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15 June 22. DOD Preparing for Climate Change Impacts, Official Says.
Climate change has serious implications for national security, said the Defense Department’s chief sustainability officer and senior advisor for climate.
Joe Bryan joined a panel discussion yesterday on “U.S. Climate Security Investments: Changing Plans into Actions” at a virtual Center for Climate and Security event.
“Climate change is dramatically increasing the demand for military operations and, at the same time, impacting our readiness and our ability to meet those demands while imposing unsustainable costs on the department,” he said.
Among the global effects of climate change are a warmer climate; changing precipitation patterns; and, more frequent, intense and unpredictable extreme weather.
Besides climate impacts on the physical environment, climate change is altering technology and markets as the world adjusts to the reality and a rapidly advancing energy transition, he said.
Climate change also affects the militaries of allies and partners, as well as competitors and adversaries. The nations that are most resilient and best able to manage the effects of climate change will secure an advantage, Bryan said.
For the U.S. military to maintain its advantage, it will need to continue investing in items that mitigate the effects of climate change, he said.
As such, the department’s portion of President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget request makes significant new investments that will make installations and operations more resilient to climate change and increase operational capability, he said.
“Our climate investments are not only aligned with mission objectives, increasing resiliency and enhancing combat capability, but those investments are absolutely necessary for future mission success,” he said.
Bryan provided an overview of DOD’s portion of the budget request related to climate change initiatives:
- $2bn investment for installation resiliency and adaptation, including $550m for the Energy Resilience and Conservation Improvement Program.
- $20m in contingency preparedness that includes incorporating climate risk scenarios in war games and exercises, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and defense support to civil authorities’ activities.
- Nearly $250m in operational energy and buying power to improve the efficiency of operational platforms while increasing their capability and mitigating logistics risk.
- More than $800m in science and technology investments that includes hybrid tactical vehicles, to enhance capability like extended range and persistence and provide silent watch. It also includes investments in new technologies like blended wing body aircraft, which have the potential to increase range and payload while improving efficiency.
“These investments … put us in a position to make real progress against our climate and mission objectives,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
15 June 22. Congressional Action Can Help DOD Weather Microelectronics Supply Crunch. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill can help the Defense Department make it through supply shortages for microchips and microelectronics both now and into the future, said Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks.
“The most important thing that can be done right now is that the Congress can pass the American Innovation Act, the CHIPS Act, to get us on-shored here in the United States — microchip processing capability, manufacturing and processing capability,” said Hicks, who spoke Monday at the Defense One Tech Summit.
While the DOD and other federal agencies would certainly benefit from such a move by Congress, Hicks said the U.S. economy itself would also benefit greatly.
“That move will, more than anything, help the overall economy of the United States where we’re relying on chips in many, many, many different kinds of devices,” she said. “What we need and what that American Innovation Act … would help us get is a national security approach, an enclave approach that helps us go after the kinds of higher-end capabilities that we need with a secure, assured supply chain.”
Already, Hicks said, the department has made bns in investments in both microchip processing and microelectronics, for both research and manufacturing.
“There’s no doubt that any kind of microelectronics crunch that we feel across the economy will also be felt in DOD,” Hicks said. “It’s an imperative that we have on-shored capability, allied-shored capability as well, to secure the supply chain we need inside our defense department.”
Similar to how challenges in getting microelectronics pose a risk now to the Defense Department, Hicks said, the department also recognizes the risk of its dependence on petroleum products for operations. The recent rise in fuel costs, she said, just underlines the emphasis the department is already putting on finding new ways to power the warfighter.
Hicks said the Defense Department must be a “fast follower,” in the transition to alternate fuel sources for things like automobiles because industry is already moving quickly in that direction.
“The U.S. commercial automobile industry is already there on electric vehicles,” she said. “If the Defense Department did nothing, we would not be able to sustain our vehicle fleet in the future because commercial industry, which includes parts, maintenance, all of that, would have moved on.”
