DOD, Other Agencies Release Climate Adaptation Progress Reports

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The Defense Department along with federal agencies across the government released its 2022 Climate Adaptation Plan Progress Report. Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and Executive Order 14057 Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability, requires that each federal agency develop, climate adaptation plans, better known as CAPs, and annual progress reports to communicate agency action to bolster climate adaptation and resilience.

DOD has identified climate change as a critical national security issue. Climate change will continue to amplify operational demands on the force, degrade installations and infrastructure resilience, increase health risks to our service members and require modifications to existing and planned equipment needs.

It is the end state of the CAP, to 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.

The Progress Report summarizes the significant steps the department has taken to address climate-related threats across the five lines of effort outlined in the 2021 Climate Adaptation Plan signed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III on Sept. 1, 2021.

LOE 1 Climate-Informed Decision-Making

Climate-informed decision making is in progress across the Defense Department and continues to be prioritized with senior leader support. Climate considerations and energy resilience are being included in key DOD strategy and planning documents, such as the National Defense Strategy and the National Military Strategy, which guide how DOD meets national security challenges.

In the fall of 2021, the department published the CAP, the CAP companion document Highlights and Examples for the Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Plan, and the Department of Defense Climate Risk Analysis, signed by Austin on Oct. 7, 2021, all of which anchor departmental initiatives focused on how to train, fight and win with due consideration for the effects of climate change at every level of the enterprise.

The military departments and services are taking bold steps to accelerate climate adaptation and are aligning their efforts with the department's CAP. Each military department has published a plan or strategy to operationalize climate adaptation and mitigation, with actions to enhance readiness, resilience, and capabilities of the force.

LOE 2 Train and Equip a Climate-Ready Force

DOD is preparing combat forces capable of operating under the most extreme and adverse weather and terrain conditions. Current actions include assessing and reviewing testing and training programs, equipment, exercises and acquisition for integration of climate change considerations.

LOE 3 Resilient Built and Natural Installation Infrastructure

Improving the resilience of built and natural installation infrastructure is an ongoing effort. DOD is engaging in comprehensive installation assessments including installation energy, water and climate resilience, integrated natural resource management plans, and through the master planning process.

LOE 4 Supply Chain Resilience and Innovation

DOD is continuing to assess its supply chain resilience and how it can leverage purchasing power to spur innovation and deployment of climate adaptation and mitigation technologies. The DOD is committed to strengthening the industrial base and establishing a network of domestic and allied supply chains to meet national security needs.

LOE 5 Enhance Adaptation and Resilience Through Collaboration

Collaboration to enhance adaptation and resilience is in progress across the Department. The DOD has strengthened existing partnerships, formed new partnerships, and increased its adaptation and resilience program's capabilities and capacity.

Climate Risk Reduction and Vulnerability Assessments

The department, through its climate assessment tool, has produced a structured method for assessing operating risk to climate-related hazards. This online, common access card-accessible data portal supports climate-informed decision making to increase resilience against climate hazards while preserving operational capability and protecting systems essential to the DOD's success.

DOD recently released updates to the DCAT to meet the Defense Secretary's 2021 Leaders' Summit on Climate deliverable to include all major domestic U.S. installations by April 2022.

Climate Literacy

DOD is incorporating climate change into education and training programs across the military and civilian workforce. In January 2022, the Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks, approved the establishment of a Climate Literacy sub-working group, reporting to the DOD Climate Working Group and chief sustainability officer. Educating, training, engaging and empowering a climate-literate workforce puts the department on a proactive footing.

Tribal Engagement

DOD is committed to respecting tribal sovereignty and self-determination; tribal treaty rights; the government-to-government relationship and complying with all applicable laws, regulations and policies related to tribal consultation requirements. In October 2021, Secretary Austin signed the 2021 Interagency Tribal Treaty Rights Memorandum of Understanding, joining 16 other signatory agencies.

In the coming months, the DOD will host virtual regional listening sessions with Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Indigenous peoples of the U.S. territories on climate impact considerations to tribal treaty rights, subsistence and on natural and cultural resources.

Environmental Justice

The Department is working to incorporate environmental justice into the implementation of the CAP. The DOD has developed an environmental justice strategy to address environmental justice in National Environmental Policy Act programs and policies. The strategy is intended to ensure that environmental justice is not limited to these processes, but rather is integrated into all DOD missions, strategy, planning and systems.

The Defense Department's senior leadership is focused on addressing climate change on a department-wide scale and continues close cooperation and engagement with all who have a stake in our national security.

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