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The Air Force’s Most Vulnerable Bases

200th RED HORSE and 179th Airlift Wing Airmen aid in Hurricane Michael Recovery Efforts

Ohio Air National Guardmen traveled to Tyndall Air Force Base following Hurricane Michael, to provide damage assessment and recovery efforts, October 17-22, 2018 (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Ashley Klase)

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…)

CCS Director Talks Climate Threats to the Military on C-SPAN

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John Conger talks to C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on climate threats to the U.S. military – April 25, 2019

John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security, appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on Thursday morning (April 25) to talk about the impacts of climate change on the military.

During the program, Conger highlighted the impacts of extreme weather on Tyndall Air Force Base, Camp Lejeune and Offutt Air Force Base, and the $8 billion combined cost of recovery.  He also spoke to the DoD focus on resilience to current impacts such as sea level rise, flooding and extreme weather, and how that has continued during the current administration. (more…)

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on Climate Instability and Political Instability

General_Paul_J._Selva,_USAF_(VJCS)During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on July 18, 2017, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul J. Selva, gave a detailed description of the impact he understands climate change has (and will have) on the global operating environment in which the armed services operate, and the need for the Department of Defense to be prepared for the threat. Of particular note, he stated: “It will also cause us to have to focus on places where climate instability might cause actual political instability in regions of the world we hadn’t previously had to pay attention to.” That inspires us to shamelessly plug our recent report, “Epicenters of Climate and Security: The New Geostrategic Landscape of the Anthropocene,” which explores a number of possible hot spots of the kind the General is referring to.

Below is both a full transcript of his comments, and a video of the exchange: (more…)

RELEASE: U.S. Military Leaders Encouraged by Republican Climate Resolution

us_navy_military_sealift_command_underway_replenishment_oiler_usns_walter_s-_diehl_provides_fuel_and_suppliesRELEASE: U.S. Military Leaders Encouraged by Republican Climate Resolution

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, is encouraged by the recently-introduced Republican Climate Resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives. Francesco “Frank” Femia and Caitlin Werrell, Co-Founders and Directors, the Center for Climate and Security, noted: (more…)

General Keys: The military thinks climate change is serious

Ron KeysGeneral Ron Keys, United States Air Force (ret), in his capacity as Advisory Board member with the Center for Climate and Security and Chairman of the CNA Advisory Board, recently opened up the annual Common Good Forum with an excellent speech titled “Planning for Disaster – Climate Change and National Security.” In the speech, General Keys emphasized that the U.S. military doesn’t play politics with climate change and energy security, because it doesn’t have that luxury. The U.S. military looks at both climate change and energy security through the lens of how they effect its capacity to do its job as a war-fighter and humanitarian responder. A few key passages from the General: (more…)

New Dept. of Defense Directive on Climate and Security

The_PentagonBy RADM David Titley, USN (Ret.), Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security 

If you Google “arcane bureaucratic tool” the Department of Defense Directive (DODD) should be high on the results list.  That said, these little-known directives can be very influential in how the Pentagon conducts its day to day business.  However, late last week Robert Work, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, signed out a DODD that may just be the most meaningful climate-related document the DoD has released. (more…)

TV Interview: The Center for Climate and Security on Climate Change and Syria

On Saturday, July 25, the Center for Climate and Security’s Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia spoke to MSNBC’s Alex Witt about the intersection of climate change, natural resource mismanagement and instability in Syria, as well as the broader national and international security implications of a changing climate. Click on the image below for the full interview.

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Caitlin Werrell & Francesco Femia, Center for Climate and Security

For more on the Center for Climate and Security’s research on the subject, see:

2012: Syria: Climate Change, Drought and Social Unrest
2013: The Arab Spring and Climate Change
2015: Did We See it Coming? State Fragility, Climate Vulnerability, and the Uprisings in Syria and Egypt