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Schatz Legislation To Protect Military Bases From Extreme Weather Set To Become Law

WASHINGTON – The Requiring Every American Defense Installation to Nullify Environmental Stresses for Security (READINESS) Act, legislation authored by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) is set to become law. The Schatz provision, which was included in the must-pass annual defense authorization bill, will protect military bases from extreme weather events by requiring them to prepare for potential disasters and other risks posed by severe changes in environmental conditions.

“Our military cannot afford to ignore extreme weather as it becomes more frequent and severe,” said Senator Schatz, lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. “Our new law will make sure we build stronger and more resilient military bases so that our armed forces can continue to protect American interests at home and around the world.”

The new law will require that all Department of Defense bases have military installation resilience plans that:

  • Include the current risks and threats to military resilience resulting from extreme weather events, change in sea level, flooding, and wildfires—and describe the impact on critical infrastructure inside and outside the military base that are necessary to its mission;
  • Include the future risks and threats to military resilience during the 50-year lifespan of the base resulting from extreme weather events and other environmental conditions;
  • Describe the projects necessary to mitigate the identified risks to the military base—including the costs and types of agreements with community stakeholders necessary to execute the military installation resilience plan; and
  • Use projections from recognized governmental and scientific entities, such as the National Academies of Sciences, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Global Change Research Office, to inform future risk assessments.

Persistent flooding, drought, and wildfires pose the most significant threats to base operations and resilience for each of the military services. In the last year, multi-billion dollar storms destroyed Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, displacing the F-22 Joint Strike Fighter mission there, and devastated large parts of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, from where the Marine Corps’ II Marine Expeditionary Force deploys. In the spring, Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, home of the U.S. Strategic Command, was severely damaged by the major flooding that affected the Midwest.