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In light of President Obama’s visit to Asia this week, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s The Strategist published an article yesterday by the Center for Climate and Security’s Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia titled “Combatting climate change in the Asia–Pacific: lessons from the Marshall Plan.” It is a shorter version of a piece published in our “U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change” report, which includes a foreword by former Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, USN (ret).
The Center for Climate and Security is honored to welcome Admiral Sam J. Locklear, United States Navy (Retired), to its distinguished Advisory Board of senior military, national security and foreign policy experts. Admiral Locklear recently retired from the US Navy after serving with distinction for over 39 years, including 15 years of service as a Flag Officer. During his significant tenure as a four star, Admiral Locklear lead at the highest levels serving as Commander U.S. Pacific Command, Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa, and Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command.
As Commander U.S. Pacific Command, the United States’ oldest and largest geographic unified combatant command, he commanded all U.S. military forces operating across more than half the globe. He accurately assessed the rapidly changing geopolitical environment of the Indo-Asia-Pacific, the most militarized area of the world, made significant advancements in how U.S. forces are postured for crisis or contingency, and was instrumental in addressing the growing global cyber challenges in the region. A key architect of America’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, Admiral Locklear provided the vision, strategic framework, and detailed planning that began the rebalance of U.S. military influence to the Asia-Pacific. He skillfully managed the US military relationships with our five Pacific treaty allies, numerous key security partners, and emerging multilateral security forums. Additionally, he maintained a pragmatic but lasting relationship with China’s military and made significant progress in developing a deeper strategic security relationship with India. (more…)
On Thursday April 16, 2015, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Forces Korea. Witnesses included Admiral Samuel J. Locklear, III, USN Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. Admiral Locklear has been particularly concerned about the threat of climate change to the region, in the context of U.S. strategic interests (see here, here, here and here). Admiral Locklear’s written testimony for Thursday’s hearing reiterated those concerns. Below are excepts from Admiral Locklear’s testimony. The full testimony is available here, and a transcript of the hearing is available here. (more…)
The annual Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN), the “principal forum for bilateral consultations between Australian and the United States,” took place this week in Sydney, and discussion of the security implications of climate change was on the agenda. The consultations included the Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defence, the US Secretaries of State and Defense, and other senior officials from the countries’ respective diplomatic and defense establishments. According to the Australian government’s website, “The Consultations provide a major opportunity to discuss and share perspectives and approaches on major global and regional political issues, and to deepen bilateral foreign security and defence cooperation.” In this context, discussion of climate -security is important. (more…)
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.
At the Atlantic Council in March, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, head of U.S. Pacific Command (USPACOM) – in charge of all U.S. forces in the Pacific region – revealed some practical wisdom he communicates to those that work for him. He stated:
… if there’s one thing I tell everybody that comes to work for me – every commander – I [say] ‘While you’re here, you may not have a conflict with another military, but you will have a natural disaster that you have to either assist in, or be prepared to manage the consequences on the other side. And that has been true every year.
In the context of typhoon Neogori, which recently hit Okinawa, Japan (also host to the U.S. Kadena Air Base), and the likelihood of an increase in extreme weather disasters in the region over time (due to population and climate change dynamics), these words are likely to remain relevant for some time to come.
On the heels of the Quadrennial Defense Review release, the Hill’s Congress blog has published a great piece by our distinguished Advisory Board members Lt. Gen John Castellaw, USMC (Ret) and Rear Adm. David Titley, USN (Ret), titled “The U.S. military leads on climate change.” In it, they describe the leadership of the U.S. military on addressing climate change, and articulate the simple fact that climate change is a question of national security, and not one that should be subject to partisan bickering. Read the full article here.