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Citing the national security perils associated with floods, storms, melting ice and destabilizing heat, the Army’s recently published Climate Change Strategy outlines an ambitious and vigorous series of adjustments to combat the problem.
Army Climate Change Strategy
The call for action includes movement toward tactical and non-tactical electric vehicles, new sources of renewable energy, energy storage initiatives, fuel-use reductions, extreme weather mitigation strategies and a specific push to safeguard and better enable US bases and installations.
For example, the Army’s strategy calls for the installation of a micro-grid on every installation by 2035 and plans to achieve “on-site carbon pollution-free power generation for Army critical missions on all installations by 2040.”
Other benchmarks cited in the strategy include the pursuit of achieving a 50-percent reduction in GHG (Greenhouse Gasses) from all Army buildings by 2032. Building upon this, the Army’s strategy seeks to help the service achieve “net zero GHG emissions from Army installations by 2045.
“Resilience of our installations has always been an important priority to our Army … installations enable us to project power abroad,” Paul Farnan, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army, Installations, Energy & Environment, told reporters.
Should the service succeed in installing a “microgrid” into every installation, many of the strategies stated goals will seem much more achievable. There are certainly many potential ways Army innovators could seek to increase energy efficiency on bases and streamline the storage and distribution of power throughout a large facility area.
Perhaps generators and installation-based power storage systems can improve performance while drastically lowering the needed amount of electrical power storage and output to achieve optimal functionality.
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One thing now being done on Navy ships, for example, is using software and consolidated energy storage and distribution systems to enable multiple nodes on a ship to be powered from a single power source of stored energy.
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The Northrop Grumman system, called Integrated Power and Energy System (IPES), is now being developed for Navy ships such as the now-in-development DDG X new destroyer. It would seem to make technological sense that this kind of hardware-footprint reducing centralized energy storage system might have relevant and impactful applications to land installations as well.
Environmental, climate change and land configuration variables will also be addressed more thoroughly as part of the strategy when it comes to constructing and deploying forward-positioned bases and installations.
The strategy intends for the Army to “Include climate change threat mitigation into Army land management decisions…and. Incorporate the latest climate and environmental science into stationing, construction, and fielding decisions.”
There is also the question of needing to account for and sustain the physical security and functionality of land bases potentially confronted with drastic weather conditions and the kinds of disastrous circumstances they can lead to.
“The Army will face simultaneous readiness challenges as units contend with limited access at flooded bases, alongside increased water scarcity and land degradation in other areas,” the strategy says.
What if unexpected rainfall or storming creates dangerous flooding on a high-value forward operating base or installation? Seems the strategy calls for base planners and builders to account for these nuances and variables to the maximum extent while deciding where and how to build new temporary or long-term facilities.
Perhaps base construction will happen on higher ground or be built with additional reinforcements and structures to mitigate the risk of flood damage?
Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.