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New U.S. Navy Climate Strategy Sets High-Level Goals

By Erin Sikorsky 

On May 24, the U.S. Navy released Climate Action 2030, its response to the Presidential directive to integrate climate considerations into all aspects of the Department of Defense. The Navy is the second of the armed services to release such a strategy – the Army released its version in February, and the Air Force continues to work on its plan.  

Like the Army’s report, the Navy strategy repeatedly notes that far from distracting from the Navy’s core mission – warfighting – preparing for climate change will ensure the Navy is resilient and ready in the face of a changing landscape. As the report says, “The Department does not have to choose between warfighting and preparing for climate change; the two go hand-in-hand.” 

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Unpacking the Pentagon’s $3.1 Billion Climate Request

Rough seas pound the hull of Military Sealift Command fast combat support ship USNS Arctic as she sails alongside Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Joshua A. Moore

By John Conger

On March 28, the U.S. Federal Budget request for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY2023) was released, officially kicking off the Congressional budget season and the ensuing posture testimonies, staffer briefs, and associated deep dives into the details of the budget.  With that first release, however, the Department of Defense (DoD) had not yet made available the budget details – instead providing just an information appetizer in the form of an overview slide deck.  The slides indicated that the DoD characterized $3.1 billion of its budget request as “climate investment” in four categories: Installation Resiliency and Adaptation ($2 billion); Science and Technology ($807 million); Operational Energy and Buying Power ($247 million); and Contingency Preparedness ($28 million).  These categories roughly line up with similar categories from FY2022 but represent significant increases in each.   The FY2022 budget identified $617 million in similar categories.  That said, while the categories remain the same, the contents are slightly different and it is hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison between the two.

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Integrating Climate Change into the US Global Fragility Strategy: A New “Prologue”

By Erin Sikorsky

In early April, the Biden Administration released a “prologue” to the US Global Fragility Strategy, also known as the Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability. The initial document was developed under the Trump Administration in response to requirements in the Global Fragility Act (GFA). Congress passed the GFA in 2019 with bipartisan support, the goal of which was to create a new approach to preventing conflict in fragile states by bringing a whole of government, silo-busting strategy to foreign assistance and diplomacy. This type of coordinated, multi-sectoral process is exactly what is needed to ensure climate considerations are well integrated into US foreign policy, and the prologue takes two important steps forward in this direction.

First, the new prologue explicitly discusses the role of climate change in shaping state fragility and risks of conflict – a glaring omission in the original strategy. The document states:

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U.S. House Adaptation Hearings Offer Insights for Climate Security Action

By Elsa Barron

In early March, the U.S. House of Representatives hosted two hearings on climate adaptation in the United States. Given the current and future risks posed by climate change, including sea-level rise, intensifying natural disasters, and extreme temperatures, creating a plan to respond and adapt to climate change is crucial for ensuring security. The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing titled Federal Climate Adaptation and Resilience for the 21st Century and the House Committee on the Climate Crisis hearing was named Confronting Climate Impacts: Federal Strategies for Equitable Adaptation and Resilience. These hearings closely followed the release of the IPCC Working Group II (WGII) report focused on climate impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. An analysis by the Center for Climate and Security on the WGII contribution notes that, “In the near-term, vulnerability and exposure of natural and human systems to climate-related risks will depend more on the actions taken to adapt, or lack thereof, than on climate hazards themselves.” Therefore, it is critical for all sectors of government to prepare for climate security impacts and prevent them from having their worst effects.

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