WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy's senior oceanographer said climate change is a national security challenge with numerous strategic implications for the Navy during a Climate Change Roadmap roundtable May 27 at the Pentagon.
Rear Adm. David W. Titley, oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, said climate change is affecting, and will continue to affect, U.S. military installations and access to natural resources worldwide, affecting the type, scope, and location of future Navy missions.
"Think of [climate change] like you're a patient and your going to your doctor," he said. "Our average body temperature is 98.6 degrees [Fahrenheit] if you go up three degrees Celsius that means you have a temperature of 104 degrees. That's a whole lot different then 98. Since we know climate change is not only coming but it's here, we as the United States Navy need to figure out what were going to do."
The Navy Climate Change Roadmap outlines the Navy's approach to observing, predicting, and adapting to climate change by providing a chronological list of Navy associated action items, objectives and desired effects over the next few years. The Navy's climate change mitigation efforts, while not represented in the Climate Change Roadmap document, are addressed in the Navy's Energy Strategy, a planning mechanism developed by Task Force Energy (TFE).
"We need to take a look at our operations in training, our strategy, our policy, our plans and ultimately do we have the right infrastructure and are we investing in the right capabilities," he said. "At the end of the day, throughout the 21st century no matter what the climate is our Navy is ready and able to answer the call of the secretary of defense and the president of the United States."
This Climate Change Roadmap supplements the Navy Arctic Roadmap, a document produced in 2009, and focusing on areas including strategy, policy, and plans, operations and training, investments in capability and infrastructure, strategic communications and outreach and environmental assessment and prediction.
Titley also said the Navy is fully mission-capable through changing climatic conditions while actively contributing to national requirements while addressing climate change. He added that naval force structure and infrastructure are capable of meeting combatant commander requirements in all probable climatic conditions over the next 30 years.
"This is one of the long-term, strategic strategies of the 21st century," Titley said. "President Obama's science advisor and I talked about how we are going to avoid the unmanageable but manage the unavoidable."
Titley added that Navy elements understand the timing, severity, and impact of current and projected changes in the global environment, and that the Navy is recognized as a valuable joint, interagency and international partner in responding to climate change.
In 2009, Titley assumed duties as oceanographer and navigator of the Navy.
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