Pentagon: Climate Change Is Military Threat

Chuck Hagel releases report at meeting in Peru
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2014 6:50 PM CDT
Pentagon: Climate Change Threatens US Security
In this Oct. 10, 2014, file photo, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel speaks at a news conference at the Tolemaida military base in Melgar, Colombia.   (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

The Pentagon released a report today saying US military strategy must adapt to climate change because it's threatening national security, the New York Times reports. Disease, rising waters, food shortages, violent storms, droughts, and worldwide poverty could undermine US security by creating instability and mass migration, according to the report, which Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel introduced at a gathering of defense ministers in Peru. "Politics or ideology must not get in the way of sound planning," the Washington Post quotes him as saying. Among the report's suggestions, as per the LA Times:

  • Altering military installations in coastal areas that may be affected by flooding.
  • Preparing for more humanitarian missions as natural disasters grow increasingly destructive.
  • Ensuring that US military equipment will function in harsh weather conditions.

The report also calls for broader changes in strategic thinking about regions like Africa and the Middle East, where food shortage and drought could trigger unrest. This isn't the first US military report to note a link between climate change and national security, the Post adds: The Navy released one in 2010, and Hagel released one last year about a strategy for the Arctic. But Hagel's new report is more political, coinciding with his effort to find support for a UN carbon-cutting agreement in Paris next year. (Read more climate change stories.)

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