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Speeches & Testimony


Speeches & Testimony

Congressman Case Criticizes Deletion of Climate Change Resiliency Funding from Defense Department in FY25 Appropriations

Mr. Chairman

I rise toady in support for the Ranking Member's Amendment. 

It is deeply frustrating to see in this critically important bill, one that must lay the foundation to enable the Department of Defense to compete with our pacing challenges, namely Russia and China, be out shadowed by partisan provisions injecting divisive issues into the bill. This partisanship detracts from our ability to continue a mainstream, bipartisan approach to a core function of government – ensuring our national security. 

My other colleagues have spoken about various issues taking us in this unfortunate direction. I will focus on the text that is undermining our military's long-running efforts to deal with climate change's effects on our national security.  

While we argue over the words – climate change – and argue over what has caused climate change around the world, we continue to ignore the impacts that climate change has on our nation, our partners and allies and our national security posture.

It should come as a shock to no one that climate change is not a theoretical concept in the Indo-Pacific. It's real, and it's an issue we are grappling with every day.

For those who say, why should we care about an islands that are submerging into the ocean? I would point to them the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. Territorial claims over the submerged reef have been, and continue to be, a major flashpoint between the Peoples Republic of China and the Philippines.

As nations literally begin to disappear into the ocean, we must know that competition for the waters, resources and economic rights that all nations claim, will continue to strain our nation's objective to provide a free and open Indo-Pacific.

In the DoD’s own Climate Risk Analysis, it highlights “In the Indo-Pacific, sea-level rise and more extreme weather events complicate the security environment, place key DoD warfighting infrastructure and surrounding communities at risk, and challenge local capacity to respond.”

The DoD’s analysis also highlights the significant investment that the DoD has made in the Indo-Pacific to include Guam, the Marshall Islands and Palau, which are now vulnerable to these hazards.

Palau is being leveraged as a key location for the DoD. To enable the Air Force’s Agile Combat Employment concept, airfields in these small island nations are critical. Hundreds of millions of dollars in investments are being made to refurbish and upgrade these locations, failure to address growing climate concerns will put these sites and the DoD’s plans at risk.

The Reagan Test site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is the test site our nation uses to collect data for long-range missile tests and missile defense. Its radars also provide the critical ability to track allied and adversary satellites in-orbit over the Indo-Pacific.

Failure to address climate change will put this one-of-a-kind site at risk and degrade our nation's ability to deter and respond to crisis and conflict, should it arise. Unfortunately, this bill strikes $16.3 million from the President's budget request for "climate change initiatives" at Kwajalein Atoll. (Committee Report Page 177, Line 168).

On Tuesday the Wall Street Journal published an article titled "The U.S. Military's Race to Save a Crucial Missile Test Site From the Sea." It illustrates in-depth reporting on the threat that rising sea levels are having on the Marshall Islands, to include the Kwajalein Atoll, a strategically important location to our Army and Missile Defense Agency.

Climate change is not theoretical. It is happening now and impacting our military readiness. We must address the impacts climate change, failure to do so will only weaken our military posture and create additional burdens and costs in future years.

The DoD is actively trying to build a more resilient posture and preparing to respond to climate disruptions. “… DOD is actively pursuing the concept of climate resilience, which refers to the ability to anticipate, prepare for, and adapt to changing climate conditions — while at the same time responding to, and rapidly recovering from, climate disruptions.” 

Climate change impacts all our districts. Although Hawai‘i may be greater impacted by climate change, it impacts installations across the globe.

Per Congressional Research Service: “The DOD maintains more than 5,000 military installations worldwide. Of these, more than 1,700 are in coastal areas and have been or may be affected by sea-level rise or extreme weather events. In 2018, Hurricane Michael caused an estimated $4.7 billion in damage to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base (with more than 12 F-22 fighter aircraft sustaining damage), while Hurricane Florence caused around $3.6 billion in damages to North Carolina’s Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. In 2021, winter storms damaged 694 facilities across four military installations in Texas (Fort Hood), Oklahoma (Fort Sill), Kansas (Fort Riley), and Louisiana (Fort Polk).”

Typhoon Mawar has caused billions in infrastructure damage to Guam, a problem that the DoD is still assessing and recovering from.

Confronting climate change does not come at the expense of our national defense; it is part of it. We must recognize that the world is facing ongoing and accelerating climate change. We must be prepared to respond, fight and win in this constantly changing world.

Despite all of this, the bill before us deducts $621 million from the Defense Department's climate change-related initiatives. This is misguided.

For these and the other reasons highlighted by my colleagues today, I urge my colleagues to support the Ranking Member's amendment to restore funding for climate change initiatives to address the real threat climate change is causing to our national security. 

I yield back.