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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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The Military Gets Climate Change

The Military Gets Climate Change

Rear Admiral David Titley USN retired (credit: (Wikipedia)

Some years back, I was a participant in meetings at the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), a non-partisan, advisory arm of the US Congress, our panel in Washington was directed to investigate pending and future environmental threats to the US and elsewhere. OTA panels evaluated cutting edge advances in health, security, and computer science as well as food, renewable resources, and environmental matters. While the topic of 'climate change' was little known to the general public then, it came up regularly on the panels that I was a member.

The OTA was a small agency, ~120 program managers and staff, but they allowed a few people to attend the meetings as observers and listen to the discussions. With consistent regularity, two majors in the Army attended our meetings. They took notes and asked to receive copies of our reports when they and had been submitted to Congress. During coffee breaks we often spoke and the officers asked intelligent questions about the environmental issues of which they knew little. These officers eventually distributed copies of our reports to their commanders at the Defense Department. It was those leaders who read them and understood a changing climate could impact their field commanders and operations by what they termed 'force multipliers'. The DoD used the OTA findings to establish an Office on Global Climate to plan for mitigations and become more resilient to the threats of climate change. The office has recently issues a progress report.

The military understands preparing for future challenges before they arise. Retired US Naval officer David Titley from the Center for Climate and Security at Penn State. He reflects on climate change and how it affects the army, navy, and the other military forces in a practical, nonpartisan, assessment on preparedness. As Titley says in a prescient TED conference presentation: "The ice doesn't care who's in the White House. It doesn't care which party controls the congress. It doesn't care which party controls your parliament, it just melts".  WHB

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