Spring Quarterly 2018
Contradicting the Trump administration’s bogus denial that climate change is underway, the Pentagon reported in late January that extreme weather events brought on by rising global temperatures is affecting half of the 3,500 US military sites around the world with floods, droughts, and wildfires. It found that almost 800 US bases were affected by drought, 350 by extreme heat, 225 by flooding during storm surges, and over 200 by wildfires.
The US military has long understood that climate change is a threat to US security. A 2014 Pentagon report declared climate change to be a “threat multiplier” that can create terrorists. Newsweek and Reuters reported October 10 that year on a Pentagon report that declared climate change the sort of global threat that can foster terrorism. The Reuters analysis said, “The Department of Defense has dramatically shifted its views towards climate change, and has already begun to treat the phenomenon as a significant threat to national security. Climate change, the Pentagon writes, requires immediate action on the part of the US military.” Ignoring these facts, Trump’s December 2017 “National Security Strategy” and his January 2018 “National Defense Strategy” both avoided any mention of climate change at all. In a slap at this obfuscation, the new Pentagon report warns that climate change is “impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.” And notes for example that severe drought exacerbated the Syrian civil war.
—USA Today, Feb. 1, & Weather.com, Jan. 31, 2018; Newsweek, Oct. 10, 2014