Energy & Environment

Final defense policy bill mandates Pentagon climate change study

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A compromise defense policy bill released by congressional negotiators on Thursday calls for the Defense Department to conduct a study into the impacts of climate change on American military operations.

“Climate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States and is impacting stability in areas of the world both where the United States Armed Forces are operating today, and where strategic implications for future conflict exist,” the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) says.

The bill requires the secretary of Defense to submit to Congress “a report on the vulnerability to military installations and combatant commander requirements resulting from climate change over the next 20 years.”


The legislation cites statements about the impact of climate change from Defense Secretary James Mattis, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former officials.

It also includes a list of climate-related issues that the Defense Department has already been forced to tackle, including a $1 billion radar installation in the Marshall Islands projected to be flooded within two decades and threatened facilities in the Arctic, which is feeling the impacts of climate change much faster than the rest of the globe.

The House in July defeated an amendment to strip the climate study from an early version of the NDAA. Forty-six Republicans voted against the amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.).

The House could consider the compromise NDAA package as early as next week.

Tags Climate change James Mattis National Defense Authorization Act
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