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Lack of Flood Maps at Many U.S. Military Bases Creates Risks

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An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base affected by major flood waters March 17, 2019. An increase in water levels of surrounding rivers and waterways caused by record-setting snowfall over the winter in addition to a large drop in air pressure caused widespread flooding across the state of Nebraska. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)

By Dr. Marc Kodack

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) required that for any proposed major or minor U.S. military construction project within the Department of Defense (DoD), the Pentagon must disclose to Congress whether or not that project is located within the 100-year floodplain. DoD was to use the most recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood hazard data. If the FEMA data were unavailable, DoD was directed to create a process to determine the 100-year floodplain through risk analysis that conforms to standards used in federal flood risk assessments (see here). Elsewhere in the same NDAA, Congress required that climate resiliency be included in master plans for major military installations, although it did not define “major military installation.” Resiliency includes the ability of an installation to “avoid, prepare for, minimize the effect of, adapt to, and recover from extreme weather events…(Section 2805).” (more…)

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

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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 Pentagon Report: “The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue”

dod climate report_01_2019By John Conger

In the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the U.S. Congress asked the Department of Defense (DoD) to provide a report on “vulnerabilities to military installations and combatant commander requirements resulting from climate change over the next 20 years.”  That report was delivered to Congress yesterday, prosaically-titled Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense.

The first sentence in the “background” section of the study is worth noting. It reaffirms that the DoD continues to take climate change seriously, as it has across four administrations, both Republican and Democrat. The sentence reads: “The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense (DoD or the Department) missions, operational plans, and installations.” (more…)

U.S. Congress Addresses Climate Change and Security in the Latest Defense Bill

The_PentagonBy John Conger

A year after Congress declared climate change to be a direct threat to national security – a process that included a bipartisan vote on the House floor with dozens of Republicans joining Democrats to affirm the declaration – Congress passed a Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that reflects an acceptance of that consensus and an embrace of constructive measures to ensure the Department of Defense (DoD) is able to perform its missions under changing climate conditions.

With bipartisan support, Congress has produced a bill that accepts climate change as a given, takes significant steps forward to improve the resilience of DoD installations to climate change risks, and sets its sights on preparing to operate in a warming Arctic.  (more…)

Extraordinary Congressional Bipartisanship on Climate and Security

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editOn July 13, the U.S. House of Representatives defended a provision in the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act which identifies climate change as a “direct threat to the national security of the United States,” and requests a report from the Department of Defense on climate change risks to its mission over the next 20 years. Forty-six Republicans joined 188 Democrats in supporting the provision, for a vote tally of 234-185. A number of representatives spoke in favor of the provision, and cited Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s words in his responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee, wherein he noted that climate change is a current threat that is altering the strategic environment, and presenting a range of risks to military readiness and operations. Secretary Mattis’s statements were supported in a range of Congressional briefings that preceded the NDAA vote, held by the Center for Climate and Security and its partners on April 27, May 17, June 5, and July 12. (more…)

Army Reserves Provide Unprecedented Support in Wake of Sandy

According to DVIDS, the 99th Regional Support Command of the Army Reserves have become the first such units “to be deployed in response to a domestic natural disaster under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.” They supported three “quartermaster teams”  in New Jersey, providing: “waste-water pumps, military vehicles, tents, heaters, generators, cold- and wet-weather gear, and rations.” Click here for the full story.