Pentagon: climate change a national security factor

Climate change will now be factored into day-to-day military operations.

By Ed Adamczyk
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- A Pentagon report referred to the effects of climate change as "threat multipliers," which must be considered in military planning.

The 20-page report, a "climate change adaptation roadmap" issued Monday, included a foreword by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that ordered military planners to take climate change into account and noted scientists are "converging toward consensus on future climate projections."


"A changing climate will have real impacts on our military and the way it executes its missions. We are considering the impacts of climate change in our war games and defense planning scenarios."

With the report, climate change is now an immediate factor, and not a potential danger, in military decision-making. The report was released as Hagel attended an international military conference in Peru, and signal intent on the part of the United States to play a determining role in climate negotiations in December in Lima, Peru.

"It makes it a reality that climate change indeed is a risk today, and we need to plan, program and budget for it now and into the future," said Sherri Goodman, of the Military Advisory Board, a group of former high-ranking officers that studies national security. She added locations of U.S. bases could change, and purchasing and training decisions would be influenced by matters such as sea level change and drought.


A senior defense official said the military will now factor climate change into day-to-day operations. In comments this weekend, Hagel noted the change in military use and philosophy climate change could bring.

"We see an Arctic that is melting, meaning that most likely a new sea lane will emerge. We know that there are significant minerals and natural deposits of oil and natural gas there. That means that nations will compete for those natural resources. That's never been an issue before. You couldn't get up there and get anything out of there. We have to manage through what those conditions and new realities are going to bring in the way of potential threats."

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