The U.S. commercial sector, Hicks said, already understands the effects of fuel and the dependency on fuel and is leading the way in finding alternatives. The Defense Department, Hicks said, has its own reasons to shift away from dependency on fossil fuels, including the complex logistics tail associated with getting fuel where it’s needed.
“I think we are motivated at a more strategic level to make sure that we can free that tether on fossil fuel, to the extent that we can,” Hicks said. “It’s not an overnight issue but I think there’s a lot we can do to move this system and when we do that, we’re going to help ourselves with that combat credibility, particularly in places like the Pacific where the logistics lines are very long.” (Source: US DoD)
11 June 22. United States-Japan-Republic of Korea Trilateral Ministerial Meeting (TMM) Joint Press Statement. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Republic of Korea (ROK) Minister of National Defense Lee Jong-Sup, and Japanese Minister of Defense Kishi Nobuo convened a Trilateral Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on June 11. During the meeting, the three ministers discussed the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), enhancing trilateral security cooperation, and addressing common security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Ministers pledged that the United States, Japan, and the ROK will cooperate closely toward their shared commitment to achieve the complete denuclearization of, and the establishment of permanent peace on, the Korean Peninsula. Additionally, they affirmed the importance of full implementation of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs) by the international community. They underscored the importance of sustained international cooperation to deter, disrupt, and ultimately eliminate the DPRK’s illicit ship-to-ship transfers. They recognized the international community’s shared goal of the DPRK’s full compliance with its international obligations in accordance with all relevant UNSCRs. They also shared their deep concerns about the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs, which pose a grave threat to international peace and stability, and committed to address these concerns through concerted trilateral cooperation.
They further committed to conduct trilateral missile warning and ballistic missile search and tracking exercises, and to identify further trilateral actions in order to address DPRK ballistic missile launches. They strongly condemned the DPRK’s repeated unlawful ballistic missile launches and confirmed that any launches of ballistic missiles by the DPRK are a clear violation of multiple UNSCRs. In addition, they shared the recognition that defense-related confidence building among countries in the region is important and committed to strengthening cooperation to institutionalize such efforts.
The Ministers discussed other regional security issues and concurred in the importance of deepening trilateral cooperation on key issues to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region, including information sharing, high-level policy consultations, and combined exercises. They expressed strong opposition to any unilateral actions that seek to alter the status quo and increase tensions in the region. They emphasized the importance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. They shared concerns on activities that are inconsistent with the international rules-based order and stressed the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight. They also reaffirmed that all disputes should be resolved in a peaceful manner in accordance with the principles of international law.
The United States reaffirmed its steadfast alliance commitments to Japan and the ROK backed by the full range of U.S. capabilities, including nuclear. Japan and the ROK highlighted the importance of their bilateral ties and trilateral cooperation to protect and advance their shared security goals. The Ministers committed to work closely together for peace and stability in the region and around the world. (Source: US DoD)
10 June 22. Austin Emphasizes Partnership as Path for Peace in Indo-Pacific. The U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific is at the heart of American national security strategies, and the power of the partnerships that regional nations have built with the United States forms the core for a peaceful and prosperous world for all, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said today in prepared remarks during a major speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
American strategists no longer talk about the “U.S. pivot to Asia.” That has happened. On the military side, Austin noted that the Indo-Pacific is DOD’s “priority theater” with more than 300,000 American service members in the region working with allies and partners to ensure the rules-based international order is maintained.
Time and again in the speech, Austin emphasized partnerships. He has noted that U.S. partnerships with Indo-Pacific nations have grown and matured. “We’ve moved together toward our shared vision for the region,” he said. “The journey that we’ve made together in the past year only underscores a basic truth: In today’s interwoven world, we’re stronger when we find ways to come together.”
The United States works with treaty allies Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the Philippines. America also works closely with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue group alongside India, Japan and Australia.
