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Dr. L. Dean Simmons
On behalf of The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics
Laboratory (JHU/APL), CNA, Navy Task Force Climate Change,
Navy Task Force Energy, and JHU/APL’s GAIA internal research
and development effort, I would like to welcome all of you to
Adapting to Climate and Energy Challenges, Options for U.S.
Maritime Forces. Let me begin by explaining why we have invited
you here for this 2-day event. As some of you may recall, when we
held our first climate and energy symposium at this time last year,
we said that we intended to examine climate and energy implications for future naval forces.
To do that, we looked at global climate change and energy
supply and demand and their impacts around the globe, focusing
specifically on the areas of responsibility of America’s six geographical combatant commands (USNORTHCOM, USSOUTHCOM,
Dr. L. Dean Simmons is a National Security Studies Fellow at JHU/
APL. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Purdue University, and he holds
master’s degrees in physics and operations research, also from Purdue.
Dr. Simmons served as the overall Chair and Proceedings Executive
Editor for the 2010 JHU/APL and CNA Symposium on Climate and
Energy Imperatives for Future Naval Forces and as Co-Chair for JHU/
APL’s series of Unrestricted Warfare Symposia. Since joining JHU/APL
in summer 2005, Dr. Simmons has directed studies related to irregular
warfare, the role of the reserve component, and the DoD’s strategic
command and control systems. Earlier in his career, Dr. Simmons was
employed at the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Center for Naval
Analyses. He has contributed to a number of Defense Science Board,
Naval Studies Board, and Air Force Scientific Advisory Board panels and
has published articles in the Journal of Defense Research, the Marine
Corps Gazette, Vertiflite, and the Proceedings of the Naval Institute.
Climate and Energy Proceedings 2011
months following last year’s symposium, Dr. Ronald Filadelfo from
CNA, along with some other JHU/APL and CNA staff, met with
personnel at Navy Task Force Climate Change and at Navy Task
Force Energy to determine, first, if it seemed advisable to schedule
a follow-on event and, given their positive response to that inquiry,
to select the most appropriate topics to cover.
Based on those discussions, we have been working for the
past 6 months to put together the program that you will see over
the next 2 days. JHU/APL and CNA are once again serving as
co-chairs, but this year we have benefited considerably from the
participation of a number of additional sponsoring organizations:
Navy Task Force Climate Change, Navy Task Force Energy, the
Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Energy Office, the Coast Guard, and
JHU/APL’s GAIA internal research and development effort. At our
co-sponsors’ urging, we have focused the symposium on the operational aspects of accommodating climate and energy challenges.
Just what are those challenges? (See summary in Figure 1.)
On the climate side, our nation’s maritime forces will soon confront an Arctic Ocean environment where changes in the nature
and reductions in the extent of sea ice will open new sea routes
and provide increased access to natural resources. Our maritime forces will also be affected by rising sea levels that could
potentially threaten the homes and livelihoods of some 3 billion
people, 40% of the planet’s total population, as well as the shoreside installation facilities used by our maritime forces.
Projected changes in the frequency and severity of storms
will increase demands for humanitarian assistance. As you are no
doubt aware, the Navy established Task Force Climate Change several years ago specifically to address these types of concerns. Rear
Admiral David Titley, the director of that task force, will provide an
update on their activities tomorrow.
On the energy side, our maritime forces devote significant
resources to securing America’s access to energy resources, especially petroleum, and protecting the land and sea routes that
deliver those products to America’s shores. In the process of carrying out their assigned missions, our maritime forces consume
large amounts of petroleum, the cost of which is currently on the
rise as you well know from your latest trip to the service station.
To address the problems attendant to these concerns, the Navy
established Task Force Energy and the Marine Corps set up their
Expeditionary Energy Office. The directors of both of those organizations will be here to update us on their activities.
