Pentagon announces climate working group
The Pentagon on Wednesday announced the creation of a working group to respond to President Biden’s series of executive orders aimed at addressing the climate crisis.
“Climate change presents a growing threat to U.S. national security interests and defense objectives,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin wrote in a March 9 memo to senior Pentagon leadership and combatant command leaders. “The changing climate is altering the global security and operating environments, impacting our missions, plans and installations.”
The group, which will be chaired by Joe Bryan, the current special assistant to the secretary for climate, will “co-coordinate department responses to the executive order and subsequent climate and energy related directives,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.
The group will also track the Defense Department’s progress in future moves to address climate change, including evaluating the Pentagon’s energy efficiency programs and making sure military installations are more resilient to extreme weather.
The Pentagon in January announced that it will now consider climate change when planning war games and will incorporate the issue into its future National Defense Strategy, risk analyses, strategy development and planning.
The move followed Biden’s new orders issued early in his presidency, which establish “climate considerations as an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security,” the White House said at the time.
The DOD since 2010 has acknowledged that climate change could pose a threat to where the military operates and its roles and missions – as heavy downpours, drought, rising temperature and sea level as well as repeated forest fires affect where the military trains and fights across the globe.
But moves to shore up planning and acknowledgement of such issues were hindered under former President Trump, who repeatedly indicated he thought climate change was a “hoax,” despite the scientific consensus.