Army climate action to take center stage at annual convention of senior leaders, partners

By Will Rogers, ASA (IE&E)October 4, 2022

A collage of imagery used on the cover of the Army Climate Strategy.
A collage of imagery used on the cover of the Army Climate Strategy. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON — The Army Climate Strategy and its Implementation Plan will feature prominently at the 2022 Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the United States Army in Washington, D.C., Oct. 10-12.

Experts have been warning for decades about the national security threats posed by climate change. Jessica Tuchman Matthews, scholar and longtime President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, wrote in the spring 1989 edition of Foreign Affairs magazine that “[m]an is still utterly dependent on the natural world but now has for the first time the ability to alter it, rapidly and on a global scale.” Since 2007, Congress — on a bipartisan basis — has directed the Department of Defense to assess how disruptions in our natural world could harm our warfighting mission. These disruptions include storms, droughts, and heatwaves that are more frequent and more intense.

In February 2022, the Army became the first U.S. military service to release a climate strategy. The Army Climate Strategy provides a roadmap for strengthening the Army’s ability to fight and win the nation’s wars in the face of the climate crisis while improving force sustainability. In signing the Army Climate Strategy, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth wrote, “Climate change threatens America’s security and is altering the geostrategic landscape as we know it. For today’s Soldiers operating in extreme temperature environments, fighting wildfires, and supporting hurricane recovery, climate change isn’t a distant future, it is a reality.” That is why Secretary Wormuth made climate resilience one of her top six objectives.

Army climate initiatives involve the entire force and rely on strategic partnerships with local communities, international allies, and private industry. These efforts and relationships will be front and center during the AUSA annual meeting. On Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m., Army senior leaders and industry representatives will participate in a contemporary military forum called “Partners in Army Climate Resilience” to discuss challenges and opportunities in responding to climate change.

Ms. Rachel Jacobson, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment, will discuss how the Army is strengthening the resilience of our installations against energy and climate vulnerabilities. The cornerstones of the Army Climate Strategy include critical mission energy assurance, carbon-free power generation, battery storage, microgrids, and protecting installations against climate hazards using conservation practices and nature-based engineering.

Mr. Doug Bush, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, will outline how the Army is working to deliver more combat capability to Soldiers through increased energy supportability and reduced energy demand in key weapon systems. This includes using electrification kits for existing tactical vehicles and prototyping new, purpose-built, hybrid electric tactical vehicles with greater fuel efficiency, reduced acoustic and thermal signatures, and silent overwatch capability. Such innovations enhance lethality while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Maj. Gen. Kimberly Colloton, Deputy Commanding General for Military and International Operations of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will address the challenges USACE faces as it responds to extreme weather-related disasters. One such disaster is the flooding that occurred earlier this year along the Pearl River. This flooding contributed to the failure of a water treatment plant in Jackson, Mississippi, and left more than 100,000 people without access to potable water. Maj. Gen. Colloton will also talk about the integral role USACE plays in helping the Army execute its climate initiatives, from deploying resilient, carbon-free energy solutions to adapting facilities to the effects of climate change.

GM Defense and Southern Power will represent industry at the forum. GM Defense will describe its company’s advanced technologies and commercial investments in the field of energy resilience and alternative power. Southern Power will explain the benefits of industry partnerships in tackling climate change.

The Army will continue to build a stronger land force for 2030 to ensure it can fight and win the nation’s wars regardless of what the climate future holds. Climate change is already threatening the readiness and safety of installations and placing Soldiers at risk, from persistent wildfires to severe heat. As Secretary Wormuth wrote when introducing the Army Climate Strategy, “The time to address climate change is now.”

Contemporary Military Forum 5: Partners in Army Climate Resilience will take place at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition on Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and will be livestreamed on DVIDS.