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Climate Change in the US Arctic: A Growing Concern for Homeland Defense?


By Agata Lavorio

Is climate change shaping U.S. Arctic posture? For much of its modern history, the U.S. has been considered a reluctant Arctic state, given its limited interest in the High North. In 2015, a survey by the Arctic Studio conducted in the U.S. found a greater affinity among Americans for the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, and the Pacific than the Arctic. Anecdotes such as the Seward’s icebox, or the answer sent by President Taft to the discoverer of the North Pole, Robert Peary (“I do not know exactly what I could do with it”), or the “Forgotten War” fought in the Aleutians, are usually quoted as proof of the minimalist US posture towards the Arctic.

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The Pentagon’s Global Supply Chain Threatened by Climate Change

By Dr. Marc Kodack

Supply chains are the less visible parts of many large, global companies, such as Apple, Toyota, and Boeing. For each of these companies, their many suppliers incrementally provide parts that are eventually assembled into finished products, whether they are hand-held smartphones or part of vehicles that transport a few or many people. Disruptions to suppliers can have devasting effects on the ability of a company to complete finished products. The most recent example of this are the shortages in personal protective equipment, e.g., masks, surgical gowns, and face shields, for health-care workers involved in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Department of Defense (DoD), disruptions to its global supply chain, particularly those suppliers involved in mission-critical products and services, will degrade DoD’s ability to respond when it is called upon. When these disruptions are caused or influenced by climate change, supply chain management under climate change becomes a strategic vulnerability. The probability of a disruption to one or more critical suppliers is never-ending, given their number and dispersed locations around the globe.

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Gut Punch Resiliency: Bouncing Back from Extreme Climatic Events

In light of the numerous record-breaking droughts, floods and extreme weather events that have filled headlines this past year, we’d like focus briefly on the issue of “resiliency.”  This oft-mentioned term is lucidly defined by Col. Mark Mykleby, USMC (ret.) as “the capacity to take a gut punch and come back swinging.” In other words, resiliency is not simply about the ability to withstand one event, but also the ability to bounce back after the event, and be prepared to weather another. (more…)

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