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In a recent article published by Bloomberg News, Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret), former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO and former commander of U.S. Southern Command – the Area of Responsibility (or AOR) that includes Brazil – makes a compelling case for how the fires in the Brazilian rainforest, and its implications for climate change, are a security issue not just for the country and its neighbors, but for the U.S. as well. He includes a quote from CCS Advisory Board member, Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (Ret), stating: ‘As my good friend Denny Ginn, formerly the admiral in charge of all Navy installations, has said, “it’s not a matter of if, only a matter of time” before we have a catastrophic event.’ Read the full article here.
Climate change is radically altering the physical environment in the theater of conflict, making future military successes dependent on adaptation today. New research shows that climate change is reducing performance of U.S. military aircraft. As the environment grows hotter and more humid, military aircraft will not be able to carry as much payload or travel long distances without refueling. More missions will be cancelled or modified due to decreased aircraft performance on hot and humid days, which diminishes the U.S. military’s ability to project power and respond effectively to conflicts. (more…)
By John Conger
As the confirmation processes continue for both Mark Esper to become Secretary of Defense and General Mark A. Milley to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it is worth exploring what these officials have said and done about climate security in general, or particular aspects of it, while they’ve been in their current positions running the Army – including most recently during the confirmation process.
First, as Secretary of the Army, Dr. Esper submitted to Congress a top ten list of his most climate-vulnerable bases, focusing mostly on drought and desertification, and committed to “work closely with other leaders throughout the Department of Defense and with Congress to identify corrective actions and implement steps to enhance our readiness and capability in the face of climate related threats.” (more…)
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…)
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…)
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
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…)