Climate-change adaptation measures, including military-to-military collaboration on disaster preparedness and response, could be part of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), currently under preparation, reports Defense Environment Alert
(one free article provided to new users). Congress mandated that the next QDR address the national-security impacts of climate change in 2008 defense-authorization legislation.
“Speaking at a conference
hosted by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Washington, DC, May 5, Kent Butts, a professor with the US Army War College and global warming expert, told delegates that while much attention is being paid to climate change mitigation measures, preparations for inevitable global warming effects have garnered too little attention at the Pentagon,” said Defense Environment Alert. “The armed services have invested considerable resources in developing new energy strategies
to reduce consumption and switch to alternative sources of energy, but have yet to really focus on adaptation, Butts says.”
“While the military should not be the lead agency handling climate change impacts in the United States or other developed countries, Butts said, in many developing nations the military may be the only government agency capable of providing services such as disaster response and preparedness work. Civilian government in the developing world is often weak and lacks basic resources such as manpower, transportation and engineering capability, Butts said.”
Environmental-security concerns appear to enjoy considerable traction in the Obama administration. Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair cited energy, food, and water scarcity, as well as the impacts of climate change, as potential security threats in his February 2009 testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Last month, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy echoed these concerns.