This administration may not take climate change seriously, but over at the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis and most other top officials believe that scientists know what they’re talking about.
The U.S. Navy has seen climate change’s impact on its facilities at places such as Naval Station Norfolk, where pier inundation now happens at least monthly, impeding training and maintenance schedules and thus fleet readiness. Sea levels there are rising one inch every six years—more than double the average global rate.
According to the Department of Defense’s Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, climate change will affect the military’s built and natural infrastructure and its acquisition and supply chain in dramatic ways, as Forest L. Reinhardt & Michael W. Toffel explained in Harvard Business Review. We can expect flash flooding and mudslides in Hawaii, home to the Pacific Fleet, and intensified droughts in California, where the Navy has more than $40 billion in assets. In Alaska, the Navy is being forced to rebuild and relocate roads, buildings, and airfields as the permafrost melts, and it might eventually have to relocate some of its bases. International bases are also likely to be severely affected by storm surges and higher sea levels.