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September 23, 2016

September 23, 2016 | News Releases on

Obama's Misguided National Security Climate Directive

This week, the Obama administration issued a policy memo directing the Defense Department and others to “ensure that climate change-related impacts are fully considered in the development of national security doctrine, policies, and plans.” Heritage Foundation defense policy expert Dakota Wood criticized the directive as “misguided.”

“The President's emphasis on climate change as an immediate threat to the security of the United States is certainly not matched by his concern for the capabilities of our military and intelligence community that are being called to address it.” Wood said. “Our forces are hard-pressed to deal with the current and very real challenges posed by Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and transnational terrorism groups like ISIS yet they are under-funded for even these problems as evidenced by the historically low size of our military and its abysmal state of readiness.”

“We are at war with groups that attack our fellow Americans and threaten to destabilize critical regions of the world," he added. "Our military leaders—from the Commander-in-Chief on down—should focus on dealing with these current and very real fights. If the President truly believes global warming will multiply the number of crises our military should prepare for, he should also be making the case for commensurate funding, something he has not done and appears to have no interest in doing."  

Prior to joining Heritage as a senior research fellow for defense programs, Wood served more than 20 years in the Marine Corps. While in the service, he help plan and execute military operations around the world.

Last summer, after the administration released its report on “The National Security Implications of a Changing Climate,” Wood argued that “the White House designation of climate change as a national security threat violates every common sense principle related to national security. It confuses the entire notion of national security and wastefully misdirects limited national security and defense resources…”

More of Wood’s latest research is available below:

About the Author

Justin Posey Communications Manager, Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity and Legal Studies
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