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National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces
Determine the potential impact climate change will have on allied force operations and capabilities ….
Examine the potential impact on U.S. future naval antisubmarine warfare operations and capabilities in the world’s oceans as a result of climate change; specifically, the technical underpinnings for projecting U.S. undersea dominance in light of the changing physical properties of the oceans.
This first report is very much an interim report that neither addresses in its entirety any one element of the terms of reference nor reaches final conclusions on any aspect of the potential implications of climate change. Instead, this report highlights issues brought to the committee’s attention during its first three meetings that could have potential near-term impacts, impose a need for near-term awareness, or require near-term planning to ensure that longer-term naval capabilities are protected. The committee will continue its study during the coming months and expects to complete by mid-2010 its final report, which will address all of the elements in the study’s terms of reference and explore many potential implications of climate change not covered in this letter report.
In its initial three meetings, the committee received a number of helpful briefings from commands across the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard,1 as well as expert briefings from individuals working at a number of other government agencies, including the following: the National Ice Center, the National Intelligence Council, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Additionally, the committee conducted data-gathering sessions on national security and climate-change-related issues with Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN); the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), sponsored by NOAA and the University of Colorado, Boulder; the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence; the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security; and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. When combined with the collective knowledge of the committee, these briefings are considered to constitute a sufficient basis for development of the findings and recommendations offered by the committee in this report.
In its first three meetings, the committee heard from the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard as follows (see Enclosure D for dates, places, and briefers): (1) the U.S. Navy (Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Navy Task Force Climate Change, Navy Energy Coordination Office, Navy Task Force Energy, Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Plans and Strategy [N3/N5], Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Integration of Capabilities and Resources [N81], Office of the Commander of the Naval Installations Command, and the Navy Quadrennial Defense Review [QDR] Integration Group); (2) the U.S. Marine Corps (the Office of the Facilities Branch Head and the Office of Environmental Management Section, Headquarters Command); and (3) the U.S. Coast Guard (Commandant of the Coast Guard; and the Office of Policy Integration, USCG Headquarters).