Local Governments and Military Installation Resilience

In recent years, the DoD has placed a growing emphasis on resilience to natural hazards that threaten military installations and mission-essential functions. The DoD recognizes the threat climate hazards pose to our national security and the need for enhanced resilience considerations for military installations. This has led to significant studies and efforts across the military services to better understand the risks they face and what can be done to address them. While many efforts have focused on enhancing climate, water and energy resilience, installations also must ensure protection from cybersecurity threats, threats from population/growth, or aging/inadequate infrastructure challenges, etc.

Recognizing that Maryland is the fourth most vulnerable state to the effects of sea-level rise associated with climate change, military installations face unique vulnerabilities and risks. These include increased storm intensity that can have far-reaching impacts on military operations, mission assurance, the Mid-Atlantic coast, and Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The Maryland Department of Environment's Climate Change Program recognizes a wide array of issues these impacts may present:

  • More frequent disruptions to urban and coastal infrastructure.
  • Human health issues, including those affected by impacts on food and water supply, air quality, and extreme weather.
  • A higher probability of negative outcomes for disadvantaged communities and individuals.

Many efforts to identify and address the threat climate hazards pose to installation resilience are internal Military Service initiatives. These may have limited public involvement and disclosure due to security concerns. However, with a general understanding of installation concerns, local governments can play a significant role in promoting military installation resilience and sustainability. This is best accomplished by guiding compatible development around military installations and operation areas, and addressing shared vulnerabilities and risks related to climate factors that may affect shared infrastructure and services that are critical to both the community and continued military operations and mission assurance.

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