The Pen­tagon’s war on the global cli­mate

Obama’s fool­ish green agenda in­ter­feres with the mil­i­tary’s core mis­sion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Jed Bab­bin

The Pen­tagon’s “2014 Cli­mate Change Adap­ta­tion Roadmap,” pub­lished last week, demon­strates how thor­oughly and deeply lib­eral “cli­mate change” ide­ol­ogy is be­ing em­bed­ded in our mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ment. To undo the dam­age will re­quire a de­ter­mined ef­fort by our next pres­i­dent.

We’ve al­ready seen how the cli­mate change ide­ol­ogy has wasted scarce de­fense dol­lars, such as Sec­re­tary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ decision to spend $26 a gal­lon for 450,000 gal­lons of bio­fuel — about $11.7 mil­lion — when $5 a gal­lon diesel fuel would have met the same need. That, of course, came at a time when the Navy fleet was shrink­ing to the small­est size since the end of World War I.

The new roadmap im­ple­ments two of Pres­i­dent Obama’s ex­ec­u­tive or­ders, which di­rect all fed­eral agen­cies to in­te­grate cli­mate change con­sid­er­a­tions in all their op­er­a­tions, plan­ning and mis­sion ob­jec­tives. On the first page, De­fense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel writes that the Pen­tagon is very busy de­ter­min­ing things such as the ef­fect of cli­mate change on Mr. Obama’s mil­i­tary “shift” to the Pa­cific and how it should be in­cluded in war games. He adds, “Pol­i­tics or ide­ol­ogy must not get in the way of sound plan­ning,” but that’s ex­actly what the man­dates he de­scribes will ac­com­plish.

The re­port ac­cepts as fact all the hy­per­bole of cli­mate change and on that ba­sis man­dates that ev­ery as­pect of Pen­tagon op­er­a­tions and plan­ning should be adapted to con­sider those “facts.” It claims that cli­mate change is a “force mul­ti­plier,” so great a na­tional se­cu­rity risk that it may cause dis­ease, trig­ger in­sta­bil­ity in and among na­tions and foster ter­ror­ism.

To deal with th­ese sup­posed na­tional se­cu­rity threats, Mr. Hagel’s re­port sets out how the De­fense Depart­ment has cre­ated an over­lay on the depart­ment’s ac­tiv­i­ties that makes global warm­ing an el­e­ment to be con­sid­ered in ev­ery­thing it does.

“Cli­mate change adap­ta­tion” comes in the form of re­quired stud­ies and plan­ning. It re­quires guid­ance be given to com­bat­ant com­man­ders so that they will in­clude cli­mate con­cerns in “Theater Cam­paign Plans, Op­er­a­tions Plans, Con­tin­gency Plans and Theater Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion Plans.” That means cli­mate change con­cerns have to be in­jected into bat­tle­field plan­ning and mil­i­tary train­ing. It man­dates as­sess­ments of how de­fense ac­tiv­i­ties may af­fect “unique land­scapes, ecosys­tems and habi­tats.” Ac­cord­ingly, the Marines may have to choose which beach to storm not on the ba­sis of tak­ing their ob­jec­tive with the least ca­su­al­ties but by mea­sur­ing which beach will suf­fer less ero­sion owing to their land­ing.

Th­ese are only a few of the dozens of plans, stud­ies and mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions the “roadmap” re­quires in or­der to bow to the ide­ol­ogy of cli­mate change. Ev­ery time that ide­ol­ogy has to be con­sid­ered, it will cost money and rob plan­ning time from real de­fense con­cerns.

The roadmap in­sti­tu­tion­al­izes cli­mate change think­ing as part of the bu­reau­cracy’s nor­mal func­tions, mak­ing it an ever-present thought in the minds of the Pen­tagon’s denizens. I know from my ser­vice in the Pen­tagon that the bu­reau­cracy will en­sure that cli­mate change con­cerns are in­cluded in all de­fense plan­ning year after year un­til some­one re­verses Mr. Hagel’s man­dates.

Per­haps the most pre­dictable re­quire­ment the De­fense Depart­ment has de­cided on says that the Pen­tagon will “col­lab­o­rate” with the pri­vate sec­tor to “lever­age best prac­tices and ac­qui­si­tion strate­gies” to in­clude cli­mate change con­cerns.

The de­fense in­dus­tries will bend to the de­sires of their only cus­tomer be­cause they must. Ev­ery ma­jor con­trac­tor and sub­con­trac­tor will hire cli­mate con­sul­tants to ad­vise them and write stud­ies on how they’re im­prov­ing and us­ing “best en­vi­ron­men­tal prac­tices” in things such as bend­ing metal to man­u­fac­ture an air­craft’s skin. The cost will be what the con­sul­tant mar­ket will bear and it will in­crease by mil­lions of dol­lars the price of ev­ery ship, air­craft, ri­fle and Humvee con­tract the mil­i­tary signs. It will also add months to ev­ery man­u­fac­tur­ing sched­ule.

Given the scarcity of de­fense dol­lars, we shouldn’t be adding th­ese costs in time and money to ev­ery­thing the Pen­tagon does.

We need to can­cel this sort of waste­ful spend­ing owing to the grow­ing moun­tain of ev­i­dence that dis­proves the sup­posed prob­lem. Just how much time do we want to take from com­bat­ant com­man­ders and their staffs to deal with th­ese is­sues? None at all, but that’s the power of the lib­er­als’ cli­mate change ide­ol­ogy. Be­cause it dom­i­nates the think­ing of peo­ple such as Mr. Obama and Mr. Hagel, they can — and are — em­bed­ding it in the think­ing of the fed­eral bu­reau­cracy. It will take a con­certed ef­fort from the White House and the de­fense sec­re­tary’s of­fice to re­lieve our de­fense es­tab­lish­ment of this point­less bur­den. Re­peal­ing the pres­i­dent’s cli­mate change ex­ec­u­tive or­ders would be a very good start.

There is ev­ery rea­son to doubt that cli­mate change should be a con­cern at all. It clearly isn’t a na­tional se­cu­rity threat that should per­vade the De­fense Depart­ment’s ev­ery ac­tiv­ity. Our com­bat­ant com­man­ders and their staffs have more im­por­tant things to worry about, such as win­ning our wars. They — and the rest of Amer­ica’s de­fend­ers — should not have to waste time think­ing about any­thing else. Jed Bab­bin is a for­mer deputy un­der­sec­re­tary of de­fense in the George H.W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion and co-au­thor of “The Sunni Van­guard” (London Cen­ter for Pub­lic Pol­icy, 2014).


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