oversight

Climate Resilience: DOD Needs to Assess Risk and Provide Guidance on Use of Climate Projections in Installation Master Plans and Facilities Designs

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2019-06-12.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

             United States Government Accountability Office
             Report to Congressional Requesters




             CLIMATE
June 2019




             RESILIENCE

             DOD Needs to Assess
             Risk and Provide
             Guidance on Use of
             Climate Projections in
             Installation Master
             Plans and Facilities
             Designs




GAO-19-453
                                              June 2019

                                              CLIMATE RESILIENCE
                                              DOD Needs to Assess Risk and Provide Guidance on
                                              Use of Climate Projections in Installation Master
                                              Plans and Facilities Designs
Highlights of GAO-19-453, a report to
congressional requesters




Why GAO Did This Study                        What GAO Found
DOD manages a global real-estate              Department of Defense (DOD) installations have not consistently assessed risks
portfolio with an almost $1.2 trillion        from extreme weather and climate change effects or consistently used
estimated replacement value. Since            projections to anticipate future climate conditions. For example, DOD’s 2018
2010, DOD has identified climate              preliminary assessment of extreme weather and climate effects at installations
change as a threat to its operations and      was based on the installations’ reported past experiences with extreme weather
installations. In January 2019, DOD           rather than an analysis of future vulnerabilities based on climate projections.
stated that the effects of a changing         Fifteen of the 23 installations GAO visited or contacted had considered some
climate are a national security issue with    extreme weather and climate change effects in their plans as required by DOD
potential impacts to the department’s         guidance, but 8 had not. For example, Fort Irwin, California, worked with the U.S.
missions, operational plans, and              Army Corps of Engineers to improve stormwater drainage after intense flash
installations. GAO was asked to assess        flooding caused significant damage to base infrastructure. By contrast, Joint
DOD’s progress in developing a means          Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, did not include such considerations in its
to account for potentially damaging           plans, although it is located in an area subject to tropical storms and where
weather in its facilities project designs.    further sea level rise is anticipated.
GAO examined the extent to which DOD Flooding at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia
has taken steps to incorporate resilience
to extreme weather and climate change
effects into (1) selected installation
master plans and related planning
documents, and (2) selected individual
installation facilities projects.
GAO reviewed DOD documents related
to increasing climate resilience,
conducting installation master planning,
and designing facilities projects. GAO
visited or contacted a non-generalizable
sample of 23 installations that had been
associated with one or more climate
vulnerabilities.
                                              GAO also found that most of the installations had not used climate projections,
What GAO Recommends                           because they lack guidance on how to incorporate projections into their master
                                              plans. Not assessing risks or using climate projections in installation planning
GAO is making eight recommendations,          may expose DOD facilities to greater-than-anticipated damage or degradation as
including that the military departments       a result of extreme weather or climate-related effects.
work together to update master planning
criteria to require an assessment of          Eleven of the 23 installations we reviewed had designed one or more individual
extreme weather and climate change            facilities projects to increase the resilience of the facilities to extreme weather
risks and to incorporate DOD guidance         and climate change effects. However, project designs generally did not consider
on the use of climate projections into        climate projections, according to installation officials. These officials told us that
facilities design standards. GAO also         DOD lacks guidance on how to use climate projections that involve multiple
recommends that DOD issue guidance            future scenarios and different time periods. Until DOD updates its facilities design
on incorporating climate projections into     standards to require installations to consider climate projections in project
installation master planning and facilities   designs, identify authoritative sources for them to use, and provide guidance on
project designs. DOD concurred with all       how to use projections, installation project designers may continue to exclude
eight of GAO’s recommendations.               consideration of climate projections from facilities project designs, potentially
                                              making investments that are planned without consideration of climate-related
View GAO-19-453. For more information,        risks.
contact Diana Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or
maurerd@gao.gov.
                                              ______________________________________ United States Government Accountability Office
Contents


Letter                                                                                            1
                       Background                                                                 5
                       Some Installations Have Integrated Extreme Weather and Climate
                          Considerations in Master Plans or Related Installation Planning
                          Documents, but They Have Not Consistently Assessed Climate
                          Risks or Used Climate Projections in These Plans                       13
                       Installations Have Designed Some Individual Facilities Projects to
                          Increase Resilience to Extreme Weather, but They Lack
                          Guidance on Using Climate Projections                                  25
                       Conclusions                                                               31
                       Recommendations for Executive Action                                      32
                       Agency Comments and Our Evaluation                                        34

Appendix I             Scope and Methodology                                                     37



Appendix II            Comments from the Department of Defense                                   42



Appendix III           GAO Contact and Staff Acknowledgments                                     46



Related GAO Products                                                                             47


Tables
                       Table 1: Seven Observed and Potential Effects of Climate Change
                               on Weather Events and on Department of Defense (DOD)
                               Infrastructure and Operations                                      6
                       Table 2. Excerpts from Unified Facilities Criteria Requirements
                               and Guidance on Consideration of Climate                          11
                       Table 3: Department of Defense Installations and one Air Force
                               Unit We Visited or Contacted during this Review                   40

Figures
                       Figure 1: Historical Mean Sea Levels and Projected Relative Sea
                                Level Rise for Norfolk, Virginia                                  8




                       Page i                                           GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Figure 2: Historical Mean Sea Levels and Projected Relative Sea
         Level Rise for Norfolk, Virginia                                                  9
Figure 3: Flood Damage and Stormwater Diversion Channel at
         Fort Irwin, California                                                           15
Figure 4: Flooding at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia                                     16
Figure 5: Flooding at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia                                    26
Figure 6: Coastal Erosion at Camp Pendleton, California                                   27
Figure 7: Notional Example of Pier Raised to Account for Sea
         Level Rise                                                                       28




Abbreviations

DOD           Department of Defense
NOAA          National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
SERDP         Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program


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Page ii                                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                       Letter




441 G St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20548




                       June 12, 2019

                       Congressional Addressees

                       The Department of Defense (DOD) manages a global real-estate portfolio
                       with an estimated replacement value of almost $1.2 trillion, including
                       installations in all regions of the continental United States, Alaska, and
                       Hawaii, as well as in foreign locations. These installations not only
                       provide services and support to servicemembers and their families, but
                       are critical to maintaining military readiness. Since 2010, DOD has
                       identified climate change as a threat to its operations and installations
                       and stated that the department needs to adapt its infrastructure to the
                       risks posed by climate change. 1 In January 2019, DOD stated in a report
                       to Congress that the effects of a changing climate are a national security
                       issue with potential impacts to the department’s missions, operational
                       plans, and installations. 2

                       The effects of climate change, such as sea level rise, may damage
                       infrastructure and result in increased costs to the department. These
                       costs are projected to increase as extreme weather events become more
                       frequent and intense as a result of climate change—as observed and
                       projected by the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the National
                       Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. According to the
                       U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Fourth National Climate
                       Assessment, the effects of climate change are already being felt in the
                       United States and are projected to intensify in the future. These effects
                       will include increases in the incidence of extreme high temperatures,
                       heavy precipitation events, high tide flooding events along the coastline,
                       and forest fires in the western continental United States and Alaska. The
                       assumption that current and future climate conditions will resemble those
                       of the recent past is no longer valid, according to the report. For example,




                       1
                           DOD, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (February 2010).
                       2
                        Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Report on
                       Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense (January 2019).




                       Page 1                                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
sea levels are expected to continue to rise along almost all U.S.
coastlines. 3

We and others, such as the National Academies of Sciences,
Engineering, and Medicine, have therefore recommended enhancing
climate resilience as one strategy to help limit the federal government’s
fiscal exposure. Enhancing climate resilience means being able to plan
and prepare for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to
climate-related impacts, such as those identified by the U.S. Global
Change Research Program in the 2018 Fourth National Climate
Assessment. 4 Examples of resilience measures to protect infrastructure
include raising river or coastal dikes to reduce the risks to infrastructure
from sea level rise, building higher bridges, and increasing the capacity of
stormwater systems. Enhancing climate resilience can add additional
costs up front, but could also reduce potential future costs incurred as a
result of damage from climate-related events.

As a result of the significant risks posed by climate change, in February
2013, we placed Limiting the Federal Government’s Fiscal Exposure by



3
 Jay, A., D.R. Reidmiller, C.W. Avery, D. Barrie, B.J. DeAngelo, A. Dave, M. Dzaugis, M.
Kolian, K.L.M. Lewis, K. Reeves, and D. Winner, 2018: Overview. In Impacts, Risks, and
Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II
[Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock,
and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, D.C.
4
 The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine defines resilience as
the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to
adverse events. The National Academies, Committee on Increasing National Resilience to
Hazards and Disasters and Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy,
Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative (Washington, D.C.: 2012). We reported in 2016
that two related sets of actions that can enhance climate resilience by reducing risk
include climate change adaptation and hazard mitigation. Adaptation involves adjustments
to natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climate change, including
increases in the frequency or severity of weather-related disasters. Hazard mitigation
refers to actions taken to reduce the loss of life and property by lessening the effects of
adverse events and applies to all hazards, including terrorism and natural hazards such as
health pandemics or weather-related disasters. For more information, see, for example,
GAO, Climate Change: Selected Governments Have Approached Adaptation through
Laws and Long-Term Plans, GAO-16-454 (Washington, D.C.: May 12, 2016); and, Jay, A.,
D.R. Reidmiller, C.W. Avery, D. Barrie, B.J. DeAngelo, A. Dave, M. Dzaugis, M. Kolian,
K.L.M. Lewis, K. Reeves, and D. Winner, 2018: Overview. In Impacts, Risks, and
Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II
[Reidmiller, D.R., C.W. Avery, D.R. Easterling, K.E. Kunkel, K.L.M. Lewis, T.K. Maycock,
and B.C. Stewart (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, D.C.




Page 2                                                      GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Better Managing Climate Change Risks on our High-Risk List. 5 As part of
our work in this high-risk area, in 2015 we reported that the climate
information needs of federal, state, local, and private-sector decision
makers were not being fully met and that a national climate information
system could help them make more informed decisions about managing
climate change risks. We made two recommendations, including that the
Executive Office of the President develop a set of authoritative climate
change projections for use in federal decision making, but as of May
2018, the Executive Office of the President had yet to take action in
response. 6 In 2016 we reported that improved federal coordination could
facilitate the use of forward-looking climate information in facilities design
standards and building codes, the technical guidelines that promote the
safety, reliability, productivity, and efficiency of infrastructure. 7 We made
one recommendation—that the Director of the National Institute of
Standards and Technology at the Department of Commerce convene an
ongoing government-wide effort to provide the best available forward-
looking climate information to standards-developing organizations for
consideration in design standards and building codes. As of May 2018,
our recommendation had not been implemented.

We have also previously reported on the risks of extreme weather and
climate change effects to DOD installations. 8 In 2014, we reported on the
risks that climate change posed to DOD’s domestic installations, and in
2017 we issued a related report on risks that climate change posed to




5
 GAO, High-Risk Series: An Update, GAO-13-283 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 14, 2013). See
also GAO, High-Risk Series: Substantial Efforts Needed to Achieve Greater Progress on
High-Risk Areas, GAO-19-157SP (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 6, 2019).
6
 GAO, Climate Information: A National System Could Help Federal, State, Local, and
Private Sector Decision Makers Use Climate Information, GAO-16-37 (Washington, D.C.:
Nov. 23, 2015).
7
 GAO, Climate Change: Improved Federal Coordination Could Facilitate Use of Forward-
Looking Climate Information in Design Standards, Building Codes, and Certifications,
GAO-17-3 (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 30, 2016).
8
 Extreme weather and climate change effects refer to weather events observed and
projected to become more common and intense because of climate change as well as the
effects of such events, including loss of life, rising food and energy prices, increasing cost
of disaster relief and insurance, fluctuations in property values, and concerns about
national security. See our discussion in the Background section of this report for more
information.




Page 3                                                        GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
DOD’s foreign installations. 9 We discuss our findings and
recommendations from these reports in more depth later in this report.

Senate Report 115-130, accompanying a bill for fiscal year 2018
appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans
Affairs, and related agencies, cited concerns with the frequency and costs
of extreme weather events and the potential effects of climate change
and included a provision for us to review DOD’s progress in developing a
means to account for potentially damaging weather in its facilities project
designs. 10 This report examines the extent to which DOD has taken steps
to incorporate resilience to extreme weather and climate change effects
into (1) installation master plans and related planning documents, and (2)
individual installation facilities projects.

For objective one, we reviewed DOD policies, guidance, and standards
related to increasing climate resilience and conducting installation master
planning. We interviewed officials in the Office of the Assistant Secretary
of Defense for Sustainment, each of the military departments involved
with installation policy, and the engineering organizations of each military
department. We also visited or requested information from a non-
generalizable sample of 23 domestic military installations, plus an Air
Force unit with responsibility for certain facilities in Alaska because these
facilities are affected by severe coastal erosion. To develop this sample
we focused on domestic installations because our November 2017 report
focused on foreign installations. We selected installations that had
identified one or more climate-related vulnerabilities based on their past
experiences in a DOD-administered survey of climate vulnerabilities at
DOD installations or in a prior GAO report on weather and climate risks at
DOD installations. We visited 10 of these installations, plus the Air Force
unit in Alaska, and sent the remaining 13 installations a questionnaire. 11
9
  GAO, Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Can Improve Infrastructure Planning and
Processes to Better Account for Potential Impacts, GAO-14-446 (Washington, D.C.: May
30, 2014), and Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Needs to Better Incorporate Adaptation
into Planning and Collaboration at Overseas Installations, GAO-18-206 (Washington,
D.C.: Nov. 13, 2017).
10
     S. Rep. No. 115-130, at 12-13 (2017).
11
   One of these installations—Camp Lejeune—ultimately did not return the questionnaire
because, according to officials, the installation had sustained significant damage in a
hurricane and officials were fully engaged in clean-up and recovery activities. To reduce
the use of installation officials’ time in responding, we conducted a phone interview with
installation officials as an alternative to the questionnaire and discussed the installation’s
responses to the questions in the questionnaire.




Page 4                                                         GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                         We then reviewed documents from all the installations in our sample,
                         including master plans. We compared DOD’s actions to take steps in
                         installation planning to increase resilience with DOD guidance on climate
                         change resilience, Unified Facilities Criteria standards, federal internal
                         control standards, and best practices for enterprise risk management.

                         For objective two, we reviewed DOD guidance related to increasing
                         climate resilience. We also reviewed DOD standards for facilities project
                         design to determine the extent to which they require or give guidance on
                         climate resilience measures and the extent to which they incorporate
                         guidance on using climate projections. We obtained information from
                         each of the installations in our sample on the extent to which they had
                         incorporated climate resilience measures into specific projects and
                         reviewed project design documents. We compared the extent to which
                         DOD took steps in its facilities projects and its project design standards to
                         increase resilience with DOD guidance on climate change resilience. See
                         appendix I for more information on our objectives, scope, and
                         methodology.

                         We conducted this performance audit from April 2018 to June 2019 in
                         accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.
                         Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain
                         sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our
                         findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that
                         the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and
                         conclusions based on our audit objectives.



Background
Extreme Weather and      According to the National Research Council, although the exact details
Climate Change Effects   cannot be predicted with certainty, climate change poses serious risks to
                         many of the physical and ecological systems on which society depends. 12
                         Moreover, according to key scientific assessments, the effects and costs

                         12
                          The National Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National
                         Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for furnishing scientific and technical
                         advice to governmental and other organizations. See, National Research Council,
                         Committee on America’s Climate Choices, America’s Climate Choices (Washington, D.C.:
                         2011); National Research Council, Climate Change: Evidence, Impacts, and Choices
                         (Washington, D.C.: 2012).




                         Page 5                                                    GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                                           of extreme weather events such as floods and droughts will increase in
                                           significance as what are considered rare events become more common
                                           and intense because of climate change. 13 According to the National
                                           Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, extreme weather
                                           events are directly traceable to loss of life, rising food and energy prices,
                                           increasing costs of disaster relief and insurance, fluctuations in property
                                           values, and concerns about national security. Table 1 shows seven
                                           effects commonly associated with climate change that DOD has
                                           documented.

