In the midst of the Biden administration’s disastrous military withdrawal from Afghanistan, top Pentagon officials were working to get the Secretary of Defense to sign a major climate change initiative, according to emails obtained by The Daily Wire.
In the two weeks between the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on August 15, 2021, and the final U.S. military flight out of Afghanistan on August 30, Pentagon officials were scrambling with the White House to finalize the Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Plan, a document that declares climate change a major national security risk.
The emails indicate frustration from climate change-focused Pentagon officials at the difficulty of getting the plan signed — but that ultimately their determination to focus on climate change even during the Afghanistan withdrawal paid off. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signed the climate initiative on September 1, just six days after 13 Americans were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber.
James Fitzpatrick, a member of the U.S. Army Reserve who obtained the emails through his organization, the Center to Advance Security in America, says the emails show military leadership was being “hounded” by climate activists within the government as it was trying to navigate withdrawal.
“While the Biden Administration was in the middle of a disastrous and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal, our top military leaders were being hounded by DoD climate activists to fast track a plan to transform the Department by forcing politically charged climate change discussions into every decision the DoD makes,” Fitzpatrick said. . . . . (read more on Daily Wire)
Center to Advance American Security Press Release, 31 Aug 2023
DoD “Climate Adaptation Plan” diverted attention of leadership in midst of deadly Afghanistan withdrawal
The Center to Advance Security in America (CASA) has uncovered email communications between officials in the Biden Department of Defense regarding the fast tracking of the DoD “Climate Adaptation Plan” (CAP) signed by Secretary Lloyd Austin on September 1, 2021 – just six days after the poorly planned Afghanistan withdrawal resulted in 13 American service members killed in a Taliban terrorist attack.
Per the uncovered emails, the goal of the CAP is to “transform the Department” and to “inculcate climate change considerations across all major decision-making processes”.
At the same time DoD officials were rushing through a plan to “transform the Department”, the Biden Administration was in the process of attempting to withdraw American armed forces from Afghanistan.
Records indicate the DoD climate plan was directly competing for the time and attention of Senior DoD officials, including Secretary Lloyd Austin, at a moment of extreme chaos and national security concerns being inflamed in Afghanistan.
Beginning in May 2021, a high ranking DoD official, Richard G. Kidd IV, emailed Andrew Mayock in the Executive Office of the President expressing frustration with the amount of time it might take Secretary Austin to sign off on the CAP.
Kidd states, “If it is not a real crisis with people dying – it takes at least 30 days to get anything signed by Sec Def.”
At this same time, the Taliban was increasing attacks against Afghanistan government forces and preparing for “large-scale offensives.”
On August 17, 2021, the day after President Biden delivered a speech to the nation in which he acknowledged the catastrophe in Afghanistan, Secretary Austin’s senior advisors were again emailing about the timing of the CAP being signed.
The apparent rush to get it approved, despite the Afghanistan chaos, is evident in communications showing that even the Secretary of the Navy was not given proper time to review the document prior to Austin signing it.
The chaos and fatal decisions directing the pullout captivated the nation and lasted well into the Fall of 2021 as Afghan allies and Americans were being abandoned behind Taliban lines.
Given this timeline, the newly released records raise additional questions about the judgment of Austin and other senior DoD officials who decided to focus on the issue of climate change at such a tumultuous time.
“While the Biden Administration was in the middle of a disastrous and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal, our top military leaders were being hounded by DoD climate activists to fast track a plan to transform the Department by forcing politically charged climate change discussions into every decision the DoD makes,” said CASA Director James Fitzpatrick.
“Whether this was just a grossly out of touch Department or motivated by Biden-appointed ideologues who believe that the so-called climate crisis is more pressing than the lives of American service members remains to be seen.”
“However, based on these new records, it is simply appalling to think that American military and political leadership turned their attention to finalize a so-called ‘Climate Action Plan’ in the midst of a Taliban terrorist attack and while Americans and our allies were facing such clear and present danger. God bless the Gold Star families who have to live with this reality.”
Deputy SECDEF Defines Need to Focus DOD on Climate Change Threats (DOD, 30 AUG 23)
As Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks spoke to West Point cadets today about climate change and the military, the Category 3 Hurricane Idalia slammed ashore in Florida.
The storm is just the latest in environmental impacts caused by climate change. Hicks pointed to the firestorm in Maui, floods in Pakistan, droughts in Africa and heat domes in the United States and Europe as other examples of this.
Hicks spoke to the Sustainable Infrastructure, Resilience and Climate Consortium at the U.S. Military Academy. “A question I hear often is, ‘Why does the Department of Defense care about climate change?'” she said.
The answer is simple, although the solution is not. “Climate change is a national security issue, and for the national security community, that declaration is not controversial — it’s fact,” she said. . . . . (read more)
Cadets discussed ongoing research: Electrification of the Fleet, Installation resilience, and Waste-to-Energy Solutions as part of a broader effort by USMA’s Sustainable Infrastructure, Resilience, and Climate Consortium. #DefenseInnovation #Leadership #Sustainability @SecArmy
— U.S. Military Academy at West Point (@WestPoint_USMA) August 31, 2023