New Climate Change Directives Will Impact Nearly Every Aspect Of DoD

Russ Read | Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

The Pentagon released a new directive outlining major changes to the way the Department of Defense (DoD) will address climate change issues within its ranks — changes it believes will make the military a better combat force.

The directive makes broad alterations to the highest ranks of the DoD, directing leadership to “adapt current and future operations to address the impacts of climate change in order to maintain an effective and efficient U.S. military.”

The directive outlined three policy objectives: first, “identification and assessment of the effects of climate change on the DoD mission,” second, “taking those effects into consideration when developing plans and implementing procedures,” and third, “anticipating and managing any risks that develop as a result of climate change to build resilience.”

“We believe consideration of changing climate will enhance combat effectiveness by ensuring testing and training activities take into consideration a wider range of risks and variables,” said DoD spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Badger (United States Air Force) to The Daily Caller News Foundation when asked how the new changes will affect combat effectiveness.

Part of the changes include the assignment of the assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment to act as the “DoD’s primary climate change adaptation official.”

The undersecretary will be responsible for engaging in everything from overseeing “climate change adaptation and resilience research” to acting as an “advisor to the Defense Acquisition Board and other key acquisition bodies, integrating climate change considerations into programs under his or her purview.”

The way in which DoD acquires its weapons platforms and supplies will also see significant changes. According to the document, the assistant secretary of defense for acquisition will overhaul “policies to integrate climate change considerations into mission area analyses and acquisition strategies across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms, and equipment.” In addition, the assistant secretary will be responsible for implementing “workforce training and education” on climate change.

According to Badger, DoD has been looking into the potential impacts from climate change for some time. “The Defense Logistics Agency has been and will continue to be an active participant in the development of the Department’s approach to planning for and adapting to potential future climate changes and the impacts associated with them,” he said.

One of the provisions of the new directive creates the ability for DoD to create new boards and committees that will “integrate climate considerations into DoD programs, plans, and policies, when necessary.” However, Badger says “there are no immediate plans to establish new boards.”

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