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The Defense Department’s Climate Adaptation Plan will tackle the growing impacts of climate change. Those efforts are underway as military forces work to retain operational advantage under all conditions.

  • Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience, said the plan has five lines of effort: climate-informed decision making, a climate-ready force, infrastructure resilience, supply chain resilience and collaboration with other agencies and community partners.
  • Kidd said the department has already seen adverse effects from climate change through operational demands on the force and degradation of infrastructure and installations.
  • He explained that adaptation entails managing the unavoidable, while mitigation involves avoiding the unmanageable.
  • To address potential climate disasters affecting military bases near coastlines, Kidd said people can use the Defense Climate Assessment Tool to monitor climate effects and then decide to invest more in the installation, move the mission elsewhere or undertake “managed retreat.”
  • Kidd said the department is mindful of protecting the environment in its testing and training exercises and has worked to preserve habitats of endangered species and retain forest cover.
  • PFAS, widely used, harmful chemical compounds, may have contaminated groundwater and drinking water near almost 700 military installations; Kidd said the Defense Department has addressed the unsafe drinking water and is going through the process of groundwater cleanup.
  • Kidd said DoD is getting increased resources to address environmental justice for communities around military installations.
  • He said there are multiple programs underway to work with industry and academia to find innovative technology for energy and environmental issues.
  • He emphasized that the United States has to compete with China, the top producer of solar panels, wind turbines and batteries but also the largest greenhouse gas emitter, to ensure supply chain integrity for equipment.
  • Kidd said many climate initiatives are on hold until Congress provides DoD a formal budget.

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