Gen. Stephen Cheney in security discussion at climate roundtable In Washington

Washingon D.C., 24 April 2018

GMACCC member and CEO of the American Security Project, Brig. General Stephen Cheney (USMC-Ret.), shared his expertise as a panelist in a recent presentation and discussion session on the “Role of the military in responding to climate threats to stability.”  This was part of a special meeting of The Hague Roundtable on Climate & Security that was held on 24 April in Washington D.C. 

Gen. Cheney (right in photo) was joined on the panel by the Hon. John Conger and Sherri Goodman, both of the Center for Climate and Security.  The Lake Chad area, Syria and Bangladesh were some of the hot spots discussed that are facing destabilizing climate impacts including drought, sea level rise and natural disasters. The role of the U.S. Department of Defense in particular was examined in lowering the risk of conflict related to these issues, as climate change is a threat-multiplier and the combat commanders are becoming more concerned. For example, even if military commanders do not like the politics of climate change, they still must protect their bases and forces, as well as enacting their theater-engagement planning in such a way as to reduce those risks in the future. 

Other climate-related topics included changes in the Gulf Stream that can affect weather and strategic operations, loss of polar ice that can lead to new naval operations, and questions surrounding the possible use of and governance of geoengineering. It was pointed out in the session that only a decade ago climate and security were rarely mentioned in the same sentence, but now many have connected water, climate change, natural resources and more to the field of security. It’s therefore of increasing importance to connect the research community with the practitioner community, also with the private sector to work on common problems. 

Download the report for the 7th Hague Roundtable in Washington 

This first international meeting of The Hague Roundtable was co-hosted by the George Washington University Elliott School and the Embassy of the Netherlands to the United States. Other presentation/discussion topics included: 

  • UN Security Council and climate, with focus on March 2018 Dutch UNSC presidency 

  • Implementing key points of the Planetary Security Initiative’s Hague Declaration on Planetary Security 

  • Dutch & European Water expertise for climate resilience 

  • Innovation in water and environmental initiatives 

  • Screening and discussion of the documentary film “Tidewater”  with Rear Admiral Ann Phillips (USN-Ret.) 

For more information on this Washington meeting and related topics, see the article on the website of the Center for Climate & Security. 

Download the program here 

The Hague Roundtable initiative aims to increase international cooperation in addressing climate impacts on issues including water scarcity, natural disaster/flood events, migration, and regional stability. For more information, contact Matt Luna, of IHE Delft and the Inst. for Environmental Security, Roundtable creator & organizer: