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New Zealand Military Releases Climate Change Assessment

New Zealand Ministry of Defense_Climate and Security AssessmentBy Shiloh Fetzek

New Zealand’s Ministry of Defence released a climate change and security assessment today, reemphasizing the conclusion from many defense establishments that climate change poses a significant threat to national and regional security. The assessment states that “Climate change will be one of the greatest security challenges for New Zealand Defence in the coming decades.”

Titled The Climate Crisis: Defence Readiness and Responsibilities, the report also cites geostrategic competition as a motivator for climate security cooperation in the Pacific, noting that, “Some states could look to use assistance in climate change disaster adaptation, mitigation, response, and recovery as a way to increase influence and access.” (more…)

UPDATE: Chronology of U.S. Military Statements and Actions on Climate Change and Security: 2017-2018

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Since January 2017, 19 senior officials at the U.S. Defense Department (DoD) have 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 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; and most recently, General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The DoD also produced a survey report on the matter in January 2018.

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…)

Climate and Security in the News Today

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Shayne Hensley / U.S. Navy

Four news stories were published today on the intersection of climate change and national security, and all are worth a read.

Rising seas threaten Norfolk Naval Shipyard, raising fears of ‘catastrophic damage’,” by Nicholas Kusnetz of Inside Climate News, and also published on NBC News. The article features quotes from Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board members Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (Ret); Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret); and Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (Ret).

Climate Change and National Security, Part I: What is the Threat, When’s It Coming, and How Bad Will It Be?” by Michelle Melton at the popular Lawfare blog. The article is part of a multi-part series, and does a great job of breaking down the basics of climate change and national security, and includes a link to our list of eighteen senior defense officials who have identified climate change as a national security issue. In fact, with General Joe Dunford’s recent statement, that makes nineteen. (more…)

Briefer: The Pentagon’s Forthcoming Climate Report – What to Expect and How Congress Should Use It

CSAG Briefer_2018_11_6In February 2018, the Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG) issued a report titled “A Responsibility to Prepare – Strengthening National and Homeland Security in the Face of a Changing Climate” which included a series of recommendations for the U.S. government.  Among its recommendations, the CSAG supported Congressional direction in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to assess vulnerabilities to military installations and combatant commander requirements resulting from climate change.  In that assessment, Congress directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to identify the ten installations per military service that are most vulnerable to climate change. That report is due on December 12, 2018.

Today, a little less than a month before that deadline, the CSAG is publishing a briefer offering context, advice and recommendations to Congress and the DoD regarding this report, and next steps on assessing and preparing for climate change risks to the nation’s military. Click here for the full report.

The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode Two with Rear Admiral Ann Phillips

Ann Phillips_CandSpodcastWelcome again to The Climate and Security Podcast!

In the second episode, host Dr. Chakraborty talks to Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board member, Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, U.S. Navy (Ret), about connecting the big picture existential threat that is climate change to its local level impacts on our daily lives. While most people don’t think about it day to day, residents of Hampton Roads, VA know all too well what climate change looks like in their community and what it could mean for communities worldwide.  (more…)

The Climate and Security Podcast: Episode One with the Hon. John Conger

Podcast_John CongerWe are thrilled to announce the launch of The Climate and Security Podcast!

In the inaugural episode, host Dr. Chakraborty talks to the Center for Climate and Security’s Director, the Honorable John Conger, about the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) view of climate change impacts on current and future military missions, and its role as a “threat multiplier.” Viewers will hear about how multi-billion dollar budgets fall short of the enterprise-wide need of a trillion+ in installation related costs from the unique perspective of a former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment, and former Principal Deputy Comptroller at the DoD. (more…)

Three Takeaways from Hurricane Michael’s Impact on Tyndall Air Force Base

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An F-22 Raptor from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., commences take off (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio A. Gamboa)

By John Conger, Director, The Center for Climate and Security

As the Florida communities devastated by Hurricane Michael begin their long recovery, much attention has been focused on Tyndall Air Force Base and the incredible amount of damage the base took from the storm.

First and foremost, it’s important to highlight the wise decision to evacuate the base as the storm approached.  No lives were lost on Tyndall and many of its F-22 aircraft were relocated elsewhere – out of harms way.  Missions have been moved and critical functions have continued to operate.  A decision to ride out the storm could have gone much, much worse.

Second, while the damage assessment is still ongoing, it is very clear that the bill will be quite high – not only to the infrastructure of the base, but also to the very expensive F-22 aircraft that remained at the installation.  Official numbers have not been released, but it is clear that many F-22s remained at the base because they were in various states of maintenance and unable to fly.  Fortunately, initial indications from the Air Force are that damage to the aircraft is less than it could have been.  (more…)