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By John Conger
On March 28, the U.S. Federal Budget request for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) was released, officially kicking off the Congressional budget season and the ensuing posture testimonies, staffer briefs, and associated deep dives into the details of the budget. With that first release, however, the Department of Defense (DoD) had not yet made available the budget details – instead providing just an information appetizer in the form of an overview slide deck. The slides indicated that the DoD characterized $3.1 billion of its budget request as “climate investment” in four categories: Installation Resiliency and Adaptation ($2 billion); Science and Technology ($807 million); Operational Energy and Buying Power ($247 million); and Contingency Preparedness ($28 million). These categories roughly line up with similar categories from FY2022 but represent significant increases in each. The FY2022 budget identified $617 million in similar categories. That said, while the categories remain the same, the contents are slightly different and it is hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the two.(more…)
Last week, the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General (IG) released a new report evaluating the climate resilience of US military bases in the Arctic and Sub-Arctic that provides a revealing glimpse of some of the challenges and opportunities facing the DoD as it works to implement climate security measures across its enterprise.
First, the report underscores the number one takeaway that the Climate Security Advisory Group identified in Challenge Accepted, our scorecard of the Biden Administration’s climate security policy: the need to move from words to action. The IG report shows the yawning gap between what policymakers mandate in Washington, what tools the Pentagon creates, and what actually happens (or doesn’t happen) out in the field. The report found little to no action at the bases on climate resilience, noting that, “military installation leaders focused on existing weather and energy challenges rather than analyzing their installations’ infrastructure, assets, and mission exposure and vulnerability to climate change; the DoD and Service Components did not provide guidance for implementing military installation resilience assessments; and installation leaders lacked resources to analyze and assess climate change.”(more…)
By John Conger
Last week, President Biden signed the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that Congress passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. The bill included numerous climate security measures that echo a number of key recommendations in the Center for Climate and Security’s Climate Security Plan for America (CSPA).
Over the past several years, Congress has enacted a series of pragmatic measures on climate and security. Many of the measures have focused locally and tactically on the Defense Department’s infrastructure and resilience to extreme weather, while others have taken a wider view such as requiring a new Arctic Strategy or creating a Department of Defense Center for Arctic Security Studies. This year’s NDAA fills in the gaps between the tactical and strategic measures and codifies some provisions in President Biden’s executive orders on climate, which will help ensure they last beyond this administration.(more…)
By John Conger
On July 14, 2021, the Readiness Subcommittee of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee held a virtual hearing on the installations and environment portfolios of the Department of Defense (DoD). The witnesses were: Paul Cramer, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Sustainment); Jack Surash, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations, Energy and Environment); Todd Schafer, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment); and Jennifer Miller, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Energy, Installations, and Environment). The hearing and the witness statements addressed a wide range of topics in this portfolio – to include climate resilience at DoD installations.
Note that each of these senior officials was Acting in their positions at the time of the hearing. Each are senior civilian officials that are filling political jobs pending nomination and confirmation of political appointees in these roles. Since this hearing, Meredith Berger has been confirmed as the Navy’s Assistant Secretary. Rachel Jacobson is the pending nominee for the Army job. No nominee has been announced for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) or Air Force roles.(more…)