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Release: A Responsibility to Prepare – Military and National Security Leaders Release New Reports on Climate Change

Trumbo Point

Naval Air Station Key West, Trumbo Point Annex, Florida. April 2016. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Cody R. Babin

Washington, DC – On Capitol Hill today, two nonpartisan groups of senior military and national security experts facilitated by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) released reports identifying rapidly-growing risks to national security due to climate change, and urging the U.S. government to take those risks seriously (click here for a livestream of the release event, beginning at 9:30am EST). The reports include the 2nd Edition of CCS’s Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission and the Climate and Security Advisory Group’s Roadmap and Recommendations for the U.S. Government which outlines a “Responsibility to Prepare” framework for the U.S. government. (more…)

Responsibility to Prepare: A Whole of Government Approach to Climate Security

SouthPorticoIn excerpts from Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee (responses to follow-up “questions for the record”), the Secretary stressed the need for the United States to take a whole of government approach to climate change.  His quote in full:

As I noted above, climate change is a challenge that requires a broader, whole-of government response. If confirmed, I will ensure that the Department of Defense plays its appropriate role within such a response by addressing national security aspects.

As climate change impacts all facets of society, it makes sense for the Secretary of Defense to suggest that a range of departments and agencies across the U.S. government should work together to respond to it. Leaving the issue siloed within one department or another would leave the United States fundamentally unprepared to adequately manage and prepare for the problem. If one agrees that a core function of the U.S. government is to protect its citizens and its critical institutions from physical harm, then it can be argued that the U.S. government has a “responsibility to prepare” for climate change risks to national security. (more…)