Figure 1. Climate and Energy Challenges
Climate Challenges
Given that background, let us take a quick look at some of the
important climate challenges that are likely to confront our nation’s
maritime forces. Figure 2, showing a very nice summary of the
major climate events evident in 2010, the year just past, was put
together by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
(NOAA). I realize that from where you are sitting, most of the text
is probably illegible, so I will summarize what I took away as the
key points.
Starting at the top, the figure shows that in 2010, Arctic sea
ice reached its third lowest extent ever during the summer melt
season and its fifth lowest overall extent since record keeping
began in 1979. This fact is undoubtedly related to the observations
presented just one level down, namely that in 2010, Canada experienced the warmest year since national record keeping began in
Climate and Energy Proceedings 2011
1948. Russia, China, and India experienced their hottest summers
in 130, 50, and 110 years, respectively.
Figure 2. Major 2010 Climate Events [1]
There are a lot of other interesting facts in the figure, but I will
let you look those up on the web and turn our immediate focus to
the text outlined in the dashed box. From an overall perspective,
average global land and sea temperature for 2010 tied with 2005
as the warmest year in the 131-year historical record of global temperature data. The 2001–2010 decade was the warmest on record
over that period.
Although it is clear that global land and sea temperatures are
rising, it is interesting to look at the data in more detail. Figure 3,
from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), plots the
2010 temperature anomalies, the difference between what was
observed in 2010 and the average for the 30-year period between
1951 and 1980. The largest increases are indicated by the deepest
shades of blue; those colors are seen to be highly concentrated
in the Arctic and, to a lesser extent, along the Antarctic coastline. When we convert from the Celsius scale in the figure to the
Fahrenheit scale that we commonly use to measure temperature in
the United States, a 5°C increase grows to a 9°F change. It is no
wonder that the Arctic sea ice is melting.
Figure 3. Global Temperatures Remain High [2]
Figure 4. Climate Change in the Arctic [3]
Figure 4 shows just how much it is melting. The graphic and
the underlying data were assembled by two researchers at the
University of Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research. As
of February 2009, only 10% of the ice cover in the Arctic was
made up of ice older than 2 years, the area shown in dark blue
Climate and Energy Proceedings 2011
in Figure 4. Over the preceding 30 years, somewhat more than
half of the ice was older than 2 years. Thanks to the significant
increase in land and sea temperature in the Arctic, much of the
ice that forms each winter now melts by the end of the summer
season. As a result, access to the Arctic during summer is much
greater than has been the case previously. By the year 2030, it is
expected that major international maritime passages will become
accessible for use by ocean-going vessels and that exploitation of
natural resources, to include oil, natural gas, and other minerals,
will be increasingly feasible.
Figure 5 focuses on sea-level rise. Somewhat surprisingly, sealevel rise is not uniform across the world’s oceans. As this figure
from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows, sea-level rise
is higher in some parts of the ocean than in others. The largest
increases are shown in blue, with the deepest shade of blue indicating a sea-level rise of 0.15–0.18 meters or 15–18 millimeters
per year, about 0.6 inches.
Figure 5. Sea-Level Rise [3]
While this does not seem like a lot on an annual basis, over
50 years, it adds up to 30 inches or 2.5 feet, and over 100 years, it
adds up to 60 inches or 5 feet. Those of you who are familiar with
the recent Naval Studies Board report on the National Security
Implications of Climate Change on U.S. Naval Forces may recall
that the report included both Figures 4 and 5. [3] Regarding sealevel rise, the Naval Studies Board report noted that it is not the
average increase in sea level that is likely to be stressing, but rather
how rising sea levels affect regional sea levels, which can differ
significantly as Figure 5 shows, how they affect tides, and how
they affect the nature of extraordinary meteorological forces, like
hurricanes, typhoons, or other severe storms and the storm surges
that invariably accompany those events.
