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By John Conger
A lot is happening on the climate and security front in the U.S. Congress. This is unsurprising, given the continued attention to the security risks of climate change from the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, as well as a persistent message from the national security community outside government about the importance of addressing this growing threat. Below are descriptions of two Congressional actions in the past week alone, as well as one on the horizon (well, tomorrow).
March 13: Tomorrow, the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Readiness will be holding a hearing titled “Ensuring Resiliency of Military Installations and Operations in Response to Climate Changes.” The hearing will feature testimony from retired Rear Admiral David W. Titley, U.S. Navy (full disclosure: he’s a Senior Member of the Center for Climate and Security’s Advisory Board and a Member of the Board of Directors at the Council on Strategic Risks, our parent organization). He will be joined by the Honorable Sharon Burke, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy at the Department of Defense, and Nicolas Loris at the Center for Free Markets and Regulatory Reform. (more…)
In a hearing yesterday before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army General Curtis M. Scaparrotti, Commander of United States European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and Army General Stephen R. Lyons, Commander of United States Transportation Command, both agreed with the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment that climate change is a security threat. This is despite a current National Security Council attempt to impose a political test on that national security analysis, which was denounced yesterday by a group of 58 senior military, national security and intelligence leaders with experience across Republican and Democratic Administrations.
Army Assistant Secretary Nominee on Whether or Not Climate Change Affects the Military: “Absolutely.”
On August 21, Alex Beehler, the nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy, and Environment, was asked by Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed during a confirmation hearing about whether or not he agreed with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ s view that climate change affects the military mission. His response was unambiguous:
“Absolutely. Echoing what General McMahon just said, and if confirmed, from my position I will do everything to encourage installations and help direct installations to properly prepare on a case by case basis for both adverse weather and effects long-term from climate.” (more…)
In Questions for the Record (QFRs) submitted by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee to the Administration’s nominees for Assistant Secretary Of The Navy For Installations, Energy, And The Environment (Mrs. Phyllis L. Bayer) and Assistant Secretary Of The Air Force For Installations, Environment, And Energy (Mr. John Henderson), they were each asked a question on how they would address climate change-related risks to the Department of Defense. Both followed the lead of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who has made some of the strongest statements of any Secretary of Defense on the need to address the security implications of climate change in his own responses to the QFRs. Below are Bayer’s and Henderson’s answers: (more…)