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Military and National Security Leaders Criticize Decision to Shut Down U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change

Rear Admiral Jonathan White USN_Ret_Climate Security Podcast

Rear Admiral Jon White, USN (Ret), led the U.S. Navy Task Force Climate Change from 2012-2015

According to E&E News, the United States Navy has ‘quietly stood down its Task Force Climate Change (TFCC), created in 2009 to plan and develop “future public, strategic, and policy discussions” on the issue.’ The decision is not getting good reviews from the Navy leader who started the task force, and the national security leader who valued its work. While the TFCC was never meant to exist forever (the nature of a task force is to perform a task and then disband), the Center for Climate and Security’s Rear Admiral Jonathan White, U.S. Navy (Ret), who led the TFCC from 2012 to 2015, highlights the fact that the goal of the task force was to fully incorporate climate change into the U.S. Navy’s decision-making processes, and that this simply hasn’t happened yet. From the article: (more…)

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

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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 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…)

Commander of US Forces in the Indo-Asia Pacific Affirms Climate Change Threat

Admiral Davidson_2019_02_12

Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), describes climate change threats before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb 12, 2019

By John Conger

During a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 12, Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM), affirmed the threat climate change poses to his Area of Responsibility, becoming the 21st senior military official to raise concerns about climate risks during the current Administration (see here for a list from November, and here for statements from Admiral Moran and General Neller in December).

During questioning, Admiral Davidson confirmed that he agreed with the intelligence community’s assessment of the climate change threat, as articulated in the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment published by the Director for National Intelligence (NOTE: climate change has been identified as a security threat in each of the last ten such assessments). (more…)

Release:  CCS Applauds Choice of Rear Admiral Phillips as Virginia’s Coastal Resilience Lead

Ann Phillips 2017Washington, DC – The Center for Climate and Security applauds the choice of Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, United States Navy (retired) to lead Virginia’s climate resilience efforts. Admiral Phillips will serve in a cabinet-level position as Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection. Admiral Phillips is a distinguished member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board, and has been a leading voice on the risks climate change poses to both military and civilian communities, particularly along the southeastern coast. Before joining the Center, she served for 31 years in the U.S. Navy, including as Commander of Destroyer Squadron TWO EIGHT and Expeditionary Strike Group TWO, as Senior Fellow on the Chief of Naval Operation’s Strategic Studies Group XXVIII, as Deputy Director and Director of the Surface Warfare Division, and as Co-Chair of the Surface Force Working Group in the Navy’s Climate Change Task Force and Energy Task Force.

In response to the announcement, senior national security and defense leaders from the Center for Climate and Security applauded the appointment. See their statements below. (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…)