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Femia: Army War College finds service ill-equipped to face climate change

Francesco Femia on TRT WorldLast week, the Federal News Network’s “Federal Drive” ran an interview with the Center for Climate and Security’s Co-Founder, Francesco Femia, regarding a recent Army War College report that alarmingly found the U.S. military “precariously underprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.” Femia highlighted the key takeaways from the report, including an extraordinary finding specific to the Army, which stated that the service “precipitously close to mission failure concerning hydration of the force in contested arid environments.” Femia recommended that both technical, as well as big strategic and operational changes and investments, are needed to prepare the Army, and the broader U.S. military, for this rapidly-changing operational landscape – including to prepare for the likelihood of adversaries taking advantage of these changes, and a lack of U.S. leadership for addressing them. Click here for the full interview.

Climate Change, Water Reuse and Military Readiness

Military Sealift Command

Seahawk helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4 lifts a pallet of bottled water from the deck of Military Sealift Command combat stores ship USNS Niagara Falls

By Marc Kodack

The Environmental Protection Agency recently published a draft National Water Reuse Action Plan, seeking comments on the plan by December 16, 2019 (ten days from today, so get to your comment stations). The comment period raises the importance of understanding that climate change will manifest itself primarily through water, and that water reuse will become more and more important in the future. As the draft plan itself notes:

Climate change will greatly increase the risk that water supplies will not be able to keep pace with demand, necessitating the need to develop new, drought proof supplies.

(more…)

Future Climate Scenario Projects Water Woes for U.S. Military Bases in Guam

Multi Sail 2016

Aerial view of U.S. Naval Base Guam, 5 March 2016

By Marc Kodack

The U.S. Geological Survey recently released a report that assessed “the influence of future climate change and sea level rise on freshwater resources (surface-water and groundwater) of Guam.” These changes have serious implications for the local population, as well as for Department of Defense installations including Naval Base Guam and Andersen Air Force Base. The work was funded by the DoD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program. (more…)

U.S. Department of Defense Funds Research on Capturing Water from Fog

Marine_Fog_Pattern_Moon Bay

Marine fog rolls in at Half Moon Bay, California

By Marc Kodack

Ensuring sufficient potable water supplies are available for its military and humanitarian operations, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will be challenged to meet these potable water needs as climate change and its effects on water supply are felt around the world. To help address this, DoD awarded a grant to California State University, Monterrey Bay to test the efficiencies of capturing water, via mesh-based devices, from “fog events” along coastal California. The grant was from DoD’s Research and Education Program for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the Minority-Serving Institutions. A mesh device produces potable water that can be used by people and for irrigation. The research will also “expand knowledge about the generation and dissipation of fog” using existing droplet measuring technology.

How Jordan’s Climate and Water Crisis Threatens its Fragile Peace

Jordan_Drought3

A satellite image showing the Wadi Rum desert and irrigated farmland in Jordan. (Image credit: NASA)

By Peter Schwartzstein

For years, security service recruitment has masked climate instability in rural Jordan. Now that strategy is breaking down and no one knows what will take its place.

In the desert villages of south Jordan, the security services dominate. They run many of the schools. They maintain the roads, water infrastructure, and bridges. Crucially, they also employ most of the men.

Roughly 70% of those in full time employment in rural stretches of the southern governorates are in the army, civil defense, or intelligence corps, according to CCS research conducted in about 20 villages, a figure that rises to around 90% in some of the most distant, isolated communities. Most of the other residents are dependent on soldiers’ spending. Such is the security services’ outsized role that many districts have practically been emptied of young and middle-aged men. “It’s only when the soldiers are back home that this feels anything like a village,” said one farmer in the far southern Aqaba governorate. (more…)

A Storm Without Rain: Yemen, Water, Climate Change, and Conflict

Water_reservoir,_yemen

Water reservoir in Yemen, by Mufaddalqn

By Collin Douglas, Center for Climate & Security Research Fellow

The civil war in Yemen has old origins, but the recent violence can be traced back to the Arab Spring of 2011, and protests in Yemen over unemployment, corruption, and general dissatisfaction with President Ali Abdullah Saleh.[i]  On the surface, the civil war seems to be a politically-motivated competition for power among many actors with varying motives. However, underneath the obvious political and societal tensions, there lies a more basic tension: water. (more…)

Brazil: A Nation’s Churning Waterless Storm

Três Marias Reservoir, Minas Gerais Brazil - Planet Labs Satellite image. The Represa Três Marias, the result of damming the São Francisco river, is one of the largest reservoirs in Brazil. In 2014, Minas Gerais experienced one of the worst droughts of the last 50 years.

Três Marias Reservoir, Minas Gerais Brazil – Planet Labs Satellite image. The Represa Três Marias, the result of damming the São Francisco river, is one of the largest reservoirs in Brazil. In 2014, Minas Gerais experienced one of the worst droughts of the last 50 years.

By Lieutenant Commander Oliver-Leighton Barrett, United States Navy (Retired)
Senior Research Fellow, The Center for Climate and Security

A convergence zone is defined as a location where two or more forces meet – characteristically marked by some form of turmoil. São Paulo, Brazil, home to over 20.1 million people, capital of the world’s 6th largest economy, and one of the most populous cities in the Americas, finds itself in the middle of a convergence zone increasingly being intensified by environmental variability. Brazil’s epic drought (now in its third year) is lamentably one of the most under-reported and least appreciated human security stories this year, but there are crucial insights to be learned from Brazil’s experience. These insights point to a need for policy making that is informed by a more nuanced understanding of the multi-dimensional impacts of climate change on human security and political stability, especially in cities across the Americas. (more…)