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Stars and Stripes magazine’s Wyatt Olson recently published a very interesting and thorough article titled “PACOM not waiting for politics to plan for climate change challenges.” The article details the reasons U.S. Pacific Command is taking climate change seriously, and some of what it’s doing to combat the threat.
A great quote from the piece, which perfectly encapsulates the national security community’s risk management approach to climate change, comes from Brig. Gen. Mark McLeod. He stated:
Seventy percent of the bad storms that happen in the world are in the Pacific,” he said. “Call it climate change, call it the big blue rabbit, I don’t give a hoot what you call it — the military has to respond to those kinds of things.
This is just a note that from October 8 – 18, the U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) and the Philippine military will be conducting joint exercises in Zambales – the 29th in what is an annual affair. These particular exercises will focus on disaster response and humanitarian assistance, and ensuring interoperability between the two forces in the event of disaster. This is an especially critical mission in the region, and is one that may become even more critical in the event that climate change projections play out, and increases in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events take their toll. And as we have written previously, both for strategic and altruistic reasons, enhancing the resilience of the Asia-Pacific region to the effects of climate change should be a core U.S. national security priority in the coming decades.