Sending Office: Honorable Stephen F. Lynch
SUPPORT CLIMATE CHANGE NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY ACT!
Rep. James R. Langevin, Rep. John P. Sarbanes, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Rep. Joseph Crowley, Rep. Timothy J. Walz, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Peter Welch,
Rep. Michael E. Capuano, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Rep. Hakeem S. Jeffries, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, Rep. Paul D. Tonko, Rep. James P. McGovern, Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. A. Donald McEachin, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Rep.
Donald M. Payne, Jr., Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Rep. Ted W. Lieu, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, Rep. Ruben Gallego, Rep. William R. Keating, Rep. Dwight Evans, Rep. Steve Cohen, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Alan S. Lowenthal, Rep. Scott H. Peters,
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, Rep. David N. Cicilline, Rep. Niki Tsongas, Rep. David E. Price, Rep. Bill Foster, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Rep. Bobby L. Rush, Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán, Rep. Salud O. Carbajal, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz,
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Rep. Denny Heck, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Mike Quigley, Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Madeleine Z. Bordallo, Rep. Jimmy Panetta, Rep. John K. Delaney, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Rep. Charlie Christ, Rep. Mike Thompson, Rep. Gregory W. Meeks,
Rep. Jim Himes, Rep. Jared Polis, Rep. Darren Soto, Rep. Jacky Rosen, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, Rep. Matt Cartwright, Rep. Chellie Pingree, Rep. Elizabeth Esty, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Ruben Kihuen, Rep. Debbie Dingell,
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester
As noted by a variety of national security officials and stakeholders, climate change has become a bipartisan national security priority.
According to the final
Worldwide Threat Assessment issued by outgoing
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 2016, climate change is a global threat and exacerbating factor that could spark additional global political instability, adverse health conditions, and humanitarian crises. During his Senate confirmation
process in January, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis also
cited climate change as a national security threat that “is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops our operating today.” Secretary Mattis further cautioned that “[a]s the Intelligence
Community has assessed, where climate change contributes to regional stability, the Department of Defense must be aware of any potential adverse impacts this can have on our interests.” Similarly, the most recent
Worldwide Threat Assessment issued by new
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in 2017 identifies climate change as a continuing human security risk. Director Coats specifically highlighted the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, global air pollution, the possibility that
public dissatisfaction with air quality may drive protests against authorities worldwide, and escalating tensions over shared water resources as posing potential security risks. Most recently,
Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer
testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that “the Navy…is totally aware of rising water issues, storm issues, etc.” and that “we must protect our infrastructure…because, without the infrastructure,
we lose readiness.” In the wake of the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Jose, and Hurricane Maria,
National Guard Chief Gen. Joseph Lengyel stated
that “storms are becoming bigger, larger, more violent” and that “it impacts me because the National Guard…we are the military domestic response force.”
In light of the current and potential impact of climate change on our national security, it is imperative that we appropriately consider climate
change in the development of national security strategies and policies. Regrettably, the
Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth signed by President Trump on March 28, 2017
rescinded a critical memorandum issued by President Obama last year that directed the Federal Government to do just that. In particular, the September 2016 directive, entitled “Climate
Change and National Security,” set forth as federal policy a commitment to ensuring that the Federal Government identifies and considers the wide-ranging impact of climate change in the development of relevant national security doctrines, policies,
and plans. The memorandum also established a “Climate and National Security Working Group” chaired by the National Security Advisor and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and including representatives from the Department of State,
the Department of Defense, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Mission to the United Nations, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal agencies.
The purpose of this Working Group was to develop an action plan to identify and address the national security implications of climate change. Moreover, the memorandum required federal agencies to develop implementation plans to mitigate the effect of climate
change on their national security missions. As reported by the
Washington Post, this directive marked the first time that U.S. security agencies have been required to consider climate change in the formulation of national security doctrine.
Following President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, it is even more critical that we do not lose sight of
the national security implications of climate change. To this end, I have introduced
H.R. 2908, the Climate Change National Security Strategy Act of
2017. This legislation would simply restore the core directives on national security and climate change included in President Obama’s September 2016 memorandum. In particular, the bill would set forth as federal policy that the Federal Government
must consider the impacts of climate change in the development of relevant national security policies. In addition, the bill would require the establishment of a “Climate and National Security Working Group” made up of intelligence, defense, security, and
other agency officials authorized to examine and develop an action plan on climate change and national security. Furthermore, the bill would require federal agencies to develop corresponding plans to address the impact of climate change on their national
security missions and to update these plans at least annually.
If you would like to cosponsor or have any questions regarding this legislation, please feel free to contact Bruce Fernandez of my staff at X58273
Thank you for your consideration.
STEPHEN F. LYNCH
Subcommittee on National Security
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