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Climate Security: Florida

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Florida plays an important role in U.S. national security. It is home to the headquarters of three Combatant Commands: U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, and U.S. Southern Command. It houses over 20 bases, representing every branch of the U.S. military. It provides key access to irreplaceable training grounds for U.S. pilots in more than 180,000 square miles of Department of Defense (DoD) controlled airspace over the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. However, climate change poses clear risks to these security assets.

Soldiers assist Florida residents after flooding from Hurricane Sally. USAF photo.

Threats Facing Florida Military Installations

Scientists and the Pentagon agree: climate change–rising sea levels, recurrent flooding, hurricanes, extreme storms, increasing temperatures, and drought–already threatens Florida’s military installations, and the risks are expected to worsen over the coming decades. Florida’s bases must adapt infrastructure and prepare personnel to maintain force readiness and protect national security

Our military is already dealing with climate change:

  • Eglin and MacDill Air Force Bases (AFBs) have experienced persistent coastal erosion resulting from higher storm surges. and recurrent flooding, which threatens roadways and other key infrastructure. These AFBs have partnered with local restaurants to fortify the coast with discarded oyster shells, which dampen wave energy and will help reduce erosion.
  • Patrick Space Force Base has imposed strict building code updates to protect mission-critical infrastructure and prevent flooding-induced facility closures. Floor elevations have increased for all new construction based on updated flood plain and storm surge data.

Damaged structures along Florida’s coastline. DoD photo.

The Future

The climate threats to Florida’s national security infrastructure are expected to worsen. Without action to improve Florida’s military base resilience, our national security will be degraded and we will continue to pay for inaction. Our report on the climate threats to Florida’s military installations highlights steps Congress and the Department of Defense can take to improve resilience and our national security.


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