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Climate change


In the context of military operations, climate change refers to the long-term shifts and alterations in the Earth’s climate patterns, including rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and an increase in extreme weather events. These changes pose significant strategic challenges for armed forces worldwide, as they can potentially undermine global security, exacerbate existing conflicts, and create new ones due to resource scarcity and population displacement. Military forces must adapt their operations, infrastructure, and strategic planning to account for the impacts of climate change on international security and humanitarian environments.

Key Takeaways

  1. Climate change is increasingly recognized as a major factor influencing the security environment, with the potential to destabilize regions and create new challenges for military operations.
  2. Military forces must adapt to more frequent and severe weather events, changing temperatures, and rising sea levels, which can impact infrastructure, logistics, and force readiness.
  3. Climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies have become a priority for militaries around the world to ensure their long-term effectiveness and support global efforts in combating the negative effects of climate change.


The military operations term “climate change” is important because it significantly impacts the security and stability of nations and regions across the globe, posing challenges to military strategies and operations.

Climate change can exacerbate existing social, political, and economic vulnerabilities by causing extreme weather events, resource scarcity, food and water insecurity, population displacement, and loss of infrastructure.

These factors can contribute to instability and conflict, affecting military deployments, humanitarian efforts, and global security.

As a result, militaries must factor in climate change as they plan, train, and execute operations, adapting to the evolving threats and operational environments to effectively protect national interests and maintain stability.


Climate change, as a term within military operations, refers to the understanding and analysis of how gradual shifts in global weather patterns and environmental conditions can affect the strategies, objectives, and overall capabilities of military forces. The purpose of climate change analysis in this context is to gauge the potential impacts on military preparedness, adaptability, and infrastructure.

By carefully evaluating these factors, military decision-makers can better predict possible threats and challenges posed by environmental shifts, and subsequently develop more effective long-term plans and proactive strategies to safeguard national security and ensure mission success. In military operations, climate change encompasses various aspects such as supply chain management, infrastructure resilience, and troop mobility.

It enables the dedication of resources and efforts to minimize the vulnerabilities exposed by changing environmental conditions, such as sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and resource scarcities. For instance, military bases located in low-lying coastal areas may be at risk of flooding, calling for improved infrastructure and evacuation planning.

Similarly, climate-induced migration or resource competition can exacerbate conflicts or instability in certain regions, requiring military forces to prepare for humanitarian assistance or peacekeeping missions. By incorporating climate change considerations into their operational planning and strategy development, military organizations can ensure they remain agile, adaptable, and ready to face future challenges posed by a rapidly changing world.

Examples of Climate change

Operation Marañón in Peru (2010): Climate change has led to significant glacier melt in the Andes mountain range, affecting water availability and putting stress on local populations. In Operation Marañón, the Peruvian military played a role in providing humanitarian aid and expertise to those affected by the scarcity of water and the resulting social tensions. The military supported local communities with medical services, transportation, and basic goods distribution and helped stabilize the region during the crisis.

U.S. Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) in response to Hurricanes (2005, 2017): Climate change has contributed to more frequent and severe weather events such as hurricanes. The U.S. Department of Defense has been increasingly involved in disaster relief efforts, most notably in the response to Hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Harvey (2017). Military assets, including personnel, platforms, and equipment, provided search and rescue, medical care, infrastructure repair, and other critical support to affected communities.

Bangladesh Armed Forces’ role in disaster relief operations (2007, 2009): Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change due to its low elevation and high population density. The Bangladesh Armed Forces have been involved in various disaster relief operations, including responses to Cyclone Sidr in 2007 and Cyclone Aila in

To address the challenges caused by climate change, the military provided search and rescue services, emergency medical assistance, and long-term recovery support for rehabilitation and reconstruction.

FAQ: Climate Change and Military Operations

1. How does climate change affect military operations?

Climate change affects military operations by exacerbating security challenges, such as mass migrations, natural disasters, and the increased competition for diminishing resources. It can also worsen existing regional conflicts, heighten global instability, and create new areas of tension.

2. What are some ways that the military is working to combat climate change?

Militaries worldwide are implementing measures to combat climate change, such as reducing energy consumption, investing in renewable energy sources and technology, developing energy-efficient infrastructure, and training personnel to operate in various environments affected by climate change.

3. Can climate change lead to an increase in humanitarian missions for military forces?

Yes, climate change can lead to more humanitarian missions for military forces. Natural disasters resulting from climate change, such as floods, storms, wildfires, and droughts, often require military assistance in search-and-rescue operations, humanitarian relief, and reconstruction efforts.

4. How is the military adapting to new threats posed by climate change?

The military is adapting to new threats posed by climate change by conducting assessments of climate-related risks, incorporating climate change considerations into planning and decision-making processes, and developing adaptive capabilities to effectively operate in changing environments.

5. What role can military collaboration play in addressing the impacts of climate change?

Military collaboration can play a significant role in addressing the impacts of climate change by fostering cooperation between nations, providing resources and expertise, and promoting collaborative research to develop adaptive strategies and technology. By working together, military organizations can enhance their ability to mitigate and respond to the challenges posed by a changing climate.

Related Military Operation Terms

  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Renewable Energy Resources
  • Carbon Footprint
  • Sea Level Rise
  • Deforestation

Sources for More Information