National Guard helping with supplies
(Photo credit: Arizona National Guard / Flickr)

When a natural disaster or humanitarian crisis strikes, the U.S. military often helps provide critical aid. And as weather becomes more extreme, the need for that assistance is growing.

“The demand for American military resources to help out in humanitarian disasters is increasing year by year,” says Lee Gunn, a retired Navy vice admiral and vice chair of the CNA Military Advisory Board, which assesses potential national security threats.

He says storms are not the only threat. Slow-moving disasters can also lead to major crises.

In southeast Asia, warming oceans are affecting fish habitats, making fishing more difficult. And rising seas are pushing more saltwater inland, which can disrupt rice agriculture. Gunn says these impacts threaten the region’s economy and food security.

“These stresses are going to lead far more often to humanitarian disasters,” he says.

And that could become a concern for the U.S. military.

“Because we care about the people around the world and we care about the stability that we’re able to provide that facilitates international trade … and these thriving communities everywhere,” he says.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.