Table 1: Seven Observed and Potential Effects of Climate Change on Weather Events and on Department of Defense (DOD)
Infrastructure and Operations

                        Potential effects of climate               Observed and potential effects on
Category                change on weather events                   DOD infrastructure and operations
Flooding due to storm   Increased severity and frequency of        Coastal erosion (e.g., shoreline facilities), damage to coastal
surge                   flooding caused by storm surge             infrastructure (e.g., piers and utilities)
Flooding due to non-    Increased severity and frequency of        Inundation of inland sites, damage to infrastructure (e.g.,
storm surge             flooding not caused by storm surge         training area facilities), encroachment on training lands (e.g.,
                                                                   excessive damage to maneuver training lands), stormwater and
                                                                   wastewater disposal issues, shifting river flows
Extreme temperatures Hot: Increased frequency of extremely hot     Strained electricity supply, changing demand for cooling of
                     days, thawing of permafrost, seasonal         buildings (e.g., effects on an installation’s energy intensity and
                     weather shifts                                operating costs), training encroachment (e.g., more red and
                                                                                     a
                                                                   black flag days), erosion and facility damage from thawing
                                                                   permafrost, water supply shortages, increased maintenance
                                                                   requirements for runways or roads
                        Cold: Increased frequency of extremely     Strained electricity supply, changing demand for heating of
                        cold days, seasonal weather shifts         buildings (e.g., effects on an installation’s energy intensity and
                                                                   operating costs), training encroachment, increased maintenance
                                                                   requirements for runways or roads
Wind                    Stronger and more frequent wind            Damage to above-ground electric/power infrastructure (e.g.,
                                                                   power lines), roofs of buildings, and housing
Drought                 Increased frequency of drought             Water supply shortages



                                           13
                                             Jerry M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe, eds., Climate Change
                                           Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, (Washington, D.C.:
                                           U.S. Global Change Research Program, May 2014) and Intergovernmental Panel on
                                           Climate Change, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part
                                           A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment
                                           Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Field, C.B., V.R. Barros, D.J.
                                           Dokken, K.J. Mach, M.D. Mastrandrea, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada,
                                           R.C. Genova, B. Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S. MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea, and
                                           L.L. White (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New
                                           York, NY, USA, 1132 pp.




                                           Page 6                                                       GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                                    Potential effects of climate                                     Observed and potential effects on
Category                            change on weather events                                         DOD infrastructure and operations
Wildfire                            Increased frequency of wildfires                                 Training encroachment (e.g., restrictions on types of ammunition
                                                                                                     used, halting or delaying of training activities)
Changes in mean sea                 Increased frequency and severity of coastal Coastal site damage from erosion and inundation, water supply
level                               flooding                                    interruptions, wastewater disposal issues
Source: GAO analysis of the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, 2012 DOD Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (Roadmap), 2014 Roadmap, Fiscal Year 2015 DOD Strategic Sustainability
Performance Plan (Sustainability Plan), Fiscal Year 2016 Sustainability Plan, and the December 2016 draft of the DOD Screening Level Vulnerability Assessment Survey Report. |  GAO-19-453
                                                                 a
                                                                  According to the U.S. Navy, red flag days are days on which strenuous exercise must be curtailed in
                                                                 hot weather for all personnel with fewer than 12 weeks of training; black flag days are days on which
                                                                 non-mission essential physical training and strenuous exercise must be suspended for all personnel.


Sources of Climate                                               According to a 2010 National Research Council report on making
Information and                                                  informed decisions about climate change 14 and our October 2009 report
                                                                 on climate change adaptation, 15 most decision makers need a basic set of
Projections
                                                                 information to understand and make choices about how to adapt to the
                                                                 effects of climate change. This set of information includes information and
                                                                 analysis about observed climate conditions, information about observed
                                                                 climate effects and vulnerabilities, and projections of what climate change
                                                                 might mean for the local area. In November 2015, we found that in order
                                                                 for climate information to be useful, it must be tailored to meet the needs
                                                                 of each decision maker, such as an engineer responsible for building a
                                                                 bridge in a specific location, a county planner responsible for managing
                                                                 development over a larger region, or a federal official managing a
                                                                 national-scale program. 16

