Obama Adviser: Rising Sea Levels Threaten Military Bases: ‘Where Will We Move Them?’

June 5, 2014 - 3:17 PM

Alice Hill

Alice Hill, senior advisor for Preparedness and Resilience to the assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, spoke at an American Association for the Advancement of Science conference on June 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) – A top Obama advisor said at an American Association for the Advancement of Science conference on Thursday that climate change threatens our national security, including military bases that could be misplaced by rising sea levels.

“It could, for example, affect our military mission,” Alice Hill, senior advisor for Preparedness and Resilience to the assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said during a panel discussion on “Current Federal Efforts” to fight climate change.

“If our key military bases were severely damaged by extreme weather or if they’re just threatened by sea level rise so that we have to be thinking, ‘Where are we going to move them?’” said Hill, who was a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles before she was appointed as counsel for the Department of Homeland Security by then-Secretary Janet Napolitano in 2009.

Hill quoted Secretary of State John Kerry ahead of her remarks about the military and said climate change will “affect virtually every country on earth.”

“As Secretary Kerry has recently noted, climate change can produce effects similar of those of weapons of mass destruction,” Hill said.

“We know that climate change will affect virtually every country on earth,” Hill said. “It is, after all, global climate warming.

“Other nations around the world are also viewing this as a national security risk,” Hill said citing the American Security Project, which she said found 70 percent of countries around the world have addressed climate change as part of their national security strategy.

“We know, for example, that climate change will affect water security; food security, energy systems and the stability of our infrastructure,” Hill said. “It could, for example, affect our military mission.

“If our key military bases were severely damaged by extreme weather or if they’re just threatened by sea level rise so that we have to be thinking, ‘Where are we going to move them?’” Hill asked.

Hill began her remarks by describing her work at the White House and its connection to climate change.

“My work in particular focuses on the intersection of climate change and national security,” Hill said. “I work on the National Security Council staff, and let me make clear that [climate change] is viewed as an issue of national security,” Hill said.