Statement from Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks on Earth Day

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WASHINGTON -- Every day at the Department of Defense, we see the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation here in the United States and around the world.

Climate-change induced sea level rise, drought, hurricanes and wildfires threaten to drive instability, increase demands on the force, impact readiness, and degrade the military infrastructure on which we rely to ensure U.S. national security.

Our Fiscal Year 2023 budget request to Congress includes historic new investments to increase our resilience in the face of these threats and enhance combat capabilities, while also reducing our own contribution to climate change. The budget request includes:

$2B for adapting and improving the climate resilience of military bases.
$247M to improve the energy efficiency of combat systems to increase capability and mitigate logistics risk.
$807M in Science and Technology to keep the U.S. military at the cutting edge.
Our operational objectives are well-aligned with our climate goals. For example, reducing the energy demand of combat systems can strengthen our capabilities while mitigating logistics risks due to vulnerable fuel supply lines.

Our budget request also includes investments in hybrid tactical vehicles to cut fuel demand and provide extended range, persistence, and stealth; and new platforms like prototype blended-wing-body aircraft that have the potential to increase range and payload by improving energy efficiency.

Secretary Austin and I have prioritized these kinds of investments because they will make us a more capable force.

Yesterday I signed a memorandum on “Energy Supportability and Demand Reduction in Capability Development,” which directs our military to prioritize energy demand reduction in all new system acquisitions and upgrades to existing systems. This initiative is critical to aligning the Department’s capabilities with the National Defense Strategy and ensuring competitive advantage in the current and future warfighting environment.

Earth Day is a reminder that confronting the climate threat presents an opportunity to Build a Better America – and a more resilient, capable military. Secretary Austin and I are committed to ensuring our military remains the most capable fighting force in the world—an objective that is well-aligned with our climate goals.