Sea Technology

MAY 2018

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 41 of 44 May 2018 | ST 41 Brian La Shier leads the Environ- mental and Energy Study Institute's (EESI) Energy and Climate Program, which focuses on renewable ener- gy development and climate mitigation and adaptation. He has previously worked at the De- partment of Energy, the Office of Man- agement and Budget, and the Virginia State Senate. He holds an M.S. in envi- ronmental policy from the University of Michigan. I n its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officially recog- nized climate change as a factor worthy of consideration in future national security planning: "Climate change and energy are two key is- sues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security envi- ronment...climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked." The report de- scribes the vast geopolitical impacts of climate change anticipated by the intelligence community, includ- ing sea level rise, increasing tem- peratures, food and water scarcity, the proliferation of disease vectors, and the risk of mass migration by vulnerable populations. These risks led DOD to declare that "while cli- mate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world." DOD leaders recog- nized that the U.S.'s existing role in responding to extreme weather events, delivering humanitarian as- sistance and preserving national se- curity would be made all the more difficult by climate change. Despite the urgent need to deal with these risks and a military highly motivat- ed to adapt, the Trump Adminis- tration has chosen to retreat from this issue. By failing to recognize climate change as a global threat in its latest National Security Strategy, the White House has again contra- dicted the advice of military lead- ers. Instead, the administration has sought to aggressively dismantle the nation's climate mitigation policies, slash funding for humanitarian aid and eliminate Earth observation programs that provide essential data to national security agencies. Undeterred, DOD has contin- ued to better integrate climate risk across its operations and long-term planning and has pursued climate mitigation and adaptation measures in accordance with a broad set of (pre-Trump) Executive Branch ini- tiatives designed to move the entire U.S. government toward a lower carbon footprint, more efficient re- source consumption and improved resilience against extreme weath- er events. The institutionalization of these measures has transformed how DOD does business and has resulted in a more sustainable and agile military. Responsibilities for the development and implementa- tion of these measures have been distributed across the Pentagon. In addition, each of the five service branches has established its own clean energy goals to be achieved through physical infrastructure up- grades, as well as training to ad- just behaviors and risk perception among its personnel. The Navy, at the forefront of climate change awareness, inte- grated climate considerations into its strategic planning years before DOD-wide policies were enacted. The Navy established Task Force Climate Change (TFCC) in 2009 in response to changing conditions in the Arctic and other regions due to climate change. TFCC would go on to publish the Navy's 2009 Arctic Roadmap, which served as the key operating guide for the Far North until publication of a DOD-wide Arctic Roadmap in 2014. TFCC also published a broader Climate Change Roadmap in 2010, two years before the first DOD-wide edition was released, which called for improved climatic prediction capabilities and the integration of climate impacts into training exer- cises and strategic guidance docu- ments. The Marine Corps and Coast Guard are also actively working to address the operational challenges of climate change. The Coast Guard has published an Arctic Strategy and concentrated most of its efforts on increasing its operational ca- pacity there. The Marine Corps has focused on energy efficiency and supply chain vulnerabilities. Extreme weather events are pro- jected to increase in severity and frequency over the next several de- cades and will place a greater bur- den on DOD units, personnel and assets tasked with responding to such events and delivering humani- tarian and disaster relief, both in the U.S. and abroad. Climate change consequences will likely heighten the risk DOD infrastructure already faces from severe weather events. Sea level rise and extreme weather could also be disruptive to train- ing operations that rely on reliable access to land, air and sea-based training facilities. DOD retains one of the largest real estate portfolios in the U.S. government, encompass- ing 562,000 buildings and struc- tures distributed across 4,800 sites worldwide. Extreme weather events could hinder acquisition and supply chain operations that maintain these facilities, potentially influencing the types of equipment DOD acquires and the ways that goods are trans- ported, distributed and stored. The U.S. military will have to face the fallout of these impacts, with its operations in vulnerable, potentially volatile places. DOD's ability to meet mission objectives will be strained globally. To succeed long term, DOD must continue to adapt operations, strategies and physical infrastructure to a world shaped by climate change. ST soap box DOD Preps for Climate Change as Trump Ignores It—Brian La Shier

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Sea Technology - MAY 2018