Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Political Science and University Honors
United States. Department of Defense -- Management -- Political aspects, Climatic changes -- Government policy -- United States, National security -- Environmental aspects -- United States
Given the increasing political polarization within the United States, this paper attempts to explore how political discourse impacts the United States Department of Defense’s (DOD) engagement with climate change. Analyzing personal communications, relevant literature, and DOD actions and documents, the results of this research found that the DOD engages with climate change across numerous fronts with different motivational forces. Of the various motivational forces, this research focuses on: (1) installation and operational concerns, (2) the Department’s relationships with political administrations, (3) the Department’s relationship with the Legislative branch, and (4) financial incentives.
Upon examining these four motivational forces, the findings of this preliminary research suggest that the DOD is aware of the partisan polarization surrounding climate change, and manages its engagement with climate change in a way that maximizes its freedom of action and funding. This has been specifically evident in the Department’s use of climate change language. The DOD’s approach to climate change falls in accordance with its mission and structure, and has allowed the DOD to avoid political partisanship. However, this strategy does not exempt the Department from the politicization of climate change. Moreover, given the phenomenon of climate change, the DOD will not be able to properly prepare for the future attention climate change warrants by continuing to avoid the political sensitivity surrounding this issue.
Cochrane, Margaret H., "The Politicization of Climate Change and The United States Department of Defense" (2017). University Honors Theses. Paper 435.