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A new study from the Army War College found that the “Army is precipitously close to mission failure concerning hydration of the force in a contested arid environment” and needs to “reinvest aggressively in technologies both in-house and commercial off the shelf in the next 5-10 years to keep pace with rising global temperatures, especially those arid areas in or poised for conflict.” The study posits that climate change increases hydration requirements and thus the Army will need to supply itself with more water, a problem the authors expect “will be exacerbated on a future battlefield that requires constant movement due to the ubiquity of adversarial sensors and their deep strike capabilities.”
Because very few units in the field have the ability to generate their own water, they have to truck it in, and that creates a costly logistics problem. For example, the Army Times explains that at one forward operating base in Iraq, more than 864,000 bottles of water were needed each month, and during hotter months that number doubled, according to the study. This increasing need for bottled water is consistent with the NBC/Inside Climate News report which found that heat-related injuries increased by 60% over 10 years. In 2008, 1,766 cases of heatstroke or heat exhaustion were diagnosed among active-duty service members, according to military data but by 2018, that number was 2,792.
Study Also Highlights Other Climate Challenges for the Military
The study states “the Department of Defense is precariously underprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.” It notes that as droughts increase in parts of the Middle East and North Africa during the winter months, some areas could become completely uninhabitable, making those areas vulnerable to exploitation by other military powers. Indeed, one defense strategy expert told Army Times, “[t]he risks related to climate change are often thought of as sort of a separate risk matrix from the great power competition, but climate change is certainly playing a role in that.”
The U.S. Air Force has finally learned enough information to begin cleaning up a jet fuel leak from Albuquerque’s drinking water supply. The Kirtland Air Force Base plans to write and submit a report to the New Mexico Environmental Department before the agency can approve and make recommendations for cleanup. This comes as a relief […]
by Jessica Grannis We’re in the dog days of summer now, and lots of folks are headed to the beach to make up for lost time since the pandemic began. My favorite part of traveling to the coast from DC is watching my surroundings slowly turn from urban areas to the forests of the coastal […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The West is currently in the middle of a severe drought, and Lake Powell, the region’s second-largest reservoir, is at its lowest level in decades. The lake, located on the Colorado River, is effectively a human-made storage basin that keeps the regional water supply in balance under the 100-year-old […]
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