Energy Challenges
Now let us take a quick look at the energy challenges confronting our nation’s maritime forces. We will begin with the most
obvious one, price. Since June 2010, the price of petroleum has
increased by over $30 a barrel, or about 40% (Figure 6). Because
the Navy uses nearly 300 million barrels of petroleum a year,
each dollar increase entails a $30 million annual expenditure by
the Navy. And because Navy petroleum accounts for one-fourth
of overall DoD use, each dollar increase costs the DoD about
$130 million per year.
Figure 6. Price of Petroleum: On the Rise [4]
Climate and Energy Proceedings 2011
To get the total cost impact, we have to multiply those numbers
by the $30-per-barrel increase in cost that has been experienced
thus far. If sustained for the next year, that $30-per-barrel increase
will necessitate the expenditure of an additional $900 million by
the Navy and roughly $3.9 billion for the DoD as a whole. And
interestingly, the best curve fit to the data for the last 10 months
turns out to be cubic in time rather than linear, so we have had a
rather dramatic increase in cost.
So what does the Navy intend to do about this problem?
Admiral Gary Roughead, the Chief of Naval Operations, addressed
just these concerns when he delivered his annual posture statement
to Congress at the beginning of March. [5] He said that he had set
three energy objectives for the Navy: to improve combat capability, to assure mobility, and to green the Navy’s footprint (Figure 7).
To meet these objectives, he had charged Navy Task Force Energy
with identifying energy efficiency improvements, with undertaking
consumption reduction initiatives, and with pursuing aggressive
adoption of alternative energy and fuels.
Figure 7. Navy Energy Objectives [5]
The CNO went on to list a number of specific energy initiatives
that are currently being pursued by the Navy (Figure 8). These are
summarized here under the headings of surface ships, aircraft, and
installations and facilities ashore. I will not cover the list in detail,
but you can expect that our subsequent roundtables on just those
topics will do that for us.
Figure 8. Navy Energy Initiatives [5]
As for the Marine Corps, then-Commandant General James
Conway made the following observations when he established the
Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Energy Office a couple of years ago.
He said that expeditionary means being rapidly deployable, that
it means being efficient and effective, and that it means providing
forces that are no larger and no heavier than they need to be to
accomplish this mission.
General Conway went on to say that meeting these goals provides opportunity to reduce the demand for supply convoys. The
photo in the upper right of Figure 9 shows one such convoy headed
across the Khyber Pass on its way to deliver fuel and other supplies
to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The Commandant also proposed that
the Marines examine ways to generate power more efficiently and
to make better use of alternative and renewable energy resources.
In that regard, the photo on the lower right of Figure 9 shows solar
panels powering electronics at a remote Marine Corps base. I am
sure we will hear more about these issues from our roundtable on
adapting expeditionary capabilities to energy challenges.
Climate and Energy Proceedings 2011
Figure 9. General James Conway on Activating the Marine
Corps’ Expeditionary Energy Office
Symposium Objectives
With that as background, Figure 10 summarizes our objectives
for the symposium.
Figure 10. Symposium Objectives
Over the next 2 days, we intend to explore the options available to our nation’s maritime forces as they seek to adapt to
climate and energy challenges such as those I have just described.
Specifically, we are looking at how strategy, plans, and operations will be affected by climate challenges; at how aircraft and
ship operations will be affected by energy challenges; at how
installations and facilities ashore will be affected by both climate
and energy challenges; at how expeditionary capabilities will be
affected by energy challenges; and at how our research priorities
will be affected by climate challenges.
1. NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate:
Global Analysis for Annual 2010, Dec 2010, http://www.ncdc.
2. NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, GISS Surface
Temperature Analysis, 11 Dec 2010,
3. Naval Studies Board, National Security Implications of Climate
Change on U.S. Naval Forces, National Academies Press, 2011.
4. NYSE.TV, Crude Oil Price History,
5. Department of the Navy, Statement of Admiral Gary Roughead
Chief of Naval Operations Before the House Armed Services
Committee on FY 2012 Department of Navy Posture, 11 Mar