The American Security Project, in coordination with the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, hosted events in Charlotte, North Carolina outlining the threats of climate change to national security both in North Carolina and across the country. ASP CEO, Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret) provided insight into his personal experience and why the military cares about climate change. Prior to the visit, General Cheney wrote an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer about Carolina and climate change. The article is available here.
General Cheney spoke at a number of private and public events, highlighting his concern about the threats of climate change. He presented to local business, legislative, and community leaders privately prior to a luncheon with the World Affairs Council of Charlotte. Attendees for the public presentation included both high school students and leading professionals from the Charlotte area. General Cheney began the discussion by explaining how climate change impacts both strategic and tactical security concerns. The strategic security concerns relate to how climate change impacts global instability, opening opportunities for terrorist recruitment and increased humanitarian disasters, both of which the U.S. military responds to. The tactical security threats relate to the bases and stations. General Cheney pointed to his experience as the Commanding General of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, South Carolina. While he was there he had to evacuate 10,000 recruits to avoid Hurricane Floyd. Today, the base is experiencing more and more black flag days, days when it is too hot to safely train troops. He also cited bases in North Carolina that are facing impacts. Fort Bragg is suffering similar increases in heat and wildfires. Camp Lejeune is seeing sea level rise impact the operations of the base. Such impacts threaten the readiness of our troops and our overall national security. The presentation was followed by a lively question and answer segment with the audience.
In addition to the public and private events, General Cheney also spoke on “Charlotte Talks” on WFAE with Mike Collins. Old high school classmates, the two covered a broad range of topics related to climate change, the military, and North Carolina. You can listen to the recording here.