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3 Pentagon Strategy Documents in 3 Months Highlight Climate Change Risks


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


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.


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.

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…)

Climate Change, National Security and the Big Blue Rabbit

PACOM_AORStars and Stripes magazine’s Wyatt Olson recently published a very interesting and thorough article titled “PACOM not waiting for politics to plan for climate change challenges.” The article details the reasons U.S. Pacific Command is taking climate change seriously, and some of what it’s doing to combat the threat.

A great quote from the piece, which perfectly encapsulates the national security community’s risk management approach to climate change, comes from Brig. Gen. Mark McLeod. He stated:

Seventy percent of the bad storms that happen in the world are in the Pacific,” he said. “Call it climate change, call it the big blue rabbit, I don’t give a hoot what you call it — the military has to respond to those kinds of things.


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…)

General Ron Keys Talks Climate Change and Security in Iowa

Ron KeysRetired four-star Air Force General Ron Keys, member of CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board (MAB), and our own Advisory Board, is in Iowa this week talking about the risks and opportunities associated with a changing climate. This comes on the heels of a landmark report release from the MAB, titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.”

Yesterday, General Keys spoke with “Iowa policy-makers and agriculture leaders” about climate change impacts on crop production, stating:

“That’s what we mean when we talk about a catalyst for conflict…When people don’t have enough to eat, when people don’t have enough water, when people don’t have a way to make a living, then they start to move or the[y] start to be activists…or the government can’t support them any longer and so you have, perhaps, radicals taking over certain areas of the world.”

Today, General Keys will speak at the opening of Iowa’s largest solar farm in Kalona. In advance of that, General Keys penned an Op-Ed for The Des Moines Register. In it, he talks about the effect climate change and a dependence on oil has on U.S. military infrastructure and operations, and how the military is addressing those issues. He states:

The military has long been looking for ways to reduce demand, diversify supply and advance the use of renewable options both here at home and on the battlefield. In recent wars, transporting and protecting access to fuel supplies has put our troops in greater danger. Historically, our dependence on oil has tied our nation to troubling regimes in parts of the world that are neither the most stable nor the most friendly to American interests.

These are all good reasons to look for solutions now.

There is another challenge, too: As a senior officer with responsibility for military installations around the world, I saw the beginning effects of climate change as long-term droughts and flooding began to threaten bases and training ranges. Extreme weather events were a wake-up call, showing what can happen as storms get stronger and weather patterns change.

Today, the Department of Defense is analyzing plans for at least 30 bases, posts or ports in the face of predicted sea-level rise that may make some unusable — more good reasons to look for solutions now.

Follow us on Twitter @CntrClimSec for more on General Keys’ visit to both Kalona and Camp Dodge (where he’s discussing efficiency with the Iowa National Guard).