The Environmental and Energy Study Institute and the Center for Climate and Security invite you to a briefing on the relationship between military facilities and their neighboring civilian communities, and on the urgent need to make their shared infrastructure more resilient to natural disasters and other threats. Our panel of experts will examine holistic approaches to protecting and maintaining supply chains, housing, transportation, utilities, and other fixtures necessary for communities to thrive and for military installations to maintain mission readiness. The briefing will also explore regional examples of these challenges and how local governments and Department of Defense (DOD) officials are working together to devise solutions.
Director, Center for Climate and Security; Former Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller)
Vice President, Henry M Jackson Foundation
The vast geographic distribution of DOD facilities, their often advanced age, and the fact that they were originally built to withstand less severe environmental conditions than those now being experienced have all been a cause for grave concern among base commanders. Extreme weather events—flooding, drought, and wildfire—all pose a real threat to DOD assets, as do rising sea levels, which are already causing increased incidence of sunny-day, nuisance flooding on the East Coast. Damage inflicted upon defense facilities and the interdependent assets they host can cripple the military's ability to respond to a crisis, in addition to costing taxpayers millions of dollars in repairs and replacements. Bases must also be regularly resupplied, meaning a natural disaster or infrastructure failure could lead to additional hindrances to a facility's mission.
Likewise, the civilian communities located near many military facilities are every bit as vulnerable to climate change impacts. There is a strong connection between bases across America and the adjacent communities found "beyond the gate." Vital infrastructure, such as roads, electricity, and water, are shared between towns and bases, and these communities often house many active-duty and civilian personnel who work on-base and have strong economic ties with the military's presence. Support services are often carried out by civilian employees, who number 742,000 (compared to 1.3 million active duty personnel). When civilian and active-duty personnel are unable to safely and reliably travel to their jobs on base, DOD operations can be severely hindered.