The fact that the US Department of Defense considers climate change to be a serious national security threat is not something new. However, the agency apparently decided to ignore President Trump’s orders and to continue its projects meant to prepare the military for whatever consequences global warming may have.
The independent publication Military Times has reported the fact that the Pentagon has chosen to ignore an executive order given by Trump, in March, according to which the organization must stop the “Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap” project created in 2014.
The project has come a long way since its inception, enabling the DoD to issue directive 4715.21(January 2016), through which the roadmap was implemented. However, according to Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Evans, spokesman for the Pentagon, Trump has forced the organization to review said directive in order to determine if it should be rescinded, suspended, or if any changes are in order.
Regardless of this, the DoD is continuing its preparation for the changes brought by the inevitable climate change, regardless of Trump’s order. These changes can be seen throughout the country, in the form of upgrades that are being prepared for military bases and vehicles.
One clear example is the ongoing efforts to better protect the Hampton Roads base in Virginia against the effect of global warming. This is in accordance with the 2014 climate roadmap which states that the assets must be protected by a “projected sea-level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years.”
Furthermore, as part of the roadmap, the NAVFAC has replaced single-deck piers with double-dock piers and has ensured that all new structures are constructed at a higher elevation than the code dictates, in order to prevent any potential problems during storms.
The publication also presented news according to which the DoD has managed to negotiate its issues with President Trump’s orders by shifting the motives for continuing the upgrades. The reason behind the project has moved from climate change to the fact that these modifications would better protect military assets from extreme wind and flooding resulted from various sea-based meteorological phenomena.
In the end, the Pentagon has simply chosen to bypass Trump’s orders by isolating itself from the issue of climate change. The organization is now focusing its arguments with regard to maintaining the changes that are already in place and continuing to upgrade other military installations, on the idea that the project will help fortify military assets against extreme weather events and other natural disasters such as tsunamis.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis does not share President Trump’s opinion that the climate change is a carefully planned hoax. Regardless of the executive order received, the Pentagon considers that all possibilities must be taken into consideration in order to be prepared for any dangers that may appear.