Center for Strategic Communication

Today, at the Halifax Security Forum, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke about the role of the Department of Defense in preparing for an opening Arctic. He also highlighted the impact climate change has on national security around the world, and how the DoD is acting on it.

As 13,000 American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are currently engaged in ongoing relief efforts in the Philippines in response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, scientists say the need for such missions could increase in hot spots around the world. The DoD is actively planning for the impacts of climate change at home and around the world.

Over his career, Secretary Hagel has been a leader on examining the intersections of climate change and security since long before he became Secretary of Defense. When he was in the Senate, he was a sponsor of legislation asking the Intelligence Community to produce a National Intelligence Estimate on the threats of climate change.

As a Board Member of the American Security Project, Chuck Hagel contributed a statement to our 2012 Climate Security Report, discussing how the environment will have “unpredictable and destabilizing effects on developing and developed countries alike.”

Hagel’s remarks also build on the strong legacy of the Department of Defense, which has robustly examined the impacts of climate change on security for years.

The U.S. Military is a global leader in showing how climate change is threatening security. They are planning for how to prevent a changing climate from impacting and destabilizing other important national security priorities. Since 2010, when planning for climate change was included in the Quadrennial Defense Review, the U.S. DoD has been a global leader. This has set an example for countries around the world to also prepare for and mitigate the threats of climate change. ASP’s Global Security and Defense Index shows that over 70% of the countries in the world have acknowledged the threat of climate change on security; many have begun to plan for the military consequences. We anticipate that the 2014 QDR will build on the strength of that statement.

Brigadier General Stephen Cheney USMC (Ret.), ASP’s CEO and a Member of the Board of Directors commended Secretary Hagel’s remarks, saying: “Climate change is not an environmental issue. Planning for the effects of climate change and seeking ways to reduce its harm is a clear matter of national security. This should not be a partisan issue.” 


ASP is a leading authority on Arctic Security and the impacts of climate change on national security. For more detail, see:


Climate Security Report

The Global Security Defense Index on Climate Change : Preliminary Results

The Arctic – Five Critical Security Challenges

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