The Dept. of Defense has released a report that concludes that climate change poses an immediate risk to U.S. national security.
Defense Secretary Charles Hagel on Oct. 13 released the report at a conference in Peru of defense ministers from the Americas.
From melting glaciers and sea-level rise to extreme hurricanes and extended drought conditions in many parts of the world, the effects of climate change are being felt now and have the potential to exacerbate already-existing challenges, including the spread of infectious diseases and armed insurgencies, Hagel said.
“These climate trends will clearly have implications for our militaries. A higher tempo and intensity of natural disasters could demand more support for our civil authorities and more humanitarian assistance and relief.” He added, “Our coastal installations could be vulnerable to rising shorelines and flooding, and extreme weather could impair our training ranges, supply changes and other critical equipment.”
Spelled out in its "2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap," DOD's plans involve assessing the effects of climate change on the design, operation, maintenance and repair of buildings; on the resiliency of energy, water-supply and wastewater systems; and on the ability of existing stormwater management systems to accommodate more frequent and intense precipitation events.
DOD also plans, as needed, to review and modify design and construction standards for buildings, stormwater management systems and other infrastructure.
Additionally, DOD is nearing completion of a baseline survey to assess the vulnerability of the military’s more than 7,000 bases, installations and other facilities.