Press Release

Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate Reacts to Department of Defense's Quadrennial Defense Review


The Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate today reacted to the Department of Defense's Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) which, for the first time, declared global warming will play a “significant role in shaping the future security environment.”

“Under the leadership of Secretary Robert Gates, the Department of Defense (DoD) has made a landmark step forward in protecting our nation's security and preserving our country's natural resources. The Quadrennial Defense Review, which mirrors what leading military, intelligence, and security experts have told us about the impending threat of climate change and our energy dependence, clearly exhibits that the Department is preparing for the worst of threats,” said former Senator John Warner (R-VA) spokesperson for the Pew Project on National Security, Energy and Climate. “Climate change has the potential to make natural disasters more frequent, adding more missions to the already heavy burdens of our military.”

The QDR, the Pentagon's primary planning document that assesses the threats and challenges of current and future conflicts says that climate change affects the Department of Defense in two broad ways.  First, global warming “will shape the operating environment, roles and missions” that the department undertakes and second “DoD will need to adjust to the impacts of climate change on our facilities and military capabilities.”

"This review of the defense strategy shows that the Pentagon recognizes that global climate change will exacerbate existing threats, worsen conflict in already unstable regions of the world, negatively impact military operations, and result in tremendous costs for our nation," said American Security Project President, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret).

In 2007, as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, then-Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Hilary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) added language to the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Department of Defense to consider the effects of climate change on facilities, capabilities and missions. Through the QDR, the DoD is incorporating the threat of global warming into its long-range strategic plans.

“Once again, the Department of Defense has shown real leadership.  The Pentagon is the largest user of energy in this country and is aggressively working to reduce their carbon bootprint.  Like the DoD, Congress should act now to address the clear threat that climate change and our energy dependence pose to our nation's security,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of the Pew Environment Group's Global Warming Campaign.  “The U.S. Senate should pass a national policy that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our national security, create good paying clean energy jobs and protect our environment for future generations. We need bipartisan, comprehensive energy and climate legislation now.”

To read the climate section of Quadrennial Defense Review visit the Pew Project on National Security, Energy & Climate online.

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