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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.”
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer Over 70% of the drinking water in Orange County, California comes from groundwater. But historic manufacturing nearby has polluted it due to the improper discarding of toxic chemicals. The LA Times reports that there are three major cleanup projects involving groundwater beneath 22 Californian cities, including Anaheim, Santa Ana, […]
On Saturday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Manatee County, Florida as a wastewater reservoir at the Piney Point facility was on the verge of collapsing and causing a catastrophic situation. As the New York Times reported, the reservoir holds nearly 400 million gallons of wastewater from a former phosphate mine […]
The Supreme Court handed the state of Georgia an overwhelming victory yesterday in a long-brewing water feud with the state of Florida. In the end, it boiled (bad pun) down to Florida’s inability to show its “injury” could be remedied if it received more water.
Why This Matters: Florida was its own worst enemy in the case.
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