Base infrastructure is especially vulnerable to climate events. Congress must ensure present and future infrastructure is secure by mandating specific requirements for military construction.
- Bases are required to consider resiliency for new military construction projects, but the Congressional Research Service notes this is a vague term open to interpretation. Services should mandate what military installation resilience means tied either to local codes or to a Federal standard for flooding, fire, wind, permafrost, and energy efficiency. NAVFAC has already created a handbook for design.
- The military is now required to evaluate resiliency as part of the Master Installation Plan for a base, but services are doing so as part of the 5-year review cycle. This is too slow, resiliency should become a part of Master Installation Plans within a year and be tied to the same concrete standards suggested above.
- Overall, DOD has pledged to assess the effects of climate change since the climate assessment in 2014, but there is no consensus yet regarding how much it will cost to make installations resilient. The 2022 assessment mandated by the FY21 NDAA requires topline estimates in 5, 10, and 20 year increments. DOD’s recent history regarding mandatory climate reports is sub-par. The February report must address this in sufficient detail for future expenditure planning.
- Bases should identify key infrastructure and estimate the cost to retrofit it to be resilient to climate change in preparation for prioritizing construction.
- $100 million was appropriated within the FY22 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Funding Bill by the Appropriations Committee. $25 million to each major service and $25 million additionally across the DOD. DOD must provide a detailed accounting for how this funding addresses climate resiliency.
Bases are not resilient unless the surrounding community is resilient – but local and state governments may face excessive costs fixing infrastructure that bases depend on.
- There are several programs directed towards climate resiliency in communities which support bases. Congress should not allocate funds for varying purposes within the same program. The $50 million DCIP program was expanded in FY21 to include climate resilient infrastructure, but this dilutes funding for military family support projects originally included in the program, especially due to the potential cost of some infrastructure projects.
Fund Community Projects
- A similar program, the Military Infrastructure Sustainability program, is designed to fund assessments which can be utilized by local and state governments. The cost for implementation, which can be excessive, then falls on the local governments to improve shared infrastructure. MIS should be expanded to provide a measure of federal funding to those projects which directly benefit both the installation and community.
Critical base infrastructure must remain powered at all times despite cyber threats, climate change, or off-base power outages.
- The FY21 NDAA mandated that bases provide 99.9% of their own energy for mission critical functions on bases. Congress must receive a report listing those bases who have failed to do so and the percent which they can provide.
- For those bases which have provided internal power through fossil fuel, bases must provide information to congress regarding how long they are able to provide their own power without resupply and the means of doing so after that time.