Rep. Jason Crow Holds Roundtable Discussion on Impact of Climate Change on National Security; Highlights Need for Improvement to Operational Energy
On Thursday, Rep. Jason Crow (CO-06) held his second Sustainable Power Initiative roundtable. The policy roundtable included officials from the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, experts from Center for Climate and Security, New America Foundation, retired military leaders, as well as Representatives Max Rose (NY-11) and Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02). During the roundtable discussion which took place in the Congressional Visitor Center, participants discussed the energy and resiliency challenges facing our military, due in part to the rise in extreme weather around the world. The next roundtable is scheduled to take place in Colorado in early 2020.
Crow led a discussion on the importance of decreasing U.S. military reliance on fossil fuels to improve operational agility. The conversation extended to investments in research to identify promising alternative energy technologies. Buckley Air Force Base in Crow’s own district is an example of energy vulnerability. The base, which is home to the Air Force’s 460th Space Wing and the 120th Squadron of the Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Wing, gets its power from sources off-base leaving it vulnerable to attack.
Crow, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, saw first-hand how the military’s energy dependency risked the lives of servicemembers. In Iraq and Afghanistan, 52% of casualties occurred during land transport missions, predominantly associated with fuel and water resupply. The effects of climate change on our military readiness are also felt at America’s military bases. Following Hurricane Michael, Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida is estimated to need $3 billion in repairs while Camp Lejeune in North Carolina requires $3.6 billion in repairs after Hurricane Florence.
A former Army Ranger who served three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and member of the House Armed Services, Crow has made energy efficiency and military resiliency at the Department of Defense a top priority. In June, Crow introduced the Military Installation Resilience Assuredness (MIRA) Act, which would establish a baseline for understanding the threat of extreme weather to military installations by requiring them to include assessments of weather vulnerabilities and mitigation efforts.
As part of H.R. 9, Crow introduced an amendment to the Climate Action Now Act which reaffirms the Department of Defense’s goal to secure renewable energy across military installations and operations, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and support military readiness efforts in the face of climate change. A member of the Readiness and Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities subcommittees, Crow has focused on the impact of climate change on national security.