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These Are the US Military Bases Most Threatened by Climate Change

A view of Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base on Oct. 11, 2018, one day after Hurricane Michael made landfall.
  • BY BEN WATSONNEWS EDITOR Defense One

After a five-month delay, U.S. lawmakers can finally see which military bases are most threatened by climate change — information that arrived just ahead of a Congressional finding that the Defense Department has little idea how to prepare for these threats.

Each service evaluated its infrastructure’s vulnerability to increased flooding, drought, and wildfires; thawing permafrost; rising rivers and coasts; and other effects of climate change. The four services flagged a total of 46 bases as particularly threatened.

Their lists were supposed to have been sent to lawmakers six months ago as part of a congressionally mandated report, but defense officials did not gather the information in time. So they submitted their January report with a list of 79 bases unprioritized in any fashion, essentially dumping a dataset into lawmakers’ laps. The report began, “The effects of a changing climate are a national security issue with potential impacts to Department of Defense missions, operational plans, and installations” — and left unanswered questions about where those effects could be expected.

This week, the answers — from the ArmyAir Force, and Navy and Marine Corps — were finally delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Which states have the most bases at risk? California and Florida both have eight; Virginia has six; South Carolina and Hawaii each have three; Arizona, North Carolina, D.C., and Guam all have two; and Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Washington, Maryland, Louisiana and Japan all have just one at-risk base.

The U.S. military bases most at risk from climate change, according to
service officials:
U.S. Army (ranked in decreasing vulnerability, stateside only):
Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.
Fort Irwin, Calif.
Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Fort Bliss, Texas
White Sands Missile Range, N.M.
Camp Roberts, Calif.
Hawthorne Army Depot, Nev.
Tooele Army Depot, Utah
Military Ocean Terminal Concord, Calif.
Pueblo Chemical Depot, Colo.

Air Force (ranked in decreasing vulnerability):
Vandenberg AFB, Calif.
Eglin AFB, Fla.
Hurlburt Field, Fla.
Patrick AFB, Fla.J
oint Base Charleston, S.C.
Dover, Dela.Homestead AFB, Fla.
Macdill AFB, Fla.
Tyndall AFB, Fla.
Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

Navy (unranked)
Naval Air Station Key West, Fla.
Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga.
Naval Base Guam, Guam
Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii
Wahiawa Annex, Hawaii
Naval Magazine Indian Island, Washington
Naval Base Coronado, Calif.
Naval Base San Diego, Calif.
Joint Base Anacostia Bolling, D.C.
Washington Navy Yard, D.C.
Andersen Air Force Base, Guam
Naval Support Facility Indian Head, Md.
Naval Air Station Oceana, Va.
Naval Air Station Norfolk, Va.
Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Va.
Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads – Northwest Annex, Va./N.C.

Marine Corps (unranked)
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Okinawa, Japan
Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Hawaii
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
Marine Corps Support Facility Blount Island, Fla.
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C.
Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
Marine Corps Reserve Forces, New Orleans, La.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif.

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