Crew members of the 211th Aviation Regiment conduct air support over the Neffs Canyon fire from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in Salt Lake City, Utah, 20 September 2020. The Blackhawk can drop 600 gallons of water over a wildfire each drop. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Spc. Jacob Jesperson)
Crew members of the 211th Aviation Regiment conduct air support over the Neffs Canyon fire from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in Salt Lake City, Utah, 20 September 2020. The Blackhawk can drop 600 gallons of water over a wildfire each drop. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Spc. Jacob Jesperson) (Photo Credit: Spc. Jacob Jesperson) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON — Leaders from across the U.S. Army and defense industry will discuss critical threats to Army readiness poised by climate change and extreme weather threats during a Contemporary Military Forum at this year’s Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The discussion will not only include how these threats impact the Army’s strategic readiness and sustainability, but also what the Army will do to adapt to and mitigate climate threats.

Experts have said that climate change is reshaping theaters of operation, destabilizing fragile states, increasing natural disasters, interrupting supply chains, and damaging infrastructure. Adapting to, and mitigating climate change, is imperative as the Army transforms.

“Addressing climate threats is not new to the Army, but there is a strong emphasis on the issue both operationally and environmentally,” said J. E. “Jack” Surash, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. “This emphasis is driving current strategic planning efforts.”

Pvt. Drew Olson, an infantryman assigned to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, rehearses Stryker dismount techniques with his company during exercise Arctic Edge 2018 near Fort Greely, Alaska.
Pvt. Drew Olson, an infantryman assigned to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, rehearses Stryker dismount techniques with his company during exercise Arctic Edge 2018 near Fort Greely, Alaska. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Capt. Richard Packer) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Army aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase its sustainability activities to align with the nation’s commitments to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Army will improve its capabilities to accomplish the mission by focusing on reducing energy consumption, clean energy production, and energy-efficient technologies and methodologies to help reduce emissions and dependence on traditional fuel sources.

But, centering the climate discussion on the environment and installations is not enough. At the CMF, Army leaders will discuss how the Army must adapt across the entire enterprise to maintain its strategic advantage and implement mitigation strategies driven by the Administration, Congress, DOD and industry. Key drivers, for example, include Executive Order 14008, Interim National Security Strategic Guidance, and Army Directive 2020-08.

The CMF will include remarks Mr. Surash, Lt. Gen. Laura Potter, Deputy Chief of Staff G-2 (Intelligence), Hon. John Conger, Director Emeritus at the Center for Climate and Security, Darcy Immerman, Senior Vice President, Resiliency, AECOM; and Michelle Klassen-Merrigan, President, MK Advisors.

The panel will address climate change threats and risks to the force, Army installations, and regional infrastructure from an intelligence perspective, how clean energy production and energy efficient technologies and methodologies help reduce greenhouse emissions, and how resilient sustainment activities can increase operational output while mitigating climate impacts.

The CMF will be held Wednesday, October 13 in Room 147 of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The panel discussion also will feature a question-and-answer period with the audience.