Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Garamendi, Langevin, Smith, Call on Department of Defense to Issue Revised Climate Change Report

January 30, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – On Monday, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan requesting he revise a report on climate change and its impacts on national security. The report, presented to Congress on January 10, failed to meet the basic requirements laid out in statute.

The report was mandated by Langevin’s amendment to the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, which was included in the final conference report at the request of Chairman Smith. The amendment directed the Pentagon to identify the top ten military installations within each service branch threatened by climate change and the expected costs for mitigation of climate-related risks.

“The Defense Department’s initial report does not adhere to the requirements plainly spelled out in my amendment, and it does not reflect the magnitude of the threat that climate change poses to our military bases around the globe,” said Congressman Langevin. “The Pentagon must complete the necessary analysis to meet the parameters set forth in law. Our military service members, the installations they rely on, and the threat environments they deploy to are living with the reality of climate change. It is incumbent upon the Department and Congress to ensure we are properly preparing for a warming planet, and the report issued earlier this month falls well short of what is required to responsibly address the issue, protect our national security, and ensure military readiness.”

“In 2017, House Democrats successfully required the Department of Defense to report on the impact that climate change will have on U.S. military installations. The Trump administration has now released that report and, unfortunately, it is inadequate. It demonstrates a continued unwillingness to seriously recognize and address the threat that climate change poses to our national security and military readiness,” said Chairman Smith. “While this climate report acknowledges that nearly all the military installations it studied are vulnerable to major climate change impacts, and provides numerous installation-level examples of those impacts, it fails to even minimally discuss a mitigation plan to address the vulnerabilities. The Department of Defense presented no specifics on what is required to ensure operational viability and mission resiliency, and failed to estimate the future costs associated with ensuring these installations remain viable. That information was required by law. The Department of Defense must develop concrete, executable plans to address the national security threats presented by climate change. As drafted, this report fails to do that.”

“It’s shameful that the Trump administration refuses to take the threat of climate change seriously,” said Congressman Garamendi. “As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness, I am deeply concerned about the impact climate change will have on military readiness. The inadequate report that was provided to Congress failed to offer any solutions or strategies to address the impact climate change will have on our national security. That’s why I joined Armed Services Committee Chairman, Adam Smith, and Rep. Jim Langevin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, in sending a formal request to Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan to issue a comprehensive revised report to Congress. The administration is required by law to provide this information to Congress, and I will do everything in my power to ensure we receive this vital information in a timely manner.”

The letter requires the Department to submit a revised report no later than April 1. It emphasizes the statutory requirements that the original report failed to meet and calls into question the methodological justification for leaving out U.S. Marine Corps installations or any overseas bases. The letter also highlights a separate bipartisan letter Langevin led in July 2018 offering to help clarify any perceived ambiguities in the original language, an offer that was never accepted.

Full text of the letter