In 2018, Hurricane Florence dumped more than two feet of rain on Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base in North Carolina. Hundreds of buildings flooded.
Within months, Hurricane Michael leveled buildings at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. And flooding on the Missouri River inundated Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.
The estimated cost of rebuilding from just these three events totaled about $10 billion.
“Increasingly, extreme weather is imposing a cost on DOD bases, not only in dollars, but in readiness. It is impacting missions and operations,” says John Conger, who directs the Center for Climate and Security and served in the Department of Defense during the Obama Administration.
He says the military takes these threats seriously. This year, the Department of Defense is assessing climate risks at installations across the country.
It’s the first step in planning how to prepare for and respond to more extreme storms, rising seas, heat waves, and droughts.
And though climate change can be a contentious issue in D.C., Conger says there’s broad support in Congress for helping protect military operations.
“In a world that can be sometimes polarized, this is a bipartisan pragmatic place for bridge building,” he says.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media