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WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, released an overarching roadmap on May 21 that will guide Navy policy, strategy and investment plans related to a changing global climate.

Entitled the
U.S. Navy Climate Change Roadmap, this guidance was developed by the Navy's Task Force Climate Change, a matrixed organization that includes representatives from various naval staff and program offices and the operational fleet, with the close collaboration of the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"We must ensure our Navy is fully mission-capable and ready to meet national requirements in the future. That responsibility includes anticipating the impact of changing climatic conditions on mission requirements, force structure and infrastructure," explained Rear Adm. Dave Titley, director of Task Force Climate Change and Oceanographer of the Navy.

The Climate Change Roadmap is intended to be a companion document to the Navy Arctic Roadmap, released in November 2009. While the Arctic Roadmap serves to promote maritime security and naval readiness in a changing Arctic, the new Climate Change Roadmap examines the broader issues of global climate change impacts on Navy missions and capabilities.

"We issued the Arctic Roadmap first because that is where the most significant evidence of climate change is occurring," Titley remarked, "but the Arctic is not a vacuum. The changes that are occurring there, from both an environmental and political standpoint, reflect changes that will occur in the rest of the world."

The roadmap lays out a chronological approach divided into three phases.

Phase 1, focusing on near-term goals, includes defining the requirements for improved operational and climatic prediction capabilities through cooperative efforts within the U.S. government and scientific and academic communities.

Phase 1 also calls for inclusion of climate change impacts on national security in Naval War College coursework and in strategic "table top" exercises.

Phase 2, which is targeted for fiscal years 2011 and 2012, identifies as a priority the development of recommendations for Navy investments to meet climate change challenges. These challenges include protecting coastal installations vulnerable to rising sea levels and water resource challenges and being prepared to respond to regions of the world destabilized by changing climatic conditions.

Phase 2 also calls for the formalization of the cooperative relationships defined in Phase 1, and targets incorporation of climate change considerations in strategic guidance documents and fleet training and planning.

Phase 3, looking out through fiscal year 2014, addresses the execution of investment decisions and the initiation of intergovernmental, multilateral and bilateral activities with various partners to better assess and predict climate change, and respond to the military impacts of climate change.

"Climate change will affect the type, scope, and location of future Navy missions, so it's essential that naval force structure and infrastructure are delivered at the right time and at the right cost," Titley explained. "That will depend upon a rigorous assessment of future requirements and capabilities, and an understanding of the timing, severity, and impact of the changing climate, based on the best available science," he added.

The Roadmap, which incorporates guidance from national maritime and defense strategies, will be updated to reflect future guidance after the next Quadrennial Defense Review.

By Bob Freeman, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy
Source