing climate – at national, regional and international levels. As it expands, the IMCCS will welcome new members and institutional affiliates from across the globe. The Center for Climate and Security, a policy institute of the Council on Strategic Risks with a team and advisory board of senior military and security experts, will serve as the Secretariat of the IMCCS. (more…)

UPDATE: Chronology of U.S. Military Statements and Actions on Climate Change and Security: 2017-2019

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Since January 2017, twenty-one senior officials at the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) have publicly raised concerns about, and recommended actions to address, the security implications of climate change, both due to its effect on military infrastructure, readiness and operations, and its broader geostrategic implications for the United States.

This includes then-Secretary of Defense, James Mattis; Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul J. Selva; Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer; Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Joseph Lengyel; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment (IE&E), Lucian L. Niemeyer; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, R.D. James; Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Installations, Energy, and the Environment, Phyllis L. Bayer; Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment, and Energy, John Henderson; Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Glenn Walters; Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Bill Moran; Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, General Stephen Wilson; Army Vice Chief of Staff, General James McConville; AFRICOM Commander General Thomas D. Waldhauser; Air Force Director of Civil Engineers, Major General Timothy Green; NORTHCOM/ NORAD Commander, General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy; Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson; Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, Alex Beehler; Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, General Robert McMahon; General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps; and most recently, Admiral Philip Davidson, INDOPACOM Commander. The DoD also produced a survey report on the matter in January 2018, and a report to Congress on climate change threats to its critical military infrastructure and Geographic Combatant Commands in January 2019.

Below is a chronological list of written and verbal statements by these defense officials, as well as links to DoD reports and other government documents covering the climate-military nexus, that have been released during this Administration thus far. Each entry includes a link to its source, which includes more information and context. (more…)