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Climate ChangeClimate Change


Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment and Energy Resilience, discusses what is being done to adapt to climate change impacts on the Defense Department.

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Why is climate change important to the DoD?

Climate change affects many aspects of the DoD, including Operations, Installations and Infrastructure, and Personnel.

Operations

  • Increased global insecurity – “Failed States”
  • Defense Support to Civil Authorities- “Fire Year” instead of “Fire Season”
  • International Humanitarian Response

Installations and Infrastructure

  • Drought, floods, heat
  • Loss of access to training areas
  • Degraded infrastructure

People and Equipment

  • Heat stress and health impacts
  • Readiness effects
  • Performance degradation

DoD Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP)DoD Climate Adaptation Plan


"The Department must take bold steps to accelerate adaptation to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change. These adaptation efforts must align with our strategic objectives and mission requirements, ensuring that our military can deter aggression and defend the nation under all conditions." - DoD CAP

  • Spurred by EO 14008, Section 211, issued 27 January 2021
  • Signed by SECDEF 1 September 2021
  • Released by White House 7 October 2021

Climate change is a serious threat to our security. It impacts our missions, plans, and capabilities and must be met by ambitious, immediate action.

The Department is responding to climate change in two ways: adaptation to enhance resilience to the effects of climate change; and mitigation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Department is showcasing its bold steps with its Climate Adaptation Plan (CAP), which is intended to drive transformative change across the entire Department.

DoD Climate Assessment Tool (DCAT)DoD Climate Assessment Tool


Climate vulnerability of infrastructure, systems, people, organizations, missions, operations, or activities is comprised of three components — exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity:

  • Exposure is the geographic proximity of infrastructure, systems, people, organizations, missions, operations, or activities to a climate hazard.
  • Sensitivity is the degree to which a climate hazard beneficially or adversely affects the intended function of infrastructure, systems, people, organizations, missions, operations, or activities.
  • Adaptive capacity is the ability of infrastructure, systems, people, organizations, missions, operations, or activities to adjust to adverse impacts caused by a climate hazard.

Climate hazard is a process, phenomenon or event related to changes in weather and climate that may cause disruption, degradation, damage or other impacts to infrastructure, systems, people, organizations, missions, operations, or activities.

What is the DoD Climate Assessment Tool?

A CAC-enabled, web-based collection of scientific climate data to support research, analysis, and decision making about exposure to historical extreme weather and reasonably foreseeable climate effects.

What is the purpose of the Climate Tool?

Enables Military Departments and their installation personnel to deliver consistent exposure assessments and identify regions or installations for additional climate-related studies.

How will the tool support analysis and decision making?

The tool uses data from past extreme weather events (e.g., hurricanes, tornado tracks) and the effects of future changes in sea levels, riverine flooding, drought, heat, land degradation, energy demand, and wildfires to produce hazard indicators.

The data supports a screening-level assessment of installation vulnerability expressed as a combination of exposure (designated by the tool) and sensitivity. This high-level assessment is useful for long-term planning and informed decision making. In the report accompanying the tool, an example installation illustrates the concept of sensitivity with different types of military assets (e.g., airfields, piers, training and testing areas).

DOD Climate Assessment Tool Screenshot from DoD Website

Climate change has been identified by the DoD as a critical national security threat and a threat multiplier. DCAT is the Department’s actionable climate assessment tool leveraging best available, authoritative data and methods. Assessing long-term exposure through tools like DCAT is essential to account for climate risks and vulnerabilities to DoD sites worldwide.

DCAT supports climate-informed decision making about prioritization and resources for climate adaptation and resilience (Climate Adaptation Plan LOE 1) to achieve the CAP End State: Ensure the DoD can operate under changing climate conditions, preserving operational capability and enhancing the natural and man-made systems essential to the Department’s success.

It provides a screening-level analysis and enables Military Departments and installation staff to deliver consistent climate exposure assessments, compare exposure across locations and prioritize further investments where additional climate-related studies might be needed to determine sensitivity and adaptive capacity.

DCAT calculates installation’s future climate exposure to 8 hazards: coastal flooding, riverine flooding, heat, drought, energy demand, land degradation, wildfire, and historical extreme weather events.

The tool assesses climate hazard exposure for two scenarios—lower future warming and higher future warming—and two future epochs: 2035–2064 (reported at 2050) and 2070–2099 (reported at 2085).

It includes customizable reports that can be used to prioritize installations for further, more detailed study of exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity (ESAC); support effective and efficient planning; and identify climate resilience measures.

DOD Climate Adaptation Plan Screenshot from DoD Website

Using DoD credential authentication, the CONUS-Alaska-Hawaii DCAT can be found here. Overseas analyses in the DCAT International tool can be found here.


An in-depth report providing an unclassified overview of the data and trends represented within the DCAT is available here: DoD installation Exposure to Climate Change at Home and Abroad