The Effects Of Climate Change On The Military

In April every year, we celebrate Earth Day. Just after that day we celebrate the wonderful planet we live on, Richard Kidd IV met with senior military officials at the Pentagon. Richard is a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army in energy & sustainability. The discussion was about climate change.

First, I must be completely honest; when the entire climate change idea appeared, I was quite skeptical. I believe that many people were like me. We just assumed it was another way to raise taxes and fuel prices.

As I have been a party in several debates over the climate change possibilities, I will also admit that I have changed my thought pattern. We as humans have caused the change. It comes from pollution and other things that we have done. I often just consider all the oil we pull from the Earth which is there for a reason. That reason I believe is to keep the Earth’s core from heating the outer surface.

I could go on and on, but that is not the primary reason for this post. No, the reason for this post is to share how the military is affected by climate change.

Some Of The Noticeable Effects

The climate change issue has produced some noticeable effects on our military. Much of this is in the area of training. Some of the issues noticed were:

  • At Fort Irwin, California where training is done, there has been a massive drought for several years. Suddenly the rains came and washed out huge training areas.

  • Fort Eustis, Virginia has battled with major flooding.

  • In Alaska training areas, premature melting has caused issues.

  • Tank trails at Fort Benning, Georgia have eroded.

  • Higher heat patterns across many of the Army training areas has slowed soldier training. The dangers of heat stroke are just too bad.

These are just some of the major issues, and they are blamed on climate change.

Some would ask, “Is it really climate change or just the Earth’s pattern?” To this question, I would say, “Ask several Native Americans.” The majority will tell you that humans have harmed the Earth.

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” Ancient Indian Proverb

Climate Change And National Security

Now we know that climate change is causing havoc with military training, but when we really look closely, it can very well cause a severe threat to national security.

The reason that Military Advisers believe this is because of the severe droughts that have occurred in other world regions. When people are having difficulties feeding their families, they often turn to other ways to do so. Often, these ways are illegal, immoral or both.

Also, groups such as ISIS and other radical franchises use these issues to build a hatred toward others who seem to be in better conditions. They will use propaganda that claims the Americans and Israelis stole what is rightfully theirs. It puts our troops in more danger because those who we think are our allies could suddenly become our enemies.

As certain countries are being overran with groups like ISIS, can we help them all? Climate change could turn areas like the Middle East, Africa and even parts of Europe into hot-beds, both from terrorists and from Mother Earth.

What Are United States Military Leaders Doing?

Let me start by saying that the Pentagon has ordered all military commanders to incorporate climate change in everything they do. If training is being performed, they must consider climate change. If the unit is being deployed, they must consider climate change.

No matter what, they must have climate change at the forefront of all planning.

But, the debate still rumbles.

The United Nations has stated that there is not enough evidence that there are more droughts and floods. Also, a Colorado-based climate center has researched years of weather data and stated they see no extreme changes in weather activity.

So is the military playing their cards correctly?

My personal opinion is that they do need to heed climate change, and they should have been doing so many years ago. I do not think that they should go overboard. Yes, institute changes, but throwing a huge directive of climate change in everything may cause some leaders to get frustrated, and soldiers could start using climate change as an excuse to not train as they should.

I do know that the military has been adopting the use of solar energy, wind energy and other techniques to lessen the ecological footprint they are leaving. I would like to see the use of battery powered vehicles, solar planes and the use of bio-fuels.

It will all take time, but if we all work together to help reverse climate change, we can make a better Earth for our children’s children’s children.

Final Thoughts

Let the debate start!

What are your thoughts on climate change? Do you agree with the Pentagon’s move? Do you think climate change is as serious as some are saying?

Leave your comments and views in the area below.

If you want to read more on this, check out the reference links I have put. Thank you.


US military to war game climate change threats

Climate change affecting Army training

Military Advisory Board

Pentagon orders commanders to prioritize climate change in all military actions

The Center for Climate & Security

Climate Change Is the ‘Mother of All Risks’ to National Security

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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