It is in this context that today I am releasing DoD’s Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap. Climate change is a long-term trend, but with wise planning and risk mitigation now, we can reduce adverse impacts downrange.
Our first step in planning for these challenges is to identify the effects of climate change on the Department with tangible and specific metrics, using the best available science. We are almost done with a baseline survey to assess the vulnerability of our military’s more than 7,000 bases, installations, and other facilities. In places like the Hampton Roads region in Virginia, which houses the largest concentration of U.S. military sites in the world, we see recurrent flooding today, and we are beginning work to address a projected sea-level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years.
Drawing on these assessments, we are integrating climate change considerations into our plans, operations, and training across the Department so that we can manage associated risks. We are considering the impacts of climate change in our war games and defense planning scenarios, and are working with our Combatant Commands to address impacts in their areas of responsibility.
At home, we are studying the implications of increased demand for our National Guard in the aftermath of extreme weather events. We are also assessing impacts on our global operations – for instance, how climate change may factor into our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. Last year, I released the Department of Defense’s Arctic Strategy, which addresses the potential security implications of increased human activity in the Arctic – a consequence of rapidly melting sea ice.
We are also collaborating with relevant partners on climate change challenges. Domestically, this means working across our federal and local agencies and institutions to develop a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to a challenge that reaches across traditional portfolios and jurisdictions. Within the U.S. government, DoD stands ready to support other agencies that will take the lead in preparing for these challenges – such as the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
We must also work with other nations to share tools for assessing and managing climate change impacts, and help build their capacity to respond. Climate change is a global problem. Its impacts do not respect national borders. No nation can deal with it alone. Today, I am meeting in Peru with Western Hemisphere defense ministers to discuss how we can work together to build joint capabilities to deal with these emerging threats.