365 Days of Climate Awareness #364 – US Department of Defense Climate Change Readiness

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The Department of Defense (DoD) is charged with protecting US interests around the world. Part of that mission, as emphasized in several directives within the past decade-plus, is adapting to the changing climate around the world.


In 2010 the Quadrennial Defense Review declared climate change to be a national security threat. DoD Directive (DoDD) 4715.21, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience”, went into effect on January 14, 2016, and it specifies three climate-related objectives for the US military:

  • Assess and identify effects of climate change on the DoD mission;
  • Take those effects into consideration when forming and implementing plans;
  • Anticipate and manage risks in order to build resilience.


Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad”, tasks multiple federal agencies to work together, both in response to and anticipation of growing climate-related hazards globally and domestically.

In its 2021 Climate Risk Analysis, the DoD identifies several broad areas where climate-related hazards—any dangerous conditions—produce risk, the likelihood of adverse events. A brief list includes categories we have seen many times:

  • Rising temperatures causing widespread ecological change (desertification, permafrost melt, sea level rise) which puts installations at risk and makes operations difficult;
  • Increased frequency and severity of storms;
  • Changing precipitation patterns affecting the habitability and agricultural productivity of large regions, leading to food shortages and social unrest.


The report emphasizes the dangers of combined and cascading risks, such as drought enhancing the likelihood of wildfire, which then, with the lack of ground cover and increasingly severe rains, heightens the risk of flash flooding and damage to infrastructure. Protecting American commercial and diplomatic interests around the world makes global warming a consistent and ubiquitous threat.

The DoD has identified four “enablers”, that is, areas of ongoing concern, to produce adequate climate adaptation:

  • Continuous monitoring and data analytics;
  • Incentives to reward innovation;
  • A climate-literate military work force;
  • Environmental justice.


These enable the five “lines of effort” in successful climate adaptation:

  • Climate-informed decision-making;
  • Training and equipping a climate-ready force (i.e. prepared to handle environmental extremes);
  • Resilient infrastructure;
  • Supply chain resilience and innovation;
  • Enhancement of adaptation and resilience through collaboration.


The five lines of effort are, not surprisingly, equally applicable to peaceful civilian living.

Tomorrow: natural resource economics.

Be brave, be steadfast, and be well.


U.S. Department of Defense Climate Risk Analysis, September 2021

U.S. Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Plan

This post was previously published on Dailykos.com and is republished on Medium.


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The post 365 Days of Climate Awareness #364 – US Department of Defense Climate Change Readiness appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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