Strengthening US military communities through climate resilience planning
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) engaged our experts and other regional partners to conduct a Military Installation Resilience Review. The study identifies potential hazards and vulnerabilities in communities around Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, the Naval Research Laboratory, the Washington Navy Yard, and Fort Lesley J. McNair.
The study presents strategies to mitigate these vulnerabilities, focusing on actions that benefit installations and surrounding communities.
DoD has commissioned a set of studies around the country that are designed to safeguard both military bases and the surrounding communities from the adverse effects of climate change, including the high-level risks posed to infrastructure. These studies account for the important relationship between military installations and their neighboring communities—any weakness within these communities could potentially compromise the military's mission. Therefore, it is imperative to develop strategies that not only protect the military installations but also prioritize the needs and well-being of disadvantaged groups.
We engaged a diverse range of stakeholders, including representatives from federal and local agencies, policy and technical advisory committees, and utilities. Our analysis gives specific attention to disadvantaged communities that include people of color, low-income households, elderly, and others who have been disproportionately impacted by environmental threats. It emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the needs of these groups and involving them in the development and implementation of resilience solutions, keeping equity in mind throughout the process.
The vulnerability assessment focused on priority infrastructure across energy, transportation, water, and telecommunications. Our team then assessed these sectors against hazards and stressors such as flooding, extreme heat, ice storms, extreme winds, population growth, and land-use changes.
By the numbers
The final study outlines a strategic blueprint to build a holistic resilience framework that encompasses both the military installations and surrounding communities. By adopting this blueprint, DoD can enhance the resilience of military installations while advancing equity and justice in communities nationwide, creating a safer, more inclusive future for all.
Our comprehensive research and stakeholder consultations led to the identification of top vulnerabilities including:
- Electricity distribution hazards.
- Critical telecommunications assets.
- Flood-prone areas such as low-lying roads, wastewater treatment plants, substations, and emergency power generators.
- Strain to regional water supply.
- Stress to regional transportation due to aging infrastructure.
- Limited safe, reliable, and efficient mobility choices serving the installations.
- Fuel supply chain disruptions.
- Limited local affordable housing, workforce availability, and retention.
- Encroachment and vulnerabilities related to public trespassing.
From these vulnerabilities, we identified and detailed 14 priority resilience measures, along with strategies that are inclusive and considerate of disadvantaged groups. These measures were developed with a vision to foster environmental justice and social equity, ensuring that the benefits reach the people who need them the most.
- Retrofit stormwater pumping stations.
- Assess and address key climate risks to telecommunications systems.
- Support Blue Plains floodwall construction.
- Ensure Lower Anacostia Waterfront redevelopment is resilient.
- Provide financial support for Blue Plains microgrid.
- Advance fuel resilience opportunities to benefit installations and communities.
- Construct community electric vehicle charging stations.
- Expand connectivity with High-Capacity Transit Station Areas.
- Create installation viewshed security plan.
- Implement congestion relief and traffic-control measures.
- Increase shade cover and green infrastructure.
- Invest in workforce development for in-demand skills.
- Develop suspicious activity and trespassing prevention plan.
- Invest in affordable housing.
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