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Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Lawmakers examine climate change security threats analysis

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A pair of lawmakers recently released a requested Government Accountability Office (GAO) analysis regarding potential national security threats resulting from climate change impacts.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Jack Reed (D-RI) sought to examine climate change impact on defense contractors and the defense supply chain, as well as the extent to which the Department of Defense (DoD) addresses climate change and other environmental risks during the contracting process. The lawmakers maintain climate change is a threat with effects regularly experienced via floods, wildfires, hurricanes and health impacts.

The GAO report concluded the DoD has not systematically incorporated consideration of climate change into its acquisition and supply processes and has not fully assessed risks to commercially owned facilities that support critical missions as part of its mission assurance process.

Additionally, the report determined the circumstances pose a risk the DoD will not be able to prepare for future climate threats to its facilities and jeopardize its ability to carry out missions. The DoD concurred or partially concurred with each of the six GAO recommendations and the senators urged the Department to implement them rapidly, officials said.

“We recognize that incorporating climate risk analysis into the DoD’s contracting processes in a systematic way is a challenging task, but the potential risks to DoD operations and mission-critical assets are significant,” the lawmakers wrote regarding the analysis.