This week, the U.S. Department of Defense released a comprehensive report illustrating how climate change is a dangerous threat to national security, Vice reported. The report was released on Monday during Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s visit to Peru.
The “2014 Climate Adaptation Roadmap” assesses and offers suggestions on how to respond to the risk of climate change.
“The loss of glaciers will strain water supplies in several areas of our atmosphere,” said Hagel while in Peru for a defense ministers conference. “Destruction and devastation from hurricanes can sow the seeds for instability. Droughts and crop failures can leave millions of people without any lifeline and trigger waves of mass migration.”
In light of the report, Hagel is now urging the armed forces to take steps to prepare itself for climate change and its threat to national security. The report outlines three things the DoD plans on doing to address this threat: identify and assess the threat, integrate the appropriate responses and work with inside and outside stakeholders on climate change.
These are exactly the kinds of things that our lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to be doing; recognize the threat, understand it, and respond to it. However, they just wanted to bicker, gridlock, and protect their interests and office.
The DoD’s plan includes preparing the military infrastructure, updating military training modules for all personnel accordingly, modifying weapons and supply routes, and continually assess the ever growing threat of climate change against national security.
“As climate science advances, the Department will regularly reevaluate climate risks and opportunities in order to develop policies and plans to manage its effects on the Department’s operating environment, missions, and facilities,” stated the report.
This report isn’t the first of its kind. The DoD and former high-ranking members of the U.S. military have been proclaiming climate change’s threat for some time.
In May, a collective of scientists and retired military generals and admirals called the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) Corporate Military Advisory Board released a report stating similarly to the DoD’s report that climate change is an eminent threat. The CNA report, however, was more harrowing and pressing in its urgency.
The CNA report asserts that climate change will not only threaten military infrastructure and utility transport, but it will also contribute to heightened social instability. In short, there will be a lot more fighting and upheaval around the world. The CNA believes it already has proof of that assertion.
“The  insurrection in Mali where Tuareg went north — drought caused that,” said retired Brigadier General Stephen Cheney. “It dried up their crops, they had to move, and they had to make a living. They went to northern Mali, and that started the insurrection there. We know for a fact, obviously, that climate change contributed to that crought. That’s just one example of instability that was caused by climate change.”
Everyone is paying attention and urging for preparations against climate change – except for Republican lawmakers. Even the military, a group staunchly supported by the Right, is addressing climate change and its eminent threat. Although the military isn’t playing the environmental angle, it still is recognizing climate change’s existence and is planning action.
“The politics of climate change are so weird right now,” said Andrew Holland, senior fellow for Energy and Climate at the American Security Project. “I’d like to think that having real, credentialed national security voices talk about the threat of climate change would make a difference. But I just don’t know if it’s trickling up yet to politicians and policy-makers.”