Reimagining Traditional Mission Readiness to Include Climate Adaptation, Energy, and Sustainability

In an article for Breaking Defense, Guidehouse examines how sustainable energy solutions can reduce the impact of extreme climate events on military infrastructure and resources

Climate change and energy considerations are already affecting military operations and readiness. Recently, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that tackling climate change was one of five imperatives necessary to defend the nation and the Department of Defense (DoD) has released a Climate Adaptation Plan and Climate Risk Analysis.

In an article for Breaking Defense, Guidehouse experts Jan Vrins and Hector Artze discuss the need to make installations more resilient than ever before and harden installation infrastructure with new energy sources such as microgrids and battery storage.

“This topic is not new; the Department of Defense has been looking at how weather events have impacted their bases around the world for many years,” said Vrins, partner and leader of Guidehouse’s Energy, Sustainability, and Infrastructure segment.

The article also explains how the DoD should assess not only current events, but also plan, build, and incorporate new energy systems into recapitalization processes and investments that will secure future facilities, platforms, systems, and instantiations. Transitioning non-tactical-vehicle fleets to zero-emission vehicles is also important for resilience and helps to achieve net-zero carbon emission goals. To reduce the vulnerability of military installations, mobility that enables assets to be moved quickly out of harm’s way is another key factor.

“On top of, obviously, things like microgrids and energy storage, I think that mobile assets that can be moved around become important elements of resiliency,” said Vrins. “In the case of a flood or hurricane, the services fly fixed and rotary wing assets away from the bases. But now imagine that you have the ability to actually pick up parts of the base and move them out of harm’s way. In addition to adaptation, that’s the sort of capability that will be needed as weather events have greater impacts across the country.”

Jan Vrins, Partner and Segment Leader

Hector Artze, Partner

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