For the United States military, greener bases and facilities enhance mission effectiveness even as they lessen their impact on the environment.
The U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force are using measures in new building projects that align with the National Initiative to Advance Building Codes, launched June 1 by President Biden.
That initiative is aimed at helping communities become resilient to extreme weather. For the military, resilience means being ready to go even during hurricanes, flooding and wildfires.
The Air Force is evaluating each of its base’s vulnerabilities to natural disasters and climate change and addressing them with strengthened construction that not only decreases vulnerability but is also sustainable and uses clean energy.
The Air Force has conducted exercises to identify vulnerabilities in bases’ infrastructure, evaluating their impact on the bases’ energy and water supplies. Readiness in the event of natural disaster depends on minimal disruption to power and water.
In June, the U.S. Navy undertook its first climate-change-focused exercise, simulating a typhoon near a western Pacific island in the late 2030s.
The simulation — conducted by Navy officials, enlisted sailors, think tank experts, nongovernmental organizations, and industry and legislative aides — helped the Navy understand how climate change can affect how the military operates and plans.
In February, the U.S. Army released its first Climate Strategy, focusing on three areas:
- Committing to 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity to meet the needs of Army installations by 2030.
- Investing in green equipment, such as hybrid-drive tactical vehicles, by 2035.
- Training soldiers for operations amid the increasing impacts of the climate crisis.
The Army’s plan calls for installing a self-sufficient energy system on every installation by 2035, as well as self-power generation at each Army post.
“The Army will mitigate and adapt to climate change, and in doing so gain a strategic advantage, especially as we continue to outpace our near-peer competitors,” said Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth.