CLIMATE AND DISASTER: ANALYZING MILITARY FOREIGN DISASTER RELIEF IN A CHANGING CLIMATE
Roy, Preston D.
Meierding, Emily L.
Russell, James A.
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The suspected impact of climate change on natural hazards, as identified by the Inter-governmental Panel for Climate Change, is expected to lead to a world where natural disasters are more frequent and severe in nature. This thesis investigates how climate change, in particular its effect on natural disasters, will impact the Department of Defense (DoD) mission to support stability worldwide through military Foreign Disaster Relief (FDR). To do that, it examines the question, why does the United States government (USG) authorize military FDR operations? The thesis develops 12 hypotheses pertaining to political and apolitical motivations and assesses them by conducting a qualitative comparative analysis of 12 recent hydrometeorological disasters. The findings of this research suggest, first, that military FDR operations are conducted to maintain stability of nations, regions, and the world order. Second, they suggest the USG is less likely to authorize military FDR in a consistent method due to the number of factors it takes into consideration. Lastly, the USG’s decision to authorize military FDR operations is not constrained by resources—such as equipment or the federal budget. In terms of climate change, increases in the frequency and severity of natural disasters is likely not to have a significant impact on military FDR operations. Additionally, if increases in the number of military FDR operations do occur, the DoD is well equipped and funded to support those operations.
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