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The Air Force’s Most Vulnerable Bases
By John Conger
In 2017, the U.S. Congress directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a list of the installations in each military service that were most vulnerable to climate change. They gave DoD a year to do this work, as it wasn’t simple. The DoD would need to look across its enterprise, and determine how it would measure vulnerability and assess which risks were specifically from climate change. At the Center for Climate and Security, we published a briefer on the factors they might consider.
In early 2019, the DoD report was submitted to Congress, but it omitted the requested prioritization and had other puzzling gaps as well. It omitted the Marine Corps. It left out all non-US bases. It didn’t respond to Congressional questions about mitigation and cost. Instead, it included a list of 79 bases that the Department determined were its most critical, and then did a rudimentary assessment of the threat from climate change without prioritization. Congress directed them to go back and redo the work. (more…)
Three Takeaways from Hurricane Michael’s Impact on Tyndall Air Force Base
By John Conger, Director, The Center for Climate and Security
As the Florida communities devastated by Hurricane Michael begin their long recovery, much attention has been focused on Tyndall Air Force Base and the incredible amount of damage the base took from the storm.
First and foremost, it’s important to highlight the wise decision to evacuate the base as the storm approached. No lives were lost on Tyndall and many of its F-22 aircraft were relocated elsewhere – out of harms way. Missions have been moved and critical functions have continued to operate. A decision to ride out the storm could have gone much, much worse.
Second, while the damage assessment is still ongoing, it is very clear that the bill will be quite high – not only to the infrastructure of the base, but also to the very expensive F-22 aircraft that remained at the installation. Official numbers have not been released, but it is clear that many F-22s remained at the base because they were in various states of maintenance and unable to fly. Fortunately, initial indications from the Air Force are that damage to the aircraft is less than it could have been. (more…)