Saturday, September 21, 2019

Joint Conservation Committee: Pentagon Report Concludes Climate Factors Are A National Security Concern

By Tony Guerrieri, Executive Director

A report by the U.S. Department of Defense outlines how climate change is already threatening military installations around the country. 
In the decades ahead, the Pentagon expects the problems to only get worse, warning that rising seas could inundate coastal bases and drought-fueled wildfires could endanger those that are inland.
The assessment, Report on the Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense, was mandated under a 2016 directive requiring the DoD to incorporate climate considerations in its planning for operations and infrastructure. 
It looks at 79 major military installations around the country, assessing both the current and future risks of severe weather including recurrent flooding, drought, wildfires, desertification and thawing permafrost.
The findings paint a pessimistic picture: two-thirds (or 53) of the facilities are vulnerable now or will face flooding in the years ahead, and more than half (43 bases) will likely face drought. Wildfires are a concern for 36, including the threat of mudslides and erosion from rains after the blazes.
The installations break down by organization as follows: Air Force: 35; Army: 20; Navy: 19; Defense Logistics Agency: 2; Defense Financing & Accounting Services: 1; NGIA: 1; and Washington Headquarters Service: 1.
U.S. military facilities are already encountering some of the effects, according to the report, noting that Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia has experienced 14 inches of sea-level rise since 1930. 
And Navy Base Coronado in California already is subject to flooding during tropical storms as well as recent fires in 2017 and 2018 that encompassed parts of the Vandenberg Air Force Base.
In the Washington, D.C. area, several DoD sites-- including Joint Base Andrews, home of Air Force One--  are experiencing drought conditions that have been severe in the past 16 years, the report says. Those conditions can lead to ruptured utility lines and cracked roads, the Pentagon warns, as moisture disappears from the soil.
Which states have the most bases at risk? 
Virginia has nine; California and Florida have six; Colorado has five; Maryland has four; and Arkansas, Washington D.C., Georgia, Hawaii and Ohio all have three.
The report mentions only one Pennsylvania installation facing problems-- the Defense Distribution Depot (Defense Logistics Agency) in Central Pennsylvania is at risk for worsening floods. It isn’t currently threatened by drought, but is vulnerable to it in the future.
It is relevant to point out that “future” in this analysis means only 20 years in the future, according to the report. 
It adds, projected changes will likely be more pronounced at the mid-century mark and vulnerability analyses to mid- and late-century would likely reveal an uptick in vulnerabilities if adaptation strategies are not implemented.
To address these concerns, the report recommends the DoD increase installation resiliency and expand research grants through its Strategic Research and Development Program and Environmental Security Technology Certification Program. 
Yet the report notes that more cooperation is needed with U.S. allies to further enhance the resiliency and sustainability of U.S. military and humanitarian operations abroad.
[For more very recent reports and publications from the U.S. Department of Defense on climate and security issues, visit the Center for Climate and Security’s Defense webpage.]
For more information on Committee activities, visit the Joint Conservation Committee website, Like them on Facebook or Follow them on TwitterClick Here to sign up for regular updates from the Committee.
Tony Guerrieri serves as Executive Director of the Joint House-Senate Legislative Air & Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee.
(Photo: Damage to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida from 2018 hurricane, Military Times.)
(Reprinted from the September JLCC Newsletter.)
Related Articles - Climate:

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner