Sending Office: Honorable Elise M. Stefanik
LETTER CLOSES FRIDAY, JULY 13 COB
On May 10, 2018,
The Washington Post reported that during revision of the Department of Defense’s January 2018 Screening Level Vulnerability Assessment Survey Report, defense officials removed information relating to the term climate change and its associated potential
risks to the missions of the Department. This came despite language the President signed into law (in the FY18 NDAA) confirming that climate change is a direct threat to our national security. Altering these reports, many of which have been mandated by Congress,
is a significant step backwards when it comes to pragmatically addressing this issue.
Please join us in sending a letter to Secretary Mattis urging him to respect congressional intent in regard to reporting on the impacts of climate change. To join, please contact Lauren Canfield at
Lauren.Canfield@mail.house.gov with Congresswoman Stefanik or Kathryn Mitchell at
Kathryn.Mitchell@mail.house.gov with Congressman Langevin.
Jim Langevin & Elise Stefanik
Dear Secretary Mattis:
As Members of the House of Representatives with an interest in national security, we write to you to reinforce congressional intent when it comes to the implementation of reports covering climate change and the threat it poses to the United States and our
armed forces operating and training at home and around the globe.
On May 10, 2018, The Washington Post reported that during revision of the Department’s January 2018 Screening Level Vulnerability Assessment Survey Report, defense officials omitted information relating to how military installations report their vulnerability
to sea level rise, how climate change is affecting the operating environment in the Arctic, and what potential risks the Department faces with respect to its ability to conduct training and testing activities that have important impacts on our readiness.
While we appreciate the need to update reports when it is appropriate and necessary, we are disturbed that the revisions may have intentionally targeted mentions of climate change. The facts are clear: climate change poses a threat to the Department and
Congress recognized those facts on a bipartisan basis in the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which expressed the sense of Congress that climate change is a direct threat to national security. Furthermore, the Congressionally mandated
report requires each Service within the Department to assess the top ten military installations likely to be affected by climate change over the next 20 years and specific mitigations that may be necessary to ensure the continued operational viability and
resiliency of the identified installations. The provision also instructs combatant commanders to incorporate the effects of a changing climate into their strategic plans.
This language was supported in both the House Armed Services Committee and during a roll call vote on the Floor of the House. We expect that when this report is delivered to Congress later this year, it will contain candid assessments in line with the clear
instructions passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.
We reiterate that the statutory language is quite clear; however, should there be any ambiguity that you believe will impair your ability to fulfill Congress’s mandate, we are, of course, at your disposal. Thank you for your service and dedication to the
United States, and for your continued focus on this issue as you fulfill your duties as Secretary of Defense.
ELISE M. STEFANIK
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0