Pentagon gives new directives for Military to prioritize climate change

USAF F-16C block 40 #88-0465 from the 307th FS is heavily damaged on the Homestead AFB tarmac in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, which struck the area on August 24th, 1992. (USAF photo by MSgt. Don Wetterman)

US brass have been ordered to adapt war game scenarios to include climate change variables, focusing on “geopolitical and socioeconomic instability” linked to the possibility of extreme weather conditions.

According to a DoD Directive issued last month, forces need to devise and undertake joint training exercises with allies to “enhance capacity” and “improve tactics” for tackling possible mission scenarios impacted by global warming.

The directive states that the “DoD must be able to adapt current and future operations to address the impacts of climate change in order to maintain an effective and efficient U.S. military.” Climate change must be integrated in such aspects as:

  • Weapons buying and testing “across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms and equipment.”
  • Impact to training ranges and training capabilities.
  • Defense intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.
  • Defense education and training.
  • Joint training with allied forces to “assess the risks to U.S. security interests posed by climate change.”
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff collaboration “with allies and partners to optimize joint exercises and war games including factors contributing to geopolitical and socioeconomic instability.”

According to the Washington Times, The directive originated in the office of Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. The final approval for the directive came from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work.

Climate change has been on the current US Military’s radar for some time. The Washington Post covered a story in 2014 concerning the rising high tides could render the Naval Yard in Norfolk, VA “impassable for two to three hours a day” by the year 2040. Similar claims made by the American Security Project state that Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base could find itself the victim of costly damages by more extreme weather in the future, similar to the damage suffered by Homestead AFB by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

According to the White House, President Obama addressed the issue in his May 2015 commencement address at the US Coast Guard Academy.

“When I meet with leaders around the world, it’s often at the top of our agenda — a core element of our diplomacy”, Obama stated. “You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us. It will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, their capabilities, today and for the long term.”

He went on to say that the current generation of leadership ”will have to lead the way to both prepare ourselves and how to prevent the worst effects in the future.“

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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