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Defense Secretary Carter on the Strategic Implications of Climate Change


Photo by US DoD

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter recently spoke to a group at the Commonwealth Club in California. His remarks touched on issues related to climate risks, including state stability, the oceans, and the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific (for more on this see “The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security and Climate Change). The question and answer session following Sec. Carter’s remarks included a question specifically on what the Department of Defense was doing on climate change (transcribed below). In his response, Sec. Carter makes it very clear that climate change is a strategic threat to the Department of Defense, and something the military is watching closely.


Military Leaders Agree with Pentagon: Climate Change an “Immediate Risk to National Security”

The_PentagonRELEASE: Military Leaders Agree with New Pentagon Roadmap: Climate Change an “Immediate Risk to National Security”

Washington, D.C. — The Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a policy institute with an Advisory Board of retired senior military officers and national security experts, concurs with the U.S. Department of Defense’s recently-released 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (CCAR), which states: “Climate change will affect the DoD’s ability to defend the nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security.” CCS also supports concrete actions called for in the roadmap, such as the integration of climate change considerations into “Department-wide plans and guidance to the Combatant Commanders,” while noting that important choices lie ahead. (more…)

Secretary Hagel on Climate Change Affecting the Security Environment

130425-D-BW835-225Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be attending the 11th Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA), according to a DoD press release it is the “the Western Hemisphere’s “premiere venue” for senior leaders to discuss regional defense issues,” and climate change is on the agenda. At a press conference earlier this week Secretary Hagel provided a preview of the topics he will discuss at the CDMA tomorrow. Sec. Hagel noted specifically the role of climate change on the security environment. John Banusiewicz with DoD news reports: (more…)

Secretary of Defense Panetta Reaffirms Climate Change as a National Security Risk

In a comment this past March, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke of the national security implications of climate change.  He strongly reaffirmed DoD’s attention to this issue in a major speech last Wednesday, May 2 (we were out of town, and are a little late out of the gate on this).  In addition to highlighting the unique threat that climate change poses to U.S. national security, Secretary Panetta also discussed how the Department of Defense was well-placed to address this threat because of its ability to take the long-term view in preparing for risks (see our recent piece on why the U.S. national security establishment takes climate change seriously, which touches on similar issues). Below is a key section of the speech that we found notable, and here is a link to the full speech on the DoD’s website. (more…)

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