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Climate Change Adaptation and National Security

Posted on July 08, 2014

In a new report, we assessed the Department of Defense’s (DOD) actions to adapt its U.S. infrastructure to the challenges of climate change. While it’s not possible to link any individual weather event to climate change, these events provide insight into potential climate-related vulnerabilities.

Our report includes examples of the potential effects of climate change on defense infrastructure. For example, an Army installation and training area in the Southwestern United States were hit with an extreme rain event in August 2013. According to installation officials, approximately 1 year’s worth of rain fell in 80 minutes. The storm-related flooding caused an estimated $64 million in damage to more than 160 facilities. These facilities included:

  • a barracks building
  • 8 roads
  • 1 bridge
  • 11,000 linear feet of fencing

This video illustrates some of the damage that occurred during the incident:

Flooding at Fort Irwin



Flooding at Fort Irwin Damaged Department of Defense Infrastructure

In our report, we recommended that DOD bolster its climate change adaptation planning efforts. You can read the full report or check out our website for the work we're doing on limiting the government's fiscal exposure by better managing climate change risks.

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