April 22, 2010

New CNAS Report - Climate Change and the U.S. Armed Forces

April 22, 2010 - The effects of climate change and the way we use energy are significant U.S. national security challenges.  Addressing them will be increasingly important for our nation's defense. The new CNAS report released today, Broadening Horizons: Climate Change and the U.S. Armed Forces, examines the dual pressures of climate change and energy on each U.S. military service and regional combatant command.  In this report, authors Christine Parthemore; Commander Herb Carmen, USN; and Will Rogers map a road ahead to improve the country's ability to promote national security in the face of a changing climate.

Broadening Horizons offers seven key recommendations:

1. DOD should ensure that it is included in the emerging debate over geoengineering (the intentional manipulation of the climate, which is often discussed as a means to counter the effects of the climate change generated by human activity).

2. The Senate should ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in order to protect U.S. and DOD interests.

3. U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) should be assigned the role of the supported commander on issues related to the Arctic.

4. The U.S. government should make an informed decision about siting nuclear reactors on military bases as a means of generating carbon-free energy; as a first step, it should establish a blue ribbon panel led by the Department of Energy to examine this issue.

5. The Congress and DOD should provide incentives to encourage the armed services to implement conservation and efficiency practices and continue to invest in renewable energy programs.

6. All of the services should improve their understanding of the effects of climate change and what these effects will mean for their specific missions and capabilities.

7. The Air Force should fully integrate energy security and climate change into planning efforts.

Read the full report here.

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is an independent and nonpartisan research institution that develops strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies. CNAS leads efforts to help inform and prepare the national security leaders of today and tomorrow. Since its founding, CNAS has produced groundbreaking work under its Natural Security program, which explores the interconnectedness of climate change, energy, minerals, water, land and biodiversity; how these issues affect U.S. national security; and offer pragmatic policy recommendations for addressing them.