How WSMR is aligned with the Army in the battle against climate change


(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, N.M. (April 25, 2022) As the world becomes keenly aware of climate change and its effects on weather patterns, crops, power grids, and water availability, the Army is leading the Department of Defense as the first military branch to have an official position on this topic by publishing the Army Climate Strategy. This strategy outlines the leading causes of climate change, along with how the Army is adapting to, mitigating, and building resiliency against these changing conditions. “We face all kinds of threats in our line of work, but few of them truly deserve to be called existential. The climate crisis does. Climate change is making the world more unsafe and we need to act,” explained Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of Defense.

The Army is staying ahead of its adversaries seeking positional advantages in this climate-altered world through a unified strategy consisting of three Lines of Effort (LOE). These include enhancing the resiliency and sustainability of installations, increasing operational capacities of acquisition and logistics, and training the force to operate in climate-altered environments.

The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, Army Research Lab known as DEVCOM ARL, is focusing on foundational research of the atmospheric process on site at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico. According to DEVCON ARL Chief of the Atmospheric Science Center Dr. Robb Randall, these LOEs will be implemented through the Army’s  modernization efforts, and the Army research, development, test, and evaluation enterprise to drive knowledge-based solutions that can be applied in the real world.

“It’s not just about climate and the environment, but also the socioeconomic ramifications of how it is addressed. It is the impact on our equipment, weapons systems and operations,” said Randall.

For example, carbon-pollution mitigation is a focal point for the Army, as carbon emissions have been identified as a leading cause of climate change. Deployable power grids are in development as an increasingly important solution for this mitigation to be used by Soldiers.. These grids will help operational bases balance energy between renewable resources, gas, and electricity management depending on time of day and energy consumption patterns. Soldiers will be able to adjust the synergy of this grid in conjunction with weather forecasting to determine the most efficient usage of each energy source at any given moment.

New Mexico has become one of the most ideal places to study the impact of atmospheric processes on energy consumption as the state has snow, snow melt, drought, heavy rain, and erosion. Foundational research into these extreme weather cycles informs DEVCOM ARL on droughts and how they impact energy consumption, food, water and human vulnerability. Studying these weather cycles in the Land of Enchantment [New Mexico] helps scientists anticipate where disruptive patterns can happen; developing a predictive ability which will become increasingly important for the DOD to drive actions to enhance readiness, resiliency and capabilities of the force.

The conclusion of the Army Climate Strategy addresses how climate change has created unique challenges for the Army at all levels, and how now is the time to elevate readiness and resilience for the next 30 years, in all domains. By studying the effects of climate change and driving a unified effort to combat the security risks that a climate-altered world poses, WSMR will remain ready to support the Army in its primary mission: to deploy, fight, and win the nation’s wars by providing ready, prompt, and sustained land dominance as part of the Joint Force.

To read the full U.S. Army Climate Strategy visit: 2022_army_climate_strategy.pdf