The American Security Project participated in a series of events in Wilmington and Jacksonville North Carolina on the national security and global security risks of climate change.
ASP began programming with a local company impacted by Hurricane Florence. Contact Us Communications, a customer support company in Jacksonville North Carolina, had to evacuate its employees and went above and beyond to provide lodging and continuation of employment during the storm at their headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. ASP CEO Brigadier General Stephen Cheney met with both the CEO, Trevor Friesen, and Contact Us employees to discuss the impact of the hurricane on the business and their lives. General Cheney spoke with the employees about the threat of future hurricanes and how the employees perceived the threat of climate change.
ASP then visited Marine Corps Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina to view the hurricane damage first hand. Blue tarps still cover many of the buildings and other buildings were clearly unsalvageable. Recently, the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller testified that the hurricane caused about $3.6 billion of damage to just Camp Lejeune. It was a clear depiction of the devastation even a Category 1 Hurricane can have on our military infrastructure.
The following morning General Cheney spoke with multiple media outlets on the deck of the now-retired battleship USS North Carolina. General Cheney outlined the security threat of climate change and the direct impact on Camp Lejeune and North Carolina. Media coverage is below.
After media interviews, General Cheney gave a key note presentation in the Ward Room of the USS North Carolina. He was joined by Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo, Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Larry D. Hall, and the Battleship’s Executive Director and Retired Captain Terry Bragg. General Cheney opened his remarks by outlining the importance of discussing climate change in a nonpartisan way. General Cheney then went around the globe describing how climate change added to instability in Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Syria to name a few. He closed by addressing threats to the homeland, citing the devastating impact of Hurricane Florence on Camp Lejeune and the entire state of North Carolina.
To close out the programming, ASP joined a SouthWings tour of the Cape Fear River basin, observing the impact of the hurricane on coastal erosion, water quality, and the local economy. The trip was a great example of how ASP aims to both educate the public and learn themselves about the local impacts of climate change.
Jacksonville Daily News. “Retired General: Climate change is ‘accelerant to instability’” by Adam Wagner
WECT. “The global threat of climate change and its effect on our local military” by Gabrielle Williams
Coastal Review Online. “Retired General Frames Climate Change Risks” by Trista Talton
WWAY 3. “USS Battleship North Carolina Continues to Battle Mother Nature” by Monique Robinson