A new study from the Department of Defense highlights the potential impacts of climate change on military installations across the U.S. DoD said there has been a growing need for inland and littoral flood planning and mitigation efforts, research and flood protection infrastructures to address vulnerabilities of bases from climate-related events, according to the report released Jan. 10.
“The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to DoD missions, operational plans and installations,” the agency said.
For the study, the Pentagon analyzed natural events affecting 79 priority installations in the country to predict potential vulnerabilities over the next 20 years. DoD found that most of the sites have been experiencing recurrent flooding, drought, desertification, wildfires and thawing permafrost. The U.S. Air Force has the most bases affected by climate change, with 35 sites covered in the study, followed by the U.S. Army with 20 and the U.S. Navy manages 19 studied installations.
To help the military branches and other defense agencies reduce climate-linked risks, DoD plans to launch new research efforts under its Strategic Environmental Research and Develop Program. The agency intends to apply, evaluate, improve scenarios and other tools for projecting impacts of sea level rise, storm surge, precipitation or land-based flooding at U.S. military sites. The Pentagon also wants to study materials fragility and implications for infrastructure design.