Pentagon’s new defense strategy won’t mention climate change
The Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian official on Thursday said climate change will not be mentioned in the Defense Department’s new National Defense Strategy, to be released in January.
“We don’t specifically address climate change. … There is only so much, you know, depth and breadth. … It really reflects the high priorities of the department,” Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon.
The National Defense Strategy marks the direction and priorities for the Pentagon.
Though the strategy doesn’t mention climate change, it “doesn’t mean that it is not a priority or that it is a priority” — rather, it’s just not addressed in the Pentagon document, Shanahan said.
The lack of climate change talk under President Trump reflects a shift from the Obama administration, which last year called climate change a national security threat.
Defense Secretary James Mattis has also called climate change a national security threat, telling Congress during his confirmation process that “a changing climate — such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others — impact our security situation.”
But the White House’s national security strategy, announced earlier this week, does not consider climate change to be such a problem.
Shanahan also acknowledged that past Pentagon strategy documents have failed to elicit much change, but leadership will make sure that’s not the case this time around.
“We will probably talk about the National Defense Strategy probably a hundred thousand times,” Shanahan said. “If we don’t talk about it a hundred thousand times, it will just become a document that lives on a shelf.”
Shanahan also said two additional major documents will be out in February, the Nuclear Posture Review and the Ballistic Missile Defense Review.
Both reviews are expected to make a big impact in the fiscal 2020 budget request, he added.