In written response to questions for the record posed during his Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing, Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that climate change is “impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today.”
“I agree that the effects of a changing climate such as increased maritime access to the Arctic, rising sea levels, desertification, among others impact our security situation. I will ensure that the department continues to be prepared to conduct operations today and in the future, and that we are prepared to address the effects of a changing climate on our threat assessments, resources, and readiness,” he wrote. He added “it is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning,” and in response to one question, said “the Department of Defense must pay attention to potential adverse impacts generated by this phenomenon.” In contrast, President Donald Trump has mocked climate change as a security threat.
Mattis, who has advocated for the armed forces to cut dependency on fossil fuels, said he’d ensure the department “a plays its appropriate role within such a response by addressing national security aspects.”
Questions for the record are often submitted when senators are seeking more detailed information on a candidate’s position.