The Department of Defense (DOD) has identified climate change as a critical national security issue and threat multiplier (DOD 2014a) and top management challenge (DOD 2020a). Climate change will continue to amplify operational demands on the force, degrade installations and infrastructure, increase health risks to our service members, and could require modifications to existing and planned equipment. Extreme weather events are already costing the Department billions of dollars and are degrading mission capabilities. These effects and costs are likely to increase as climate change accelerates. Not adapting to climate change will be even more consequential with failure measured in terms of lost military capability, weakened alliances, enfeebled international stature, degraded infrastructure, and missed opportunities for technical innovation and economic growth.
The Department must take bold steps to accelerate adaptation to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change. These adaptation efforts must align with our strategic objectives and mission requirements, ensuring that our military can deter aggression and defend the nation under all conditions. DOD will build upon previous work (see inside back cover). Other DOD actions include scientific and engineering research to understand adaptation requirements, new policies and guidance, improved construction codes and standards, tools to assess and evaluate climate exposure at installations, and a requirement for comprehensive installation master planning.