Sea Level Reports Predict Some Military Bases Will Be Underwater By 2050

news
Sailors man the rails as the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) departs Naval Station Norfolk.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Adam Austin

The latest scientific conclusion echoes others: It’s likely that sea level rise will eventually swallow huge swaths of Hampton Roads’ military installations, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists in a report scheduled for release today.


But if congressional Republicans have their way, the military will be blocked from doing anything about it.

Tacked on to defense spending bills passed by the House of Representatives: amendments forbidding the Pentagon from using federal dollars to study climate change or plan for its impacts.

Supporters say they want the military focused on enemies such as the Islamic State group, not rising seas.

Critics say flooding is a formidable foe as well.

Related: 5 Ways Climate Change Will Impact The US Military »

“It’s kind of hard to attack the enemy when your base is underwater,” said Rep. Bobby Scott, a Southeast Virginia Democrat who voted against the ban.

Exactly how far underwater depends on a range of factors, says the report, which paints scenarios similar to those predicted in studies conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and others.

For the US Military on the Front Lines of Rising Seas, the Union of Concerned Scientists looked at 18 East and Gulf coast bases, concluding that the high tide line will creep inland in the decades ahead, stealing training and testing grounds, infrastructure and housing. Storms will intensify the troubles.

“By 2050, most of these sites will see more than 10 times the number of floods they experience today,” said Kristy Dahl, a co-author of the report. “In 2070, all but a few are projected to see flooding once or twice every day.”

Subsidence – a sinking-land phenomenon occurring in Hampton Roads – will speed things up around at least two local bases: The Dam Neck Annex to Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach and Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton could lose up to 95 percent of their land this century.

Norfolk Naval Station will flood roughly 280 times a year by 2050 instead of the current 10, if sea level rise reaches the midrange of predictions.

Right now, “a good thunderstorm can leave them not operating on all cylinders,” said Ray Toll, a retired Navy captain who works with a sea level rise initiative at Old Dominion University.

Toll says the Navy has been a vital partner in regional efforts to confront rising seas. “We have a challenge here, and the base is right in the middle of it,” he said. “They have been very proactive.”

But climate change is politically divisive in Washington, linked to executive orders for energy, conservation and climate resilience goals across the federal government.

To comply, the Defense Department created its own climate change adaption plan. Dam Neck built a one-mile rock-core dune to protect the main part of the installation from storm surge. Langley Air Force Base built a shoreline seawall and door dams, and installed a pump system.

Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck sponsored one of the amendments that would put a halt to such preparations.

“When we distract our military with a radical climate change agenda, we detract from their main purpose of defending America from enemies like ISIS,” Buck said in a statement on his website.

Scott hopes the amendments will die in the Senate.

———

© 2016 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The FBI is treating the recent shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, as a terrorist attack, several media outlets reported on Sunday.

"We work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," USA Today quoted FBI Agent Rachel Rojas as saying at a news conference.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON/SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un risks losing "everything" if he resumes hostility and his country must denuclearize, after the North said it had carried out a "successful test of great significance."

"Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore," Trump said on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in Singapore in 2018.

"He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November," he said.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Vaughan Dill/Released)

The three sailors whose lives were cut short by a gunman at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, on Friday "showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil," said base commander Navy Capt. Tim Kinsella.

Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters were killed in the shooting, the Navy has announced.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon has a credibility problem that is the result of the White House's scorched earth policy against any criticism. As a result, all statements from senior leaders are suspect.

We're beyond the point of defense officials being unable to say for certain whether a dog is a good boy or girl. Now we're at the point where the Pentagon has spent three days trying to knock down a Wall Street Journal story about possible deployments to the Middle East, and they've failed to persuade either the press or Congress.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the United States was considering deploying up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to thwart any potential Iranian attacks. The story made clear that President Trump could ultimately decide to send a smaller number of service members, but defense officials have become fixated on the number 14,000 as if it were the only option on the table.

Read More Show Less

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Gen. David Berger, the US Marine Corps commandant, suggested the concerns surrounding a service members' use of questionable Chinese-owned apps like TikTok should be directed against the military's leadership, rather than the individual troops.

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California, on Saturday morning, Berger said the younger generation of troops had a "clearer view" of the technology "than most people give them credit for."

"That said, I'd give us a 'C-minus' or a 'D' in educating the force on the threat of even technology," Berger said. "Because they view it as two pieces of gear, 'I don't see what the big deal is.'"

Read More Show Less