Pentagon goes two directions on climate change impact

Pentagon goes two directions on climate change impact

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testifies during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the Fiscal Year 2020 funding request and budget justification for the Department of the Air Force in Washington, D.C., Mar. 13, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Adrian Cadiz)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is caught between political crosswinds as it attempts to navigate the issue of climate change and its impact on readiness and military basis.

The two pulls were illustrated Wednesday. The Air Force asked Congress for additional funds to fix bases damaged by flood waters and hurricanes while the full Pentagon continued to slow-walk a request by Congress regarding what installations are most threatened by those very same destructive elements.

“The (Pentagon’s) methodology remains opaque,” Rep. James Langevin (R-R.I.) said a statement. “The revised report continues to leave off overseas bases, and it fails to include massive military installations like Camp Lejeune. Most importantly, it continues to lack any assessment of the funds Congress will need to appropriate to mitigate the ever-increasing risks to our service member.”

Langevin compared the Pentagon to what “a student rushing to finish a term paper” would submit, in remarks first reported by The Hill.

The report, which was to refine a more general one sent to Congress in January, arrived on Capitol Hill in advance of Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson saying the Air Force needs almost $5 billion over the next three years to rebuild bases in Florida and Nebraska severely damaged by hurricanes and floods in the past six months.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, Wilson said if the Air Force does not receive $1.2 billion of those funds by June for repairs at Tyndall Air Force Base and Offutt Air Force Base, projects at bases in 18 states would be sliced and 18,000 pilot training hours canceled.

Neither of those bases made the list of facilities most threatened by climate change.

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