US military prepares for climate fight
- Business & Industry ,
The US military is taking steps to include climate change in its planning, fearful that the impacts could exacerbate many of the challenges the world already confronts, from the spread of infectious diseases to spurring armed conflicts.
The move is revealed in a new report from the US defence department setting out an adaptation roadmap for the military. It outlines how the armed forces are preparing for a changing climate by ensuring their facilities are not vulnerable to the impacts.
“Our coastal installations could be vulnerable to rising shorelines and flooding, and extreme weather could impair our training ranges, supply chains and critical equipment,” said US defence secretary Chuck Hagel, launching the roadmap. “Our military’s readiness could be tested, and our capabilities could be stressed.”
The report warns that the effects of the changing climate will be felt across the full range of defence department activities, including plans, operations, training, infrastructure and acquisition.
But it says that, by adopting a proactive and flexible approach to assessment and analysis, the department can keep pace with changing climate patterns and minimise effects on the military.
It singles out rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, higher sea levels and more extreme weather as the main challenges facing the military and its capability.
For example, sea level rise may affect the execution of amphibious landings, while increased frequency of extreme weather could limit aircraft operations as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.
In future, the role of the military will change. It will increasingly be called on to support civil authorities, and provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the face of more frequent and more intense natural disasters, says the report.
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