                                                                 Agencies across the federal government collect and manage many types
                                                                 of climate information, including observational records from satellites and
                                                                 weather monitoring stations on temperature and precipitation, among
                                                                 other things; projections from complex climate models; and tools to make
                                                                 this information more meaningful to decision makers. For example, the
                                                                 Fourth National Climate Assessment, completed in November 2018 by
                                                                 the U.S. Global Change Research Program, references various sources
                                                                 of climate information, including projected temperature and precipitation

                                                                 14
                                                                  National Research Council, America’s Climate Choices: Panel on Informing Effective
                                                                 Decisions and Actions Related to Climate Change, Informing an Effective Response to
                                                                 Climate Change (Washington, D.C.: 2010).
                                                                 15
                                                                    GAO, Climate Change Adaptation: Strategic Federal Planning Could Help Government
                                                                 Officials Make More Informed Decisions, GAO-10-113 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 7, 2009).
                                                                 16
                                                                    GAO, Climate Information: A National System Could Help Federal, State, Local, and
                                                                 Private Sector Decision Makers Use Climate Information, GAO-16-37 (Washington, D.C.:
                                                                 Nov. 23, 2015).




                                                                 Page 7                                                                                 GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                                          data. Likewise, in 2016, a multi-agency group led by the Strategic
                                          Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) developed
                                          a report and accompanying database of future sea level projections and
                                          extreme water levels, which as of May 2019 contained sea level change
                                          projections for 1,813 DOD sites worldwide. 17

                                          Climate projections are typically a range of possible future scenarios for
                                          particular time frames. Multiple future scenarios allow for planners and
                                          engineers to see a range of possible conditions that could occur at
                                          various points in time. For example, a planner or engineer could consider
                                          four different future scenarios occurring over the course of 20, 40, or 60
                                          years or over the service life of the project being designed. Figure 1
                                          shows an example of sea level change projections provided by the
                                          National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Specifically,
                                          the chart shows historical mean sea levels and multiple scenarios of
                                          projected relative sea level rise in Norfolk, Virginia.

Figure 1: Historical Mean Sea Levels and Projected Relative Sea Level Rise for Norfolk, Virginia




                                          17
                                             The group consisted of SERDP, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
                                          the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy, and the
                                          South Florida Water Management District. Its report is Regional Sea Level Scenarios for
                                          Coastal Risk Management: Managing the Uncertainty of Future Sea Level Change and
                                          Extreme Water Levels for Department of Defense Coastal Sites Worldwide (April 2016).




                                          Page 8                                                    GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                                          The chart shows the historical annual mean sea level from 1960 to 2018
                                          through the bold black line. The projections use 2000 as a starting point,
                                          and so overlap with the historical data. Relative sea level rise takes into
                                          account changes in land levels—in the Norfolk area the land is generally
                                          subsiding over time. Each scenario is based on different assumptions
                                          about future greenhouse gas emissions, according to an official from
                                          NOAA’s National Ocean Service. Planners and engineers can use the
                                          multiple scenarios to evaluate when potential effects could occur and
                                          determine their risk tolerances to inform their planning or design choices.
                                          Figure 2 similarly shows the same historical mean sea levels at Norfolk,
                                          Virginia, as well as the very likely range of projections of future relative
                                          sea levels, according to the National Ocean Service.

Figure 2: Historical Mean Sea Levels and Projected Relative Sea Level Rise for Norfolk, Virginia




                                          This chart shows the range of possibilities considered very likely—those
                                          between the low and intermediate scenarios in figure 1—according to an
                                          official from NOAA’s National Ocean Service.




                                          Page 9                                                   GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Installations’ Processes for
Master Planning and
Project Design

Installation Master Planning      Master planning for military installations involves the evaluation of factors
Process                           affecting the present and future physical development and operation of a
                                  military installation. DOD requires all installations to develop master
                                  plans. DOD’s instruction on real property management states that plans
                                  must be based on a strategic assessment of the operational mission and
                                  expected use of the installation. 18 The plans must cover at least a 10-year
                                  period and be updated every 5 years, or more often if necessary. The
                                  plans must include lists, by year, of all construction projects, major repair
                                  and sustainment projects, and restoration and modernization projects
                                  needed within the time period covered by the plan.

