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Climate Action Team Leads DOD Efforts to Adapt to Climate Change Effects

Climate Action Team Leads DOD Efforts to Adapt to Climate Change Effects

The Defense Department is tackling the climate crisis across a variety of fronts, from increasing energy resilience and security to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming. This multifaceted approach is necessary for installations and operations to adapt to climate hazards ranging from increasingly severe storms to wildfires and droughts.

In a message to the force released March 4, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said, "We face a growing climate crisis that is impacting our missions, plans and capabilities and must be met by ambitious, immediate action."

Austin directed the creation of the DOD Climate Working Group to coordinate the department's actions in response to President Joe Biden's Executive Order 14008, titled "Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad," which put the climate crisis at the center of U.S. foreign policy and national security.

The group is tasked with incorporating climate change considerations in strategy, planning and programming documents, and processing and coordinating those documents with the military services. The group will consult with interagency partners to ensure the department's climate efforts support a whole-of-government approach.

To translate policy directives to action and implementation, the Climate Action Team stood up in March 2021. A parallel effort under the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience, it is composed of planners, engineers, researchers and landscape architects, predominantly from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Climate Action Team co-leader Kate White, who is detailed from the Corps to help lead climate programs for the DOD, said that members of the team are predominantly drawn from the Corps because it has been a leader for climate preparedness and adaptation for a long time.
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