On Thursday, July 9th, American Security Project sent representatives to Chicago to discuss the impacts of climate change on U.S. national security in a series of public events, and interviews. The issues of how climate change is affecting security, how institutions in the region are planning for it, and how it will impact the careers of military and civilians working on national security in the future were all covered.
Attending were Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) and Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Ret.). Vice Admiral Lee Gunn served in the U.S. Navy for thirty-five years prior to his retirement in 2000. His last active duty assignment was Inspector General of the Department of the Navy where, together with his Marine Deputy, he was responsible for the Department’s overall inspection program and its assessments of readiness, training, and quality of service. Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Security Project (ASP) and a member of the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and has over 30 years experience as a Marine. Cheney’s career included a wide variety of command and staff positions with the operating forces and the supporting establishment. Also intendence from ASP was Mr. Andrew Holland, ASP’s Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate.
On WGN9 Chicago, General Stephen A. Cheney is quoted:
[Climate change] is not just about the weather. It is also about things like sea level rise, drought, and they are all influencing stability world wide. It is an excellerant of instability.
Additionally, on WTTW Chicago, Admiral Lee Gunn stated:
The American military is expected to plan for every eventuality and represent America all throughout the world. What the services do, in addition to preparing for and conducting combat, are humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations…As extreme weather events become greater and more frequent, as people move in response to climate change…that causes conflict. All of that contributes to instability and the military is going to be expect, in fact, to contend with that.
Mr. Andrew added:
We don’t expect that two degrees of warming is automatically going to cause wars. But what it will do is impact things like water security, food security, which leads to migration, which then leads to instability, and could leads to more wars, more threats.