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Climate Change Implications for the United States Military: Analysis of Three Coastal Military Installations

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Title:Climate Change Implications for the United States Military: Analysis of Three Coastal Military Installations
Authors:Pesicka , Emily
Contributors:Grove , Jairus (advisor)
Political Science (department)
Keywords:Environmental studies
Public policy
Date Issued:2020
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Climate change is shifting both the built and natural environments rapidly across the globe (Church & White 2006; Grant, 2017; IPCC 2007; National Research Council 2012; Wehner et al., 2018; Wuebbles et al., 2017; Wuebbles, 2018). Climate change poses new and emerging challenges for the U.S. Military in all branches and sectors; thus, it is vital to implement adaptation measures to combat the adverse effects on a branch wide basis (Brzoska, 2015; Holloway et al., 2015; Gunn, 2017; Goldstein and Greenberg, 2018). Moreover, a granular understanding of the specific impacts associated with each military installation, apparatus, command/personnel, and military property is necessary to implement the appropriate adaptation measure. Anthropogenic climate change poses many risks for the U.S. Military, including sea-level rise, extreme weather events, shoreline erosion, increased frequency and severity of storm surges, coastal flooding, shifting ecological conditions, changing marine and animal species that frequent a particular coastal area, threatened infrastructure, threatened operations, and climate change threaten the United States military operational readiness (Barnett, 2003; Beately, 2009; Hanak, 2012; Melillo, 2014; McGuire, 2013; Brzoska, 2015; Holloway et al., 2015; Gunn, 2017; Goldstein and Greenberg, 2018). The U.S. military assets threatened by climate change threats will become increasingly vulnerable to changes in seasonal, decadal, and centennial environmental conditions. Climate change will not be experienced uniformly across the nation or globe; some areas will face more significant levels and frequency of climate change threats. Therefore, a locality specific examination for each military branch and climate change impact is necessary. Effective responses will require the development of adaptive planning strategies based on the individual climate change threat and the specific location of the military installation, infrastructure, and or property (Barron 2012; Beately, 2009; Hanak, 2012; McGuire 2013; Brzoska, 2015; Holloway et al., 2015; Gunn, 2017; Goldstein and Greenberg, 2018). This dissertation includes three case studies, focusing on three branches of the military. The first two branches fall under the Department of Defense – the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps – and the third branch falls under the Department of Homeland Security – the United States Coast Guard. This dissertation postulates that the U.S. Military is undergoing a revolution prompted by external forces rather than technological advancements. The findings showed that climate change is impacting the U.S. Military in immense ways, from needing to retrofit existing infrastructure to completely rebuilding after a hurricane. The findings also revealed that the U.S. Military is planning and/or trying to plan and prepare for the adverse effect of climate change impacts.Additionally, findings indicated that the U.S. Military climate change action plans would not entirely be resilient if the surrounding communities do not also enhance their climate resiliency. As such, this dissertation highlights how military installations are built into the very fabric of communities across the nation. It is critical for all U.S. Military installations, domestically and aboard, to craft climate action plans to enhance their military installations' resilience and their surrounding communities to manage the impending risks that climate threats pose effectively. The U.S. Military will be significantly hindered if continued site-specific, enterprise-wide, climate change planning and preparedness actions are not actualized. This research's significant contribution to the existing literature is as follows: first, adding to the existing body of knowledge through case study evaluation and SWOT analysis; Secondly, this study provides locality specific climate change policy and planning recommendations; and Lastly, how micro-level practices impact broader macro-level forced transformation.
Pages/Duration:196 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/73373
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Political Science


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