As rising sea levels pose risks to coastal installations and military readiness over the remainder of the 21st Century, the military will need to make its infrastructure more resilient and work closely with its host communities, according to a new report from the Center for Climate and Security.
“A number of coastal military bases and training sites are already experiencing the effects of sea level rise, tidal flooding and storm surge, and recent research shows that these effects are accelerating and will continue to do so more quickly than previously thought,” said Heather Messera, who chaired the panel of retired flag and general officers that wrote the report. “Now is both the operationally practical and fiscally responsible time to act,” Messera said, reported Inside Climate News.
The panel calls for DOD to integrate climate impact scenarios into its long-range plans for upgrading its infrastructure to mitigate flood risks. As the military develops plans for dealing with climate-related effects at installations, it also should include neighboring communities in its planning efforts. Such efforts will require policymakers to determine how military and civilian communities can best work together, according to the report. The panel highlights the efforts underway in the Hampton Roads, Va., region as the level of collaboration that can be established among the services and the communities that support them.
“Sea level rise and extreme weather adaptation and resilience for the Department of Defense requires a ‘whole of government and community’ approach, both inside and outside the fence line, across the full extent of federal, state, local government and society writ large. DOD takes this ‘responsibility to prepare’ seriously — the threat is real — but it can’t do it alone, and it has no time to waste,” said retired Rear Adm. Ann Phillips.
Photo by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos