House Armed Services Dems demand Pentagon offer more complete climate change report

House Armed Services Dems demand Pentagon offer more complete climate change report
© Camille Fine

The head of the House Armed Services Committee is urging acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE to revise a study on climate change and its impacts on national security that lawmakers say was incomplete.

Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithBoosting military deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region House chairmen demand explanation on Trump's 'illegal' withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty Overnight Defense: Trump to withdraw US from Open Skies Treaty | Pentagon drops ban on recruits who had virus | FBI says Corpus Christi shooting terror-related MORE (D-Wash.), along with fellow committee members Jim LangevinJames (Jim) R. LangevinOvernight Defense: State Dept. watchdog was investigating emergency Saudi arms sales before ouster | Pompeo says he requested watchdog be fired for 'undermining' department | Pensacola naval base shooter had 'significant ties' to al Qaeda, Barr says Lawmakers move to boost federal cybersecurity in annual defense bill Experts sound alarms about security as states eye online voting MORE (D-R.I.), and John GaramendiJohn Raymond GaramendiPeace Corps faces uncertain future with no volunteers in field Overnight Defense: Aircraft carrier captain removed from duty after pleading for help with outbreak | Trump to expand use of defense law to build ventilators | Hospital ships receiving few patients Aircraft carrier captain removed from duty after pleading for help with coronavirus outbreak MORE (D-Calif.), on Monday sent a letter to Shanahan requesting that he revise the congressionally mandated report, which they said failed to meet basic requirements laid out in the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

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“The final report submitted to Congress lacks key deliverables mandated ... and is at odds with the plain language of the NDAA,” the lawmakers write.

The report did not hold information that Congress ordered it to include, such as a list of the 10 installations from each military service most vulnerable in the next 20 years. 

It was also supposed to include specific mitigation measures to alleviate climate risks at installations, as well as cost estimates for such efforts.

“The Department's final report included no such list, nor a specific discussion of costs, in contravention of the requirements of the NDAA. The report also includes no methodological justification for its failure to mention United States Marine Corps bases or vulnerabilities to any overseas installations,” the letter states.

The Pentagon earlier this month delivered the report to Congress, revealing that more than two-thirds of operationally critical military installations are threatened by the effects of climate change over the next 20 years.

The study, titled “Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense,” found that, out of 79 “mission assurance priority installations” from the Army, Air Force and Navy, 53 are at risk for flooding, 43 are at risk for drought and 36 are at risk for wildfires. Those numbers are on track to increase in the next 20 years, according to the document.

After the report’s release, Democratic lawmakers quickly criticized the report as incomplete.

“It demonstrates a continued unwillingness to seriously recognize and address the threat that climate change poses to our national security and military readiness,” Smith said in a statement.

The lawmakers ask for the revised version to be delivered on or before April 1.