Design Standards for Individual   Individual DOD facilities projects within installations must be designed in
Facilities Projects               accordance with DOD’s facilities design standards, which are defined in
                                  the Unified Facilities Criteria. Unified Facilities Criteria are technical
                                  manuals and specifications used for planning, design, construction,
                                  maintenance, and operations of all DOD facilities projects. The U.S. Army
                                  Corps of Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, and the Air
                                  Force Civil Engineer Center are responsible for administering and
                                  updating the Unified Facilities Criteria. The Unified Facilities Criteria
                                  include a core group of 27 standards that apply to building systems found
                                  in most DOD facility construction projects, and include standards such as
                                  architecture, roofing, and civil engineering. 19 Engineers and planners
                                  apply the criteria that are most appropriate for their individual facilities
                                  projects to their project proposals and designs. Table 2 shows excerpts
                                  from requirements and guidance to project designers in the Unified
                                  Facilities Criteria relevant to the consideration of climate.


                                  18
                                   DOD Instruction 4165.70, Real Property Management (Apr. 6, 2005) (incorporating
                                  change 1, Aug. 31, 2018).
                                  19
                                   Unified Facilities Criteria, 1-200-01, DOD Building Code (General Building
                                  Requirements) (June 20, 2016) (change 2, Nov.1, 2018), lists 28 core Unified Facilities
                                  Criteria. However, one of these, Unified Facilities Criteria 4-010-02, DOD Minimum
                                  Antiterrorism Standoff Distances for Buildings (Feb. 9, 2012) (FOUO) has been canceled
                                  by Unified Facilities Criteria 4-010-01, DOD Minimum Antiterrorism Standards for
                                  Buildings (Dec. 12, 2018), reducing the total from 28 to 27 core Unified Facilities Criteria.




                                  Page 10                                                        GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Table 2. Excerpts from Unified Facilities Criteria Requirements and Guidance on Consideration of Climate

 Unified Facilities Criteria                        Excerpt
 1-200-02, High Performance                         [In selecting a sustainable site,] consider site-specific, long-term, climate change impacts such as
 Sustainable Building                               drought, flood, wind, and wildfire risks.
 Requirements (Dec. 1, 2016)
 (change 3, Sept. 7, 2018)
 3-400-02, Design: Engineering                      Knowing the probable wind speed and direction in a particular month can be helpful in construction
 Weather Data (Sept. 20, 2018)                      and mission planning as well as in designing structures that experience severe wind-driven rain or
                                                    drifting snow.
 3-230-01, Water Storage and                        Pumps, piping, and equipment must be protected from the weather. In cold climates pumps and
 Distribution (Sept.1, 2018)                        piping must be protected from freezing temperatures. The pump station building must comply with
 (change 1, Oct. 1, 2018)                           [UFC] 1-200-01 [DOD Building Code (General Building Requirements)], be constructed of
                                                    noncombustible materials and meet applicable building standoff distances.
 3-110-03, Roofing (May 1,                          In new construction, the roof system selection is an integral part of the overall building design and
 2012)(change 3, Mar.6, 2019)                       must take into account interior building usage and climate. For example, the building can be
                                                    designed to prevent outward moisture drive, support heavy roof systems (such as garden roofs or
                                                    paver systems), or sloped for the desired durability (life cycle cost benefit) and aesthetic
                                                    considerations.
 3-101-01, Architecture (Nov. 28,                   Building shape, orientation, and design must utilize the site seasonal environmental factors to
 2011) (change 4, Mar.6, 2019)                      minimize annual facility energy use and to optimize daylighting. Coordinate building and glazing
                                                    orientation and architectural shading with seasonal solar angles and prevailing winds to enhance
                                                    energy performance of the building within the site-specific micro climate.
 3-201-02, Landscape                                Streets, paved parking lots, roofs, and other impermeable surfaces allow no infiltration of runoff
 Architecture (Feb.23, 2009)                        and provide little resistance to flow. Runoff draining from these surfaces can be highly
 (change 1, Nov. 1, 2009)                           concentrated and move at a velocity greater than runoff flowing over an unpaved surface. Soils
                                                    must be protected from this erosive force, particularly at the edges of impermeable surfaces and
                                                    soils.
 3-201-01, Civil Engineering (Apr.                  [Executive Order] 11988 directs all Federal agencies to avoid floodplain development wherever
 1, 2018)(change 1, Mar.19,                         there is a practicable alternative. When development within the floodplain is considered, evaluate
 2019)                                              alternative site locations to avoid or minimize adverse impacts to the floodplain. When mission
                                                    needs require siting a building within or partially within the 100-year floodplain, indicate…the base
                                                    flood elevation…and the minimum design flood elevation….
Source: Unified Facilities Criteria. I GAO-19-453



