Pentagon Report Warns: Climate Change Is Destroying Critical Military Facilities

April 20th, 2018 - by admin

Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics / Department of Defense – 2018-04-20 00:46:00

A Changing Climate, National Security and DOD — Why Do We Care?
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics / Department of Defense

(January 24, 2018) — The nature of our mission. DoD looks at climate through the lens of its mission. From that perspective, changes in climate affect national security in several ways. Changes in climate can potentially shape the environment in which we operate and the missions we are required to do.

The safety and suitability of our infrastructure. Our warfighters require bases from which to deploy, on which to train, or to live when they are not deployed. If extreme weather makes our critical facilities unusable or necessitate costly or manpower-intensive work-arounds, that is an unacceptable impact.

Beginning in 2014, DoD began the three-phased screening-level survey approach (pilot sites, coastal/tidal, remaining enduring sites) that is the subject of this report. A summary of the screening-level survey development and application are provided in the next section of the report.

The SLVAS was developed to take an initial look at where our assets have been affected from climate. Because the information collected from these surveys is highly qualitative, it is best used as an initial indicator of where a more in-depth assessment may be warranted. The SLVAS is the first step in an on-going process to manage the risks associated with climate to the DoD mission, installations, and ranges.

Examples of Extreme Weather Events and their Effects

Fort Irwin, CA

In August 2013, a late summer monsoon rain storm struck Fort Irwin. This storm brought several inches of rain in a short period of time. Storm water flowed into the main cantonment area from the mountains around the post causing great damage to property.

More than 160 buildings in the cantonment area were flooded and sections of Fort Irwin’s extensive training area also sustained major storm damage. Training structures were toppled and supporting electronic target and communications systems were damaged.

Weeks of effort were required to clean storm debris from the cantonment area’s roads and parking lots. Soldiers, Civilians, and contractors all pitched in clear debris from roads and buildings, and. Many buildings were closed for repair for months.

West Point Military Reservation, NY
While less than 5 percent of the West Point Military Reservation is within 0-3 feet of mean sea level, that portion of the installation includes transportation and wastewater treatment infrastructure.

Due to its physical/geographic location, flooding has occurred at West Point numerous times in the past 30 years. During Superstorm Sandy, some sections of the installation reported significant inundation.

Wind Damage at Multiple Installations
Multiple Army installations, from coastal (e.g., Military Ocean Terminal Concord) to inland locations (e.g., Oklahoma National Guard), reported impacts from high winds. The most common impacts from wind-related events included damage to aboveground electric/power infrastructure (especially power lines) and to roofs of buildings.

US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD

Due to impacts from weather events like Hurricane Isabel and storm surge, the US Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis was one of the first installations to be analyzed for vulnerabilities to climate change, focusing on the importance of infrastructure utilities including water, power, heating, and cooling. This analysis demonstrated the high dependence of building systems on utilities and transportation networks.

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast of the United States as the second costliest hurricane in US history, resulting in $71B in damage. Naval Weapons Station Earle was subject to high winds, storm surge and intense precipitation, resulting in $24 million in damages to their 2.9-mile-long pier complex. Nearly eight miles of water and sewer piping were destroyed at the base and particularly along the pier.

Cape Lisburne Seawall Replacement

Arctic sea ice is in constant change, growing in the fall and winter and receding in the spring and summer. The proximity of Air Force long range radar on the North Slope of Alaska to the Arctic shoreline makes them vulnerable to accelerated shoreline erosion from the duration and extent of sea ice fluctuations, increasing water temperatures, thawing of permafrost soils, and the effects of wave action.

The rock seawall at the Cape Lisburne Long Rand Radar Station on the northwest Alaska coastline protects the installation’s gravel airstrip from tidal and storm driven wave action.

Over the past decade, the runway’s seawall has been depleted and eroded by wave action and extreme weather events. The damaged rock reinforcement became ineffective, and the 5,450-linear-foot wall had to be replaced at a cost of $46.8 million.

Waldo Canyon Fire, Peterson AFB and the US Air Force Academy
When wildfires occur, they can be devastating to military installations and local communities, causing loss of life, property damage, destruction of habitat, and severe water quality impacts.

In the summer 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire, one of the most destructive wildfires in Colorado history, consumed over 18,000 acres, threatening Peterson AFB and the US Air Force Academy and costing over $16 million to battle.

Air Force resources including Air National Guard personnel, ground vehicles, and C-130s loaded with Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems (MAFFS), a system of pressurized tanks and pumps that can drop 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant within seconds, were mobilized and diverted from normal operations to support the US Forest Service in combating fires in Colorado and across other states in the region.

The DoD maintains over 500 installations across the globe with thousands of associated individual sites that vary in size, configuration, and distance from each other.

Given the sheer number of sites in its portfolio and the desire to understand where more comprehensive assessment may be needed, the OASD(EI&E) developed and initiated a preliminary screening level assessment survey of its worldwide sites.

Working with the Military Services, Defense Logistics Agency, and Washington Headquarters Services, as the infrastructure owning/managing components, and using data and unique identifiers from DoD’s Real Property Assets Database (RPAD), an on-line survey instrument — housed in a database and accessed through a password-protected web-based interface — was developed by OASD (EI&E).

The survey questions focused on observed effects from past severe weather events (which may be indicative of more frequent and/or more severe future conditions), and the proximity of site acreage to any flood-prone areas.

The survey asked for the identification of the negative effects experienced from effects, both on the DoD site assets as well as any observed effects on similar assets in the surrounding community that provided supporting services (e.g., utilities, transportation, emergency response) for the DoD site.

These included:
* Flooding due to storm surge
* Flooding due to non-storm surge events (e.g., rain, snow, sleet, ice, river overflow)
* Extreme temperatures (both hot and cold)
* Wind
* Drought
* Wildfire

The asset categories evaluated included:
* Airfield Operations (on and off-site)
* Training Areas/Ranges/Facilities (on-site)
* Piers/Waterfront Services (on and off-site)
* Information Systems (on and off-site)
* C4ISR (on-site)
* Energy Infrastructure (on and off-site)
* Fuel Infrastructure (on and off-site)
* Logistics/supply (on and off-site)
* Transportation Infrastructure & Routes (on and off-site)
* Emergency Services (on and off-site)
* Water/Wastewater Systems (on and off-site)
* HVAC Systems (on and off-site)
* Environmental Restoration sites (on-site)
* Natural Resources (on-site)
* Historic/Cultural Resources (on-site)
* Housing (on and off-site)
* HQ Buildings (on-site)
* Personnel Support (on-site)

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.