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Climate Change Didn’t Pause for COVID-19: Implications for Military Readiness

joanvandervort_climateandsecuritypodcast

Joan VanDervort, Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security

By Joan VanDervort

As COVID-19 continues to hammer the nation, approximately 61,900 Department of Defense (DoD) personnel (45,600 of which are made up of National Guard) have been called on to support the national response.

“With COVID-19, it’s like we have 54 different hurricanes hitting every state, every territory, and the District of Columbia — some are Category 5, some are Category 3, and some are Category 1,” Gen. Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, said in a recent statement.[1]

But its more than that – not only is DoD supporting the response to the “54 different hurricanes,” but they are fighting the pandemic internally as it begins to degrade readiness from impacts on the pipeline for new recruits to delays in deployments, pauses in training, and cancelation of major exercises. (more…)

New Book: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change

Recovery Efforts Continue In Hurricane-Ravaged Florida Panhandle

Debris litters Tyndall Air Force Base following Hurricane Michael on October 17, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. Many U.S. military bases are in locations vulnerable to storm damage and sea-level rise.

Tomorrow, November 12, Professor Michael T. Klare’s book “All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change” will be published. In advance of that publication, Professor Klare was interviewed by Rolling Stone to discuss it. Here are a couple excerpts:

The idea of ‘All Hell Breaking Loose,’ in the title of your book, what does that mean for the military?

They see their job as defending this country from foreign threats and that is what they are trained to do. ‘All Hell Breaking Loose’ is a condition they fear in which they will be unable to conduct that mission, to do their job, because they will be so caught up in protecting this country against climate change threats or addressing its impacts on other countries around the world that are collapsing because of the effects.

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Heat-related illness increasing among U.S. military personnel

US Military and Extreme Heat

An Army Ranger trainee completes a 12-mile march at Fort Benning, Georgia, while wearing heat sensors to measure core temperature and heart rate. (Brock Stoneham/NBC News)

By Marc Kodack

Heat-related illnesses (heat stroke and heat exhaustion) have increased among U.S. military personnel since 2008 according to a July 23, 2019, investigative news story jointly released by Inside Climate News, an independent news organization that focuses on climate, energy and the environment, and NBCNews.com. Increasing temperature driven by climate change has not only health, but security implications for U.S. military and local populations, and the issue is worth exploring further. (more…)

3 Pentagon Strategy Documents in 3 Months Highlight Climate Change Risks

Senior_military_leaders_discuss_humanitarian_operations_during_Cobra_Gold_170214-M-SQ436-2071

Senior-ranking military members discuss current humanitarian assistance operations at a senior leaders seminar at Sattahip Naval Base in Chonburi Province, Thailand Feb. 14, 2017.

From April to June of this year, the U.S. military has issued not one, but three strategy documents that highlight climate change risks to the U.S. military mission. These include:

June 6: Department of Defense Arctic Strategy, U.S. Department of Defense

June 1: The Department of Defense Indo-Pacific Strategy Report: Preparedness, Partnerships and Promoting a Networked Region, U.S. Department of Defense

April 22: United States Coast Guard: Arctic Strategic Outlook, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard

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General Charles Wald Joins the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board

CharlesFWaldThe Center for Climate and Security is pleased and honored to announce that General Charles F. Wald, US Air Force (Ret), has joined its distinguished Advisory Board of military and national security leaders.

General Wald is President of Jones Group Middle East (JGME). He is responsible for overseeing all of JGME’s business development and operations in the region. Prior to joining JGME, General Wald served as Vice Chairman, Federal Practice Senior Advisor, Deloitte Services, LP. He provided senior leadership in strategy and relationships with the U.S. Department of Defense as well as Deloitte’s Commercial Aerospace and Defense Clients globally. General Wald is a subject matter specialist in best commercial business practices, doctrine and strategy, military procurement and sustainment, counterterrorism, technology innovation and international energy security policy.

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General Gordon Sullivan Joins the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board

gensullivanportraitsmThe Center for Climate and Security is pleased and honored to announce that General Gordon R. Sullivan, US Army (Ret), has joined its distinguished Advisory Board of military and national security leaders.

General Sullivan culminated his service in uniform as the 32nd Chief of Staff of the United States Army—the senior general officer in the army—and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the Chief of Staff of the Army, Sullivan created the vision and led the team that transitioned the army from its Cold War posture. In August 1993, President Bill Clinton assigned the duties and responsibility of acting Secretary of the Army to Sullivan who continued to serve as Chief of Staff.
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Assistant Secretary of Defense Niemeyer: Climate Plays Pivotal Role in Military Mission

USS AlbanyOn July 18, 2017 the Senate Armed Services Committee held a confirmation hearing for Lucian L. Niemeyer, the next Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment (IE&E), who ultimately received unanimous support from the Committee. Mr. Niemeyer’s comments on climate change, both in written responses to advance policy questions, and during the hearing, supported the strong commitment Secretary of Defense James Mattis has made to addressing climate change-related risks to the U.S. military’s mission. Here is a link to the full hearing video (question and response on climate change begin at 1:04:00). Below is an excerpt from Mr. Niemeyer’s written answers to advance policy questions on climate change, and an excerpt from the hearing itself. (more…)