demand for Naval Construction Force capability in support of HA/DR operations is likely to increase in proportion to the operational tempo of U.S.-sponsored international HA/DR operations.6 Likewise, the U.S. Marine Corps, with its forward-deployed MEUs, should expect to be called upon to assist with extreme-weather-related HA/DR. However, the pace and extent of this increase are as yet unknown.

The committee sees three fundamental challenges facing U.S. naval forces regarding climate change impacts on missions, capabilities, and operations:

  • The need to develop capabilities, including logistics and training, to support new missions that climate change may bring;

  • The need to respond to an increase in the demand for certain types of existing missions; and

  • The need to maintain current warfighting capabilities as the operating environment changes.

Regarding new or expanding missions, the committee considers the need to operate in the Arctic and the expected increase in demand for HA/DR missions and operations related to mass migrations to be most likely. Regarding the maintenance of current capabilities in a changing operational environment, the ability of the Navy to project power under harsher climate conditions and the robustness of its antisubmarine warfare (ASW) capability as the acoustic environment changes are among the major issues. Each of these challenges is discussed below. ASW and other technical operational issues are discussed more fully in Chapter 5 of this report.

NAVAL FORCES’ RESPONSES TO FUTURE POTENTIAL CLIMATE-INDUCED EVENTS

Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief

All U.S. military services and many other federal agencies could be involved in supporting HA/DR missions brought on by climate change, depending upon the nature of the crisis, its location, and the severity of the event. Forward-deployed naval forces (Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard) are likely to be in the best position to respond rapidly to developing HA/DR crises and are therefore very likely to be called upon by the President. It is also probable that naval forces of coalition partners would be involved as part of the effort to bring relief to the affected area. Examples of international HA/DR efforts are the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Tropi-

6

For a review of U.S. Navy Construction Battalion operations, see U.S. Navy Seabees First Naval Construction Division, Strategic Plan 2008-2011, Norfolk, Va.



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