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Army Corps Chief: We Will Continue to Consider Climate Change Unless Ordered Not To

RD James 2020By Marc Kodack

On 9 January, the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, held a hearing to discuss the 2020 Water Resources Development Act. There were two witnesses: The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, HON R.D. James, and the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army and the Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lieutenant General Todd Semonite. During the hearing, Assistant Secretary James noted that the Army Corps of Engineers would continue to consider the science of climate change unless explicitly ordered not to. See below for the full exchange on climate change between the Subcommittee Chairwoman, Representative Grace Napolitano, and Assistant Secretary James. (more…)

America Must Reassert Its Leadership In The Arctic For 21st Century Security

Goodman Congressional Testimony_2019_December 12

Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist at the Center for Climate and Security, testifies before the U.S. Senate on December 12, 2019

By Ladeene Freimuth, Special Guest Contributor

As we begin a new decade and move further into the 21st century, increasing U.S. leadership and security in the Arctic are vital, in light of the growing threats America faces there. The U.S. cannot lose sight of important geostrategic changes occurring vis-a-vis the Arctic, due to the “threat multiplier” effects of climate change, which are exacerbating the security challenges for the U.S. there and elsewhere around the globe.

A recent hearing on the “Expanding Opportunities, Challenges, and Threats in the Arctic” in the Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation sought to highlight this need for the U.S. to reassert its leadership in the Arctic by examining climate change and national security challenges and opportunities in the region, with an emphasis on the U.S. Coast Guard’s strategic role. Climate impacts are “reshaping the strategic operating environment for the Coast Guard in the Arctic, and around the world,” as the Honorable Sherri Goodman, Senior Strategist for the Center for Climate and Security, testified before the Subcommittee. In 2018, former Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, stated that the U.S. needs to up its gamein the Arctic, because the U.S. is inadequately prepared for the changing threat environment there. (more…)

U.S. Congress Continues to Address Climate Change in Defense and Intelligence Legislation

Rain_on_Capitol_Hill

By John Conger

In the final version of the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress included multiple important climate security provisions that will significantly increase Department of Defense (DoD) installations’ resilience to climate change. This continues a tradition of bipartisan cooperation on including climate change provisions in the NDAA, including during the last and current Congress (including the FY2018 NDAA, which identified climate change as a “direct threat” to national security. This year’s bill includes a number of significant steps forward, such as funding for climate resilience projects, and the creation of a Climate and Security Council within the Intelligence Community (a long-standing priority for the Center for Climate and Security). Below is a summary of the climate security provisions in the final version of the NDAA. (more…)

Forecast: Climate Change and Security in the 116th Congress

Rain_on_Capitol_HillBy John Conger

One of the most tangible successes on climate change during the 115th U.S. Congress was the firm establishment of a bipartisan consensus that climate change is a direct threat to national security.  In fact, Congress voted in 2017 to say exactly that and the President signed the bill into law.  Senior military officials echoed this sentiment on multiple occasions, but the Department of Defense has been cognizant of the risks it faces from climate change for many years. So what does all this mean for the 116th Congress? Here are three initial observations. (more…)

Extraordinary Congressional Bipartisanship on Climate and Security

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editOn July 13, the U.S. House of Representatives defended a provision in the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act which identifies climate change as a “direct threat to the national security of the United States,” and requests a report from the Department of Defense on climate change risks to its mission over the next 20 years. Forty-six Republicans joined 188 Democrats in supporting the provision, for a vote tally of 234-185. A number of representatives spoke in favor of the provision, and cited Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s words in his responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee, wherein he noted that climate change is a current threat that is altering the strategic environment, and presenting a range of risks to military readiness and operations. Secretary Mattis’s statements were supported in a range of Congressional briefings that preceded the NDAA vote, held by the Center for Climate and Security and its partners on April 27, May 17, June 5, and July 12. (more…)

Climate-Security Rundown: A List of Recent Events You May Have Missed

Pakistan flood reliefThere’s been a lot of activity in the U.S. climate-national security space in recent weeks, including insightful commentary from retired flag officers and national security officials, and hearings in the U.S. Congress. Below is a short list of those happenings, including links to summaries and sources. If we have missed anything, please let us know in the comments section below! (more…)

On the Hill Today: Sherri Goodman on Climate Change and the Federal Budget

800px-United_States_Capitol_Building-_west_front_editSherri Goodman, Executive Director of the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board (that just released a major new report on climate change and national security) will be speaking before the Senate Budget Committee today at 10:00AM ET. According to the committee website, the hearing, titled “The Costs of Inaction: The Economic and Budgetary Consequences of Climate Change,” will explore: “how climate change is not only an environmental and economic challenge, but also increasingly a fiscal challenge, and will examine how failing to mitigate the risks associated with climate change will affect the U.S. federal budget.” Click here for the full details of the hearing (including the full roster of participants), and stay tuned for both a video of the testimonies, and links to the written submissions.