“We know that most countries across the Indo-Pacific share a common vision, and our people share common dreams,” Austin said.
Underpinning this is the belief in a free and open order based on the rule of law. “That means a shared belief in transparency,” Austin said. “It means a dedication to openness and accountability. It means a commitment to freedom of the seas, skies, and space. And it means an insistence that disputes be resolved peacefully.”
The idea is a region free from bullying and of countries seeking spheres of influence. Ultimately, the idea is a region that respects human rights and dignity “and a world in which all countries — large and small — are free to thrive and to lawfully pursue their interests, free from coercion and intimidation,” the secretary said.
The Indo-Pacific is at the heart of this interconnected world and events halfway around the world resonate throughout the region. Austin specifically pointed to the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia as one of those events. The secretary said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “reckless war of choice has reminded us all of the dangers of undercutting an international order rooted in rules and respect.”
Let’s use this moment to come together in common purpose. Let’s use this moment to strengthen the rules-based international order. And let’s use this moment to think about the future that we all want.”
The reverberations of the war in Ukraine carry to the Indo-Pacific. “The Ukraine crisis poses some urgent questions for us all: Do rules matter? Does sovereignty matter? Does the system that we have built together matter?” he said. “I am here because I believe that it does. And I am here because the rules-based international order matters just as much in the Indo-Pacific as it does in Europe.”
Others in the region share that sentiment, and Pacific nations like Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have rushed security assistance to Ukraine. “It’s why countries across this region have sped humanitarian aid to the suffering Ukrainian people, including vital contributions from Singapore, Thailand, India and Vietnam,” he said.
“So let’s be clear: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is what happens when oppressors trample the rules that protect us all,” the secretary continued. “It’s what happens when big powers decide that their imperial appetites matter more than the rights of their peaceful neighbors. And it’s a preview of a possible world of chaos and turmoil that none of us would want to live in.”
Russia’s war is a graphic demonstration of what happens when a nation tramples on the rules-based order, Austin said. “Let’s use this moment to come together in common purpose. Let’s use this moment to strengthen the rules-based international order,” he said. “And let’s use this moment to think about the future that we all want.”
The Indo-Pacific comprises more than 50 percent of the globe. Defending the area requires investment, and the United States is doing just that. Austin noted the fiscal year 2023 budget request makes one of the largest investments in history to preserve this region’s security.
This includes $6.1bn for the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to strengthen multilateral information-sharing and support training and experimentation with partners. The budget also looks to encourage innovation across all domains, including space and cyberspace.
“We’re working hard to develop new capabilities that will allow us to deter aggression even more surely, including stealth aircraft, unmanned platforms and long-range precision fires,” the secretary said. “And we’re on the cusp of delivering prototypes for high-energy lasers that can counter missiles. And we’re developing integrated sensors that operate at the intersection of cyber, electronic warfare and radar communications. All this helps us do even more to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends.”
These new capabilities combined with U.S. presence and partnerships mean integrated deterrence for the region. This benefits treaty allies and partners. In this, Austin specifically mentioned India. “We believe that growing military capability and technological prowess can be a stabilizing force in the region,” he said.
Expanding the network is important, and the U.S. is working to bring its partnership with Singapore, Indonesia and Vietnam to the next level. “In the past year, my belief in the strategic power of partnerships has only deepened,” he said. “And that’s at the heart of the President’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. Our work together helps ensure that all countries in the region — large and small — have a say in its future. It helps ensure that the status quo can’t be disrupted in ways that harm all of our security. And it helps strengthen our ability to find common solutions to common challenges.”
We’ll defend our interests without flinching. But we’ll also work toward our vision for this region: one of expanding security, not one of growing division.”
And this is truly a dialogue with allies and partners, he said. “First, we’re working with our partners and allies to ensure that they have the right capabilities to defend their interests, to deter aggression, and to thrive on their own terms,” he said. “Now, as we invest in innovation in America, we’re committed to bringing our allies and partners along with us.” There is an unprecedented move to link the defense industrial bases on the nations and quickly get promising capabilities developed.
