National Security and the Threat of Climate Change: Military Advisory Board Findings

The purpose of the Military Advisory Board’s study was to examine the national security consequences of climate change. A dozen of the nation’s most respected retired admirals and generals served as a Military Advisory Board to study how climate change could affect our nation’s security over the next 30 to 40 years—the timeframe for developing new military capabilities.

The specific questions addressed were:

  • What conditions are climate changes likely to produce around the world that would represent security risks to the United States?
  • What are the ways in which these conditions may affect America’s national security interests?
  • What actions should the nation take to address the national security consequences of climate change?

FINDINGS:

  • Projected climate change poses a serious threat to America’s national security.
  • Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world.
  • Climate change, national security, and energy dependence are a related set of global challenges.

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE MILITARY ADVISORY BOARD:

  1. The national security consequences of climate change should be fully integrated into national security and national defense strategies. The intelligence community should incorporate climate consequences into its National Intelligence Estimate.
  2. The U.S. should commit to a stronger national and international roleto help stabilize climate change at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.
  3. The U.S. should commit to global partnerships that help less developed nations build the capacity and resiliency to better manage climate impacts.
  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 impacts over the next 30 to 40 years.