Department of Defense Climate Risk Analysis (October 2021)

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Climate change is reshaping the geostrategic, operational, and tactical environments with significant implications for U.S. national security and defense. Increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change are exacerbating existing risks and creating new security challenges for U.S. interests. The risks of climate change to Department of Defense (DoD) strategies, plans, capabilities, missions, and equipment, as well as those of U.S. allies and partners, are growing. Global efforts to address climate change – including actions to address the causes as well as the effects – will influence DoD strategic interests, relationships, competition, and priorities. To train, fight, and win in this increasingly complex environment, DoD will consider the effects of climate change at every level of the DoD enterprise.

The DoD Climate Risk Analysis (DCRA) responds to requirements specified in Executive Order (EO) 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.”1 The DCRA is organized as follows:

• Section I introduces key security implications of climate change to DoD, including DoD’s role supporting whole-of-government and international efforts in concert with allies and partners.

• Section II reviews DoD climate policy and responsibilities, highlighting key documents.

• Section III presents a review of climate hazards, risks, and security implications. Sections on specific regions have been identified as Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and not releasable to the public. These sections were removed to allow this to be a publicly-releasable document.

• Section IV outlines how DoD will incorporate consideration of climate into relevant strategy, planning, and processes.

• Section V describes interagency scientific and intelligence products and experts, which could support future analyses of climate risk, as well as expected funding for exercises, wargames, analyses, and studies related to climate change.

• Section VI concludes the DCRA.

The DCRA is an important step towards integration of climate change considerations at DoD. To understand specific climate effects on plans, resourcing, operations, and missions, DoD Components will include climate considerations in relevant risk analyses, leveraging high-quality data, scenarios, and analytical tools tailored to DoD needs.
Working within the whole-of-government, and in coordination with allies and partners, DoD will strive to prevent, mitigate, account for, and respond to defense and security risks associated with climate change.