Expanding exercises and training is also important. The exercises in the area have become more complex and include more countries. These range from maritime exercises to long-established exercises like Cobra Gold in Thailand and Balikatan in the Philippines.
“We’re also finding new ways for our friends to operate together—and looking for new constellations of partners, including good friends from Europe and beyond,” he said.
“Later this month, we will host the 28th iteration,” he said. “Forces from 26 countries — with 38 ships and nearly 25,000 personnel — will gather along U.S. shores for the world’s largest naval exercise.”
These moves are aimed at developing new tactics to combat new threats. “That includes tackling the gray-zone actions that chip away at international laws and norms,” he said. “We’re bringing to bear the full resources of the U.S. government to do so. And that includes unprecedented Coast Guard investments in the Indo-Pacific.”
“Next year, our Coast Guard will also deploy a cutter to Southeast Asia and Oceania,” he continued. “That will open up new opportunities for multinational crewing, training and cooperation across the region, and it will be the first major U.S. Coast Guard cutter permanently stationed in the region.”
Partnership in the region needs flexibility to work, he said. “More and more, we’re working in new, flexible and custom-made ways with our friends, and our partners are doing the same thing with one another — even as we strengthen our commitment to ASEAN’s centrality and its leading place in the regional architecture,” he said.
That has the rise of nimble, flexible security networks that add stability to the region. An example of this is the new Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness, which President Biden announced in Tokyo last month. “This important initiative aims to provide better access to space-based, maritime domain awareness to countries across the region — including here in Southeast Asia,” Austin said. “This new partnership will harness together regional information centers. That’ll help us build a common operating picture and work together to tackle illegal fishing and other gray-zone activities.”
But diplomacy is the first choice, he said. “We remain open to future diplomacy — and fully prepared to deter and defeat future aggression,” the secretary said. “We’ll also continue to stand by our friends as they uphold their rights. That’s especially important as the adopts a more coercive and aggressive approach to its territorial claims.”
He noted that China is pushing limits in the East China Sea and South China Sea. “Further to the west, we’re seeing Beijing continue to harden its position along the border that it shares with India,” Austin said. “Indo-Pacific countries shouldn’t face political intimidation, economic coercion or harassment by maritime militias.”
DOD will maintain its active presence across the Indo-Pacific. “We will continue to support the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal ruling, and we will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows,” he said. “And we’ll do so right alongside our partners. And we’ll continue to be candid about the challenges that we all face.”
He said the U.S. policy is unchanged and unwavering and has been consistent across administrations. “We’re determined to uphold the status quo that has served this region so well for so long,” he said. “So let me be clear: We remain firmly committed to our longstanding one-China policy — guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances. We categorically oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo from either side. We do not support Taiwan independence. And we stand firmly behind the principle that cross-strait differences must be resolved by peaceful means.”
The U.S. will continue to fulfill commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act, including assisting Taiwan in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability. “And it means maintaining our own capacity to resist any use of force or other forms of coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people of Taiwan,” he said.
China needs to act accordingly. “We’re seeing growing coercion from Beijing,” he said. “We’ve witnessed a steady increase in provocative and destabilizing military activity near Taiwan. We remain focused on maintaining peace, stability, and the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. But the moves threaten to undermine security, and stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific. That’s crucial for this region, and it’s crucial for the wider world. Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait isn’t just a U.S. interest. It’s a matter of international concern.”
The United States does not want conflict or confrontation, he said. The U.S. does not want a new Cold War or a region split into hostile blocs. “We’ll defend our interests without flinching,” Austin said. “But we’ll also work toward our vision for this region: one of expanding security, not one of growing division. I continue to believe that big powers carry big responsibilities. And so, we’ll do our part to manage these tensions responsibly — to prevent conflict, and to pursue peace and prosperity.” (Source: US DoD)
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