Man pointing while standing near water generating panel with group of people in military uniforms (U.S. Air Force/David Ford)
Air Force Civil Engineer Reza Salavani describes a water generation system to a group of visiting leaders April 20 at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The system is a self-contained atmospheric water generator, capable of producing up to 6 liters of water per panel daily. (U.S. Air Force/David Ford)

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.

2 men looking at map on table (U.S. Air Force/Don Arias)
Brigadier General Mark Slominski, right, director of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s Facility Engineering Directorate, and Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Hoisington look over the construction plan model for Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida in 2021. (U.S. Air Force/Don Arias)

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.

Flood waters covering a road and buildings (U.S. Air Force/Technical Sergeant Rachelle Blake)
An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base and the surrounding areas in Nebraska that were affected by flood waters March 16, 2019. Extreme weather caused by the climate crisis is affecting more and more U.S. military bases. (U.S. Air Force/Technical Sergeant Rachelle Blake)

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.