Infrastructure on many installations has climate, energy and resiliency issues that could impact the continuity of operations and quality of life for service members and their families if not addressed, said Rachel P. Ross, deputy chief sustainability officer and acting principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for energy, installations and environment.

The Defense Department has been evaluating structures on installations to determine their age, condition and vulnerability in order to prioritize funding for retrofits, along with updating building codes, Ross said yesterday at the Google Defense Forum. 

Ross said some examples of what the department is doing to become more resilient are:

  • Working with local utilities;
  • Using renewable energy;
  • Installing microgrids to ensure power is available at all times. 

Forum panelist Deborah Loomis, the senior climate change advisor to the Navy secretary, said the Navy is dealing with climate vulnerability in a number of ways. 

The Navy is using modeling and simulation to evaluate infrastructure on its four shipyards with the goal of improving operations, energy and sustainability, she said. Loomis noted that Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, loses power about 100 times a year. 

Loomis also said the Navy also has done an exercise to evaluate the impacts of climate change on its installations—from wildfires, droughts and high temperatures to flooding, sea level rise and storms—and what can be done to reduce them.

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