Climate change, adaptation, DoD, risks to military installations | Homeland Security Newswire

Climate threatsClimate change-related risks to 50% of U.S. military infrastructure: Pentagon

Published 1 February 2018

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics released a comprehensive new survey of climate change-related risks to military infrastructure worldwide. The vulnerability assessment does not offer any specific cost estimates related to these vulnerabilities, but it does paint a concerning picture of current climate change-related risks to military installations both at home and abroad, with around 50 percent of 1,684 sites reporting damage from six key categories of those risks: Flooding due to storm surge; flooding due to non-storm surge events (e.g., rain, snow, sleet, ice, river overflow); extreme temperatures (both hot and cold); wind; drought; and wildfire. Given that rapid climate change is projected to exacerbate most of the above categories of risks throughout this century (its effect on wind is less certain), the reasonable expectation is that vulnerabilities to military sites will only increase.

Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics released a comprehensive new survey of climate change-related risks to military infrastructure worldwide. The study is a response to a congressional request from 2016, based on the DoD’s 2015 commitment to conduct a “…global screening level assessment to determine installation vulnerabilities to climate-related security risks with the goal of identifying serious vulnerabilities and developing necessary adaptation strategies.”

The Center for Climate & Security notes that the vulnerability assessment, which is based on a qualitative survey of military personnel at each site, does not offer any specific cost estimates related to these vulnerabilities, but it does paint a concerning picture of current climate change-related risks to military installations both at home and abroad, with around 50 percent of 1,684 sites reporting damage from six key categories of those risks:

— Flooding due to storm surge

— Flooding due to non-storm surge events (e.g., rain, snow, sleet, ice, river overflow)

— Extreme temperatures (both hot and cold)

— Wind

— Drought

— Wildfire

Military installations are defined as any “base, camp, post, station, yard, center, homeport facility for any ship, or other activity under the jurisdiction of the DoD, including any leased facility which is located within any of the States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or Guam.”