Pentagon Cites Climate Change as National Security Risk

by Vins

Top US military leaders see changes in the earth’s climate as a growing threat to national security. This has provided an avenue for American political leaders to further press the climate change issue at a national level.

The US Navy’s Atlantic Fleet is headquartered at Naval Station Norfolk, where sea levels are rising at twice the rate of the global average. The naval base is especially vulnerable as the land underneath the base is sinking.

Roughly thirty other military installations in the area are also vulnerable to rising sea levels, the Pentagon says. Within 25 years military operations at many of the bases might be hampered, and by the 2060s such maneuvers could be entirely impractical.

The increased concern among US military planners allowed President Obama to observe at the most recent State of the Union address, “The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act on it.” Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry have also echoed the military’s concerns in recent public pronouncements.

Source: Jeff Gooddell, “The Pentagon & Climate Change: How Deniers Put National Security at Risk,” Rolling Stone, February 12, 2015, http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-pentagon-climate-change-how-climate-deniers-put-national-security-at-risk-20150212.

Student Researcher: Patrick Martin (Florida Atlantic University)

Faculty Evaluator: Karen Prize Bolter (Florida Atlantic University)