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Pentagon Not Using Leading Practices to Assess Water Scarcity at Installations

The_PentagonBy Marc Kodack

The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) latest audit of DoD installations focused on “the extent to which DoD has assurance that it is using reliable information to identify installations at risk of water scarcity.” GAO found that DOD does not have “assurance that [it] is using accurate and reliable information regarding which installations are at risk for water scarcity.” GAO examined multiple DoD and military service assessments that focused on or included water scarcity. Some of these assessments included the effects of climate change on water availability. GAO collected installation information on water scarcity from field visits or through questionnaires from a total of 17 installations. The installations selected were previously identified by DoD or the Services as having water vulnerabilities or scarcity. (more…)

Higher Temperatures from Climate Change Can Deteriorate Stored Ammunition and Explosives

Munitions exposed to heat

Munitions exposed to extreme heat can become unstable, leading to unplanned explosions at munitions sites, or UEMS. Credit: Getty Images

By Marc Kodack

Climate change will affect bulk commodities, e.g., ammunition, that the U.S. Amy relies on in combat operations. As temperatures increase in arid areas of the world, such as the Middle East (which is critically important to U.S. national security), the storage of ammunition and explosives (AE) under extreme temperatures can lead to instability and possible unplanned detonations. A recent article in Scientific American explores the storage of ammunition whereby “intense heat can weaken munition’s structural integrity, cause the thermal expansion of explosive chemicals and damage protective shields.” (more…)

Highway Bridge Deterioration from Climate Change Will Affect U.S. Military Mobility and Deployments

Bridge #3 with Deteriorated Deck _WI

By Marc Kodack

The overall state of infrastructure in the U.S. is very poor. Whether it’s energy, transit, drinking water, or inland waterways, these and other types of infrastructure are all aging and deteriorating at different rates. Climate change exacerbates the condition of many of these types of infrastructure. For the Department of Defense (DoD), infrastructure, such as bridges, roads, rail, ports, and aviation structures, is important to move personnel and equipment in response to disasters within the U.S. or for deploying overseas for humanitarian and/or combat operations. The declining state of bridges across the U.S. may impede the DoD’s ability to meet the timely execution of its assigned mission. Bridges will experience climate change effects, including those from rising temperatures that can lower physical performance leading to degradation in their life span. (more…)

Climate Change Driving Increase in Black Flag Days at 100 U.S. Military Installations

US Military and Extreme Heat

An Army Ranger trainee completes a 12-mile march at Fort Benning in Georgia while wearing heat sensors under his uniform to measure his core temperature and heart rate. (Brock Stoneham/NBC News)

By Marc Kodack

Elevated temperatures from climate change will adversely affect the health of military personnel. The increased heat that will occur over the next 30 years will affect multiple installations in the U.S. On average, these installations will experience additional days of high heat conditions according to research by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

UCS examined different climate scenarios to calculate the number of hot days for 169 installations in the U.S. across the Services. They found that without any reductions in global CO2 levels by 2050, the average installation will experience 33 additional days with a heat index above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the report: (more…)

U.S. Congress Continues to Address Climate Change in Defense and Intelligence Legislation

Rain_on_Capitol_Hill

By John Conger

In the final version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress included multiple important climate security provisions that will significantly increase Department of Defense (DoD) installations’ resilience to climate change. This continues a tradition of bipartisan cooperation on including climate change provisions in the NDAA, including during the last and current Congress (including the FY2018 NDAA, which identified climate change as a “direct threat” to national security. This year’s bill includes a number of significant steps forward, such as funding for climate resilience projects, and the creation of a Climate and Security Council within the Intelligence Community (a long-standing priority for the Center for Climate and Security). Below is a summary of the climate security provisions in the final version of the NDAA. (more…)

New Zealand Defence Releases Climate Change Implementation Plan

NZ Defence_Climate Crisis Report Cover_2019On December 8, 2019, the New Zealand Minister of Defence Hon. Ron Mark, with Minister for Climate Change Hon James Shaw, released a Climate Change Implementation Work Plan for its defence force, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan. The plan was co-produced by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force, and follows on the heels of the Defence Capability Plan released in June, which included the “Climate Crisis” as one of its key chapters. To read the full report, click here, and to read the press release, click here. A contact in the New Zealand Ministry of Defence sent along the following summary: (more…)

Femia: Army War College finds service ill-equipped to face climate change

Francesco Femia on TRT WorldLast week, the Federal News Network’s “Federal Drive” ran an interview with the Center for Climate and Security’s Co-Founder, Francesco Femia, regarding a recent Army War College report that alarmingly found the U.S. military “precariously underprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.” Femia highlighted the key takeaways from the report, including an extraordinary finding specific to the Army, which stated that the service is “precipitously close to mission failure concerning hydration of the force in contested arid environments.” Femia recommended that both technical, as well as big strategic and operational changes and investments, are needed to prepare the Army, and the broader U.S. military, for this rapidly-changing operational landscape – including to prepare for the likelihood of adversaries taking advantage of these changes, and a lack of U.S. leadership for addressing them. Click here for the full interview.