Even as Russia warns that increasing Western military activity in the Arctic may spark conflicts, the Pentagon is raising concern over another perceived threat in the region: climate change.
US military bases in the Arctic and sub-Arctic have already seen damage from changing weather patterns, including cracked runways and increased flooding, and they’re not prepared to adapt to the long-term effects of climate change, the Pentagon’s inspector general reported on Friday. The threat has been overlooked despite a 2019 Pentagon report to Congress saying that climate change is a national security issue with potential impacts on US military missions and bases.
The inspector general blamed the planning failures on a lack of emphasis at the Department of Defense on ensuring the “climate resilience” of US bases. “Military installation leaders focused on existing weather and energy challenges rather than analyzing their installations’ infrastructure, assets and mission exposure and vulnerability to climate change,” the report said.