April 30, 2019

GAO Agrees to Investigate National Security Threats Posed by Climate Change to Defense Supply Chain

GAO Response (PDF)

Washington, DC – United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, Jack Reed (D-R.I.) applauded the Government Accountability Office (GAO) for agreeing to their April 2019 request to investigate the impacts of climate change on defense contractors and the defense supply chain, and the extent to which the Department of Defense (DoD) addresses climate change and other environmental risks during the contracting process.

“We’re pleased that the GAO has accepted our request to investigate the national security risks posed by climate change to DoD contractors and the defense supply chain,” said the lawmakers. “The DoD and its contractors must take our rapidly changing climate into account as part of enhancing military readiness and ensuring the efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

In their letter requesting the investigation, Senators Warren and Reed asked the GAO to address several questions including:

1. To what extent does climate change pose a threat to the facilities and operations of key private sector DoD contractors, and how do contractors' climate change vulnerabilities affect military operations and readiness?

2. To what extent are contractors required to disclose, either to the public, to financial regulators, or to DoD, any potential threats to their facilities or operations as a result of climate change?

3. To what extent do DoD contracting officials, during the procurement process, take into consideration: (a) the actions taken by contractors to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions and their history of compliance with the nation's environmental laws; and (b) the potential threats to contractors' facilities and operations as a result of climate change?

The GAO has estimated staff will be available to initiate the investigation in about three months.