The formidable US Army, with its massive buying power, arrived on the climate action battlefield this week, armed with its Army Climate Strategy (ACS) and ready for rapid execution. The ACS acknowledges that climate change has destabilized the world, and that the army must move swiftly to stay out in front of our adversaries who are intent on jockeying for an advantage in a climate-altered world.
“The Army will lead by example. We will tap into the creativity, capabilities, and commitment of Army professionals operating on every continent. We will use our buying power to drive change in industry and leverage best practices from many sources. We will engage with local communities and foreign partners to ensure mutual readiness and security in a rapidly changing environment,” wrote Christine E. Wormuth, Secretary of the Army, in a foreword to the United States Army Climate Strategy (ACS).
Current climate impacts will continue to disrupt the US Army’s readiness, as it combats existing climate change crises that threaten America’s security. The Army’s objective is to build on the momentum it has already established to achieve Army-wide unity with the implementation of the ACS across its 130 Army installations worldwide. The US Army’s long history of excelling at the convergence of modernization and readiness to create a superior armed forces, is woven into the ACS which has outlined three Lines of Effort (LOE):
LOE 1: Installations. Strategic Outcome: enhance resilience and sustainability by adapting infrastructure and natural environments to climate change risks, securing access to training and testing lands into the future, and mitigating GHG emissions.
LOE 2: Acquisitions & Logistics. Strategic Outcome: increase operational capability while reducing sustainment demand and strengthening climate resilience.
LOE 3: Training. Strategic Outcome: prepare a force that is ready to operate in a climate-altered world.
A complete list of intermediate objectives for each of the three LOEs is outlined in the ACS. The following are the top highlights with the corresponding year for deliverables.
LOE 1, Installations:
- Install a microgrid on every installation by 2035
- Achieve on-site carbon pollution-free power generation for Army critical missions on all installations by 2040
- Provide 100% carbon-pollution-free electricity for Army installations’ needs by 2030
- Achieve 50% reduction in GHG emissions from all Army buildings by 2032, from a 2005 baseline
- Field an all-electric light-duty non-tactical vehicle fleet by 2027
- Field an all-electric non-tactical vehicle fleet by 2035
An all-electric fleet of light-duty non-tactical vehicles within 5 years is an example of the kind of urgency climate scientists have been warning is needed to stay below 1.5ºC. The volume of these Army light-duty non-tactical EVs will help drive down EV prices for American consumers as we too transition to electric vehicles within the same 5 years. A massive solar panel investment for microgrid installations is an advantageous accelerator that will drive down the cost of solar for consumers. These hard commitments, with dates and quantities, will drive change.
LOE 2, Acquisitions & Logistics:
- Analyze all Army supply chain Tier 1 sources and contracts for climate change risks and vulnerabilities by 2025
- Develop plans, policies, and contracts to ensure Army supply chain resilience by 2028
- Significantly reduce operational energy and water use by 2035
- Field purpose-built hybrid-drive tactical vehicles by 2035 and fully electric tactical vehicles by 2050
The army acknowledges that in order to have the future competitive advantage, it must strengthen its operational capabilities as quickly as possible. The LOE 2 list has 12 objectives, most of which have deliverable dates of 2050, which is too far away to accurately evaluate how each will impact consumer prices, if at all. American corporations should follow the Army’s supply chain resiliency strategies in order to navigate around the existing supply chain challenges in consumer markets. The ACS stresses that “the Army sees great promise for sustainment demand reduction through advanced technology, future contingency basing, clean procurement, and resilient supply chains.”
LOE 3, Training:
- Beginning in 2024, publish climate change lessons and best practices every two years
- Update Army programs of instruction for leader development and workforce training to incorporate climate change topics no later than 2028
- Ensure that all Army operational and strategic exercises and simulations consider climate change risks and threats by 2028
- Develop ways to reduce direct GHG emissions resulting from Army individual and collective training by 2028
The ACS emphasizes that it must simultaneously prepare “a force that is ready to operate in a climate-altered world” while “maintaining the ability to win in combat.” It will have to overhaul training practices to cut its CO2 emissions. Additionally, the Army is evaluating what and how it conducts all of its training. Not only the training of its people and units, but also of its headquarters.
It would be very advantageous for US corporations and cities to review the Army’s Climate Strategy. The organizational structure, LOEs and objectives, as well as the Army’s determined speed, would benefit all. Sharing a climate strategy template can be a starting point for others and can be modified to align with key corporate or government objectives. Ultimately, everyone should be doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. If each and every business, corporation, and city in the US was implementing their climate strategies/climate action plans simultaneously, we’d create country-wide unity and many of the obstacles slowing us down would disappear.
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