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Congressional Hearing on Resilience Highlights Climate Change Risks

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By John Conger

On Friday, March 26, the Readiness Subcommittee of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on resilience, which in recent years has become synonymous with climate change adaptation.  It was a remarkably substantive hearing, with senior representatives of the military services (LTG Douglas Gabram, Commander Army Installations Management Command; VADM Yancey Lindsey, Commander Navy Installations Command; MajGen Edward Banta, Commander Marine Corps Installations Command; and Brig Gen John Allen, Commander Air Force Civil Engineering Center) citing progress on a variety of fronts, listing actions at specific bases, and clearly communicating the seriousness of the resilience requirement in the face of climate change and the increasing impacts of extreme weather.  It was also clear, however, that they had a very long way to go.

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A Climate Security Plan for America Part 3: Support Allies and Partners

By Erin Sikorsky

Part 3 of 4 in the Climate Security Plan for America blog series

See part 1, “Demonstrate Leadership,” here and part 2, “Assess Climate Risks,” here

As the Presidentially-mandated deadline approaches for US foreign policy agencies to integrate climate change into their regional and country strategies, it is a perfect moment to examine the recommendations in part 3 of our Climate Security Plan for America: Supporting Allies and Partners. The Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad tasked all agencies that “engage in extensive international work” to develop within 90 days “strategies and implementation plans for integrating climate considerations into their international work.” The EO was signed on 27 January, so the due date for the plans is April 27, just a few days after the US-led Earth Day Leaders Summit on climate change. 

Why is supporting U.S. allies and partners in building resilience to climate security threats so important? As the pandemic has shown, when it comes to transnational, actorless threats, we’re all in this together. Climate change vulnerabilities in other states can affect US national security directly or indirectly — whether by straining the governments of key allies and partners, creating openings for violent non-state actors to gain traction, or contributing to drivers of conflict and instability. Even developed countries are likely to need more assistance in developing resilience strategies in the coming years, as communities barely have time to recover from one shock when the next one hits. For example, just last week Australia saw record-breaking floods hit areas still recovering from last year’s record-breaking wildfires.

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Climate Change in U.S. National Security Strategies under Obama, Trump and Biden

By Dr. Marc Kodack

As the Biden administration’s national security team ramps up efforts to incorporate climate change and its effects into their agencies and policies, work will begin on crafting a new National Security Strategy (NSS). To guide national security decision-making while the full strategy is drafted, President Biden has released interim national security strategic guidance (here). With the availability of this guidance we can compare and contrast how President Biden plans to address climate change and national security with how these issues were tackled in Obama and Trump National Security Strategies published in 2015 and 2017, respectively. In short, the Obama and Biden strategic guidance is strong on climate security (with Biden’s being especially robust), while the Trump NSS was almost entirely silent on the subject. Below is a detailed review.

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U.S. Congress: Bipartisan Support for Investments in Combating Climate Change at the Department of Defense

Sherri Goodman, Chair of the Council on Strategic Risks, speaks to the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee, March 17, 2021

By John Conger

As the Fiscal Year 2022 budget is discussed within the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), a budget that will reportedly include an increased focus on dealing with the threats that climate change poses to the Defense Department, the House Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee held a hearing on March 17 to consider the risks – and the costs – imposed by climate change.  The panel witnesses were Sherri Goodman, Chair of the Council on Strategic Risks, Senior Strategist and Advisory Board Member of the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and Secretary General of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS); and Vice Admiral (ret) Dennis McGinn, Member of the CCS Advisory Board.  

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