Beyond the Eye of the Storm

Climate change is on the verge of altering political, economic, and social systems in ways that could have far-reaching effects on U.S. security interests. There is growing awareness within the U.S. government that climate change could pose a serious national security threat. However, although the need to prepare for the physical effects of climate change on military operations and basing is well understood, how climate change might affect other aspects of international security has not been thoroughly studied.

This paper makes the case that there is still an enormous amount to be learned about how climate change may affect U.S. national security. To help close this gap, the authors highlight specific areas that researchers should study further and illustrate how the impacts of climate change in these areas may affect both the Department of Defense as a whole and the Department of the Air Force specifically. 

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This work was conducted within the Resource Management Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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