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.


The leaders of the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps have recognized the potential impact of climate change on naval forces’ missions and have positioned their organizations to make adaptive changes.2 In this regard, the CNO has recognized the linkage between energy use and climate change by establishing two key task forces: the Navy Task Force Energy (charged with formulating a strategy and plans for reducing the Navy’s reliance on fossil fuels—and thus for reducing carbon dioxide emissions, operational energy demands, and, potentially, energy costs);3 and the Navy Task Force Climate Change (charged initially with developing a roadmap for Navy actions in the Arctic, and then with addressing longer-term Navy actions regarding global climate change policy, strategy, and plans).4 This committee engaged with the Navy Task Force Energy and the Navy Task Force Climate Change and found that each is providing strong leadership on these issues across the Navy and the Department of Defense (DOD). Both task forces are well positioned in capability and credibility to continue strong contributions within the DOD.

It is also noteworthy that the U.S. Navy and its assets are recognized by the national technical community as a critical partner in advancing the understanding of climate science and related policy implications.5 The committee strongly supports the continuation of dedicated efforts by the Navy to be


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).


A board of retired flag and general officers also recognized this impact and provided a broader perspective on the topic of national security and climate change. See Military Advisory Board, 2007, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, CNA Corporation, Alexandria, Va.


CAPT James L. Brown, USN, Director, Navy Energy Coordination Office, Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, “Navy Task Force Energy, Perspectives and Related Climate Change Initiatives,” presentation to the committee, September 17, 2009, Washington, D.C.


See Vice Chief of Naval Operations Memorandum 4000 Ser N09/9U103035, “Task Force Climate Change Charter,” October 30, 2009.


For example, both Navy and Coast Guard assets have been highly important in providing critical scientific data associated with both ice mass and ocean changes over extended periods. Also, the Medea Program, a project of the 1990s, has been highly valuable in providing sea-ice data from military and intelligence assets that would otherwise

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