The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.
A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”
It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.”
The Pentagon defines resilience to climate change as: “Ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing conditions and withstand, respond to, and recover rapidly from disruptions.”
To four-star generals and admirals, among them the regional combatant commanders who plan and fight the nation’s wars, the directive tells them: “Incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate DoD guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations, including steady-state campaign planning and operations and contingency planning.”
The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it. Mr. Obama says there is no debate on the existence of man-made global warming and its ensuing climate change. Supporters of this viewpoint label as “deniers” any scientists who disagree.
But there are stubborn doubters. A climate center in Colorado has said its researchers looked at decades of weather reports and concluded there has been no uptick in storms. The United Nations came to a similar finding, saying there is not enough evidence to confirm an increase in droughts and floods.
A previous Pentagon report on climate change attributed Super Storm Sandy to climate change.
Dakota Wood, a retired Marine Corps officer and U.S. Central Command planner, said the Pentagon is introducing climate change, right down to military tactics level.
“By equating tactical actions of immediate or short-term utility with large-scale, strategic-level issues of profound importance, the issue of climate change and its potential impact on national security interests is undermined,” he said. “People tend to dismiss the whole, what might be truly important, because of all the little silly distractions that are included along the way.”
He said climate change is typically measured in long stretches of time.
“The climate does change over great periods of time, typically measured in millennia, though sometimes in centuries,” he said. “But the document mentions accounting for such down to the level of changes in ‘tactics, techniques and procedures’ as if reviewing how a squad conducts a patrol should be accorded the same level of importance and attention as determining whether the naval base at Norfolk, Virginia, might have to be relocated as sea levels rise over the next 100 years.”
The directive originated in the office of Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. Final approval came from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work.
The directive is loaded with orders to civilian leaders and officers on specifically how counter-climate change strategy is to permeate planning.
“This involves deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planing by DoD to provide for the continuity of DoD operations, services and programs,” it states.
“The DoD must be able to adapt current and future operations to address the impacts of climate change in order to maintain an effective and efficient U.S. military,” it adds. “Mission planning and execution must include anticipating and managing any risks that develop as a result of climate change to build resilience.”
Climate change must be integrated in:
• Weapons buying and testing “across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms and equipment.”
• Training ranges and capabilities.
• Defense intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.
• Defense education and training.
• Combatant commander joint training with allies to “assess the risks to U.S. security interests posed by climate change.”
• Joint Chiefs of Staff collaboration “with allies and partners to optimize joint exercises and war games including factors contributing to geopolitical and socioeconomic instability.”
Mr. Wood, now a military analyst at The Heritage Foundation, said the directive is muddled.
“I understand the motivation behind and intent for such guidance,” he said. “The problem is that it includes such a wide variety of issues with no explication or context that enables the offices mentioned to differentiate and prioritize activities and efforts across time or intensity.”
‘A lack of evidence’
The Department of Defense last issued a broad directive on climate change in July. It declared climate change an “urgent and growing threat to our national security” and blamed it for “increased natural disasters.”
The report also told commanders there are “more frequent and/or severe extreme weather events that may require substantial involvement of DoD units, personnel and assets in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
This assertion is not supported by the U.N.’s most recent global warming predictions.
Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the Center for Science and Technology Police Research at the University of Colorado, also has come to conclusions at odds with the Obama administration. He has testified on Capitol Hill, clashing with liberals who say his data are wrong.
“Current datasets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century,” he wrote in 2013. “No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.
“In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.”
Rep. Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona Democrat, tried to silence Mr. Pielke by unleashing allegations and starting an investigation.
Fellow scientists have come to Mr. Pielke’s defense and accused Democrats of violating academic freedom.
“Congressman Grijalva doesn’t have any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part, either ethical or legal, because there is none,” Mr. Pielke wrote on a blog. “He simply disagrees with the substance of my testimony — which is based on peer-reviewed research funded by the U.S. taxpayer, and which also happens to be the consensus of the IPCC.”
The IPCC is the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“I have no funding, declared or undeclared, with any fossil fuel company or interest. I never have. Rep. Grijalva knows this too, because when I have testified before the U.S. Congress, I have disclosed my funding and possible conflicts of interest,” Mr. Pielke said. “So I know with complete certainty that this investigation is a politically motivated ‘witch hunt’ designed to intimidate me [and others] and to smear my name.”
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