Armed Forces News

A paratrooper with 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, activates a signal flare during training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Feb. 2, 2019. Paratroopers use signal flares to communicate their actions or intentions during combat. (Army photo by Sgt. Alex Skripnichuk)

The Army and Air Force need to do more to adapt to the effects of climate change, according to the Defense Department Inspector General. A recent IG report addressed shortfalls in installation resilience assessments and planning at six Arctic and sub-Arctic bases. The actions are required by law.

Most leaders at six installations visited “were unfamiliar with military installation resilience planning requirements, processes, and tools, and did not comply with requirements to identify current and projected environmental risks, vulnerabilities, and mitigation measures or incorporate these considerations into plans and operations,” according to the report.

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Instead, installation leaders focused on existing challenges posed by weather rather than conducting analyses of how climate change could affect infrastructure, assets and mission. Pentagon and service leaders, in turn, provided no guidance for carrying out such analyses. As a result, installation leaders had no access to resources they would need to analyze and assess their situations.

The IG recommended that the Army and Air Force:

• Establish priorities and milestones, and identify planning and training resources.

• Establish orders requiring base commanders to “identify risks, conduct assessments, determine climate vulnerabilities, and identify plans” that would bolster resilience against the ill effects of climate change.

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