A Call to Action

A Call to Action

First published Summer 2011, Crosslink® magazine.


Severe weather and worsening environmental conditions will be detrimental to the performance and readiness of military operations at home and abroad. Additionally, the effects of climate change will be felt simultaneously by allies, potential adversaries, and unstable governments around the globe. Deployed U.S. forces could find that their capabilities are degraded at precisely the time that they are required to be more engaged in stability operations. With this in mind, a military advisory board of 11 retired generals and admirals from the U.S. armed services led a 2007 study at CNA Corporation (Alexandria, Virginia) to consider possible scenarios and recommend appropriate courses of action. Although the report does not speak directly to the role of the space sector, all five of its recommendations convey applicable guidance for the requirements and operations of space systems:

  1. The national security consequences of climate change should be fully integrated into national security and national defense strategies.
  2. The United States should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate change at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.
  3. The United States should commit to global partnerships that help less developed nations build the capacity and resiliency to better manage the effects of climate change.
  4. The Department of Defense should enhance its operational capability by accelerating the adoption of improved business processes and innovative technologies that result in improved U.S. combat power through energy efficiency.
  5. The Department of Defense should conduct an assessment of the impact on U.S. military installations worldwide of rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and other projected climate change effects over the next 30 to 40 years.

Return to the Summer 2011 Table of Contents

Go to main article:  Climate Change and National Security: Implications for Space Systems

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Go to the sidebar: The Climate Change Threat: How Does It Differ from Conventional Threats?