DOD Infrastructure Costs                                      Extreme weather and climate change effects can damage infrastructure,
Associated with Extreme                                       requiring repairs and resulting in budgetary risks (i.e., costs) to DOD. 20
Weather and Climate                                           While no individual weather event can be definitively linked to climate
                                                              change, particular weather events can demonstrate the vulnerability of
Change Effects                                                military facilities. For example, in October 2018, Hurricane Michael
                                                              devastated Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, shutting down most base
                                                              operations until December; causing severe damage to the flight line,

                                                              20
                                                                Budgetary risks include the use of funding to prepare for, or recover from, climate
                                                              impacts (e.g., the cost of overtime required to set up sandbags in anticipation of flooding
                                                              or repair roofs destroyed during a severe wind storm).




                                                              Page 11                                                       GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
drone runway, and other base facilities including family housing; and
destroying the base’s marina. The Air Force estimates that repairs at the
base will cost about $3 billion and take 5 or more years to complete.
Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point and New
River in North Carolina sustained heavy damage to facilities, housing,
and training locations from Hurricane Florence in September 2018. The
Marine Corps estimates that the recovery from the hurricane damage will
cost about $3.6 billion and take years to complete.

In 2014, we reported that more frequent and more severe extreme
weather events and climate change effects may result in increased fiscal
exposure for DOD. In the same report, officials provided examples of
costs associated with extreme weather and climate change effects at
DOD facilities. For example, officials from a Navy shipyard we visited
stated that the catastrophic damage that could result from the flooding of
a submarine in dry dock could cause substantial repair costs. In 2017, we
found that DOD installations overseas face operational and budgetary
risks posed by weather events and climate change effects at the military
services’ installations in each of DOD’s geographic combatant
commands. We recommended that the Secretaries of the Army, Navy,
and Air Force work with the Office of the Secretary of Defense to issue a
requirement to their installations to systematically track the costs
associated with extreme weather events and climate change effects.
DOD did not concur with this recommendation. In its response, DOD
stated that tracking impacts and costs associated with extreme weather is
important, but that the science of attributing these events to a changing
climate is not supported by previous GAO reports. DOD also stated that
associating a single event with climate change is difficult and does not
warrant the time and money expended in doing so. However, as we
stated in our response to DOD’s comments, installations generally have
the capability to track the costs associated with extreme weather events,
which are projected to become more frequent and intense as a result of
climate change. There is substantial budgetary risk resulting from weather
effects associated with climate change, and these types of repairs are
neither budgeted for nor clearly represented in the federal budget
process. As of April 2019, the military departments have not implemented
this recommendation.




Page 12                                          GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Some Installations
Have Integrated
Extreme Weather and
Climate
Considerations in
Master Plans or
Related Installation
Planning Documents,
but They Have Not
Consistently
Assessed Climate
Risks or Used
Climate Projections in
These Plans

Some Installations Have     Fifteen of the 23 installations we visited or contacted had integrated some
Integrated Extreme          considerations of extreme weather or climate change effects into their
                            plans. For example,
Weather and Climate
Considerations into Their   •   Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, partnered with the City of Hampton,
Master Plans or Related         Virginia, to study the effects of sea level rise. A 2018 addendum to the
Installation Planning           installation’s 2010 joint land use study with the City of Hampton
                                outlined climate vulnerabilities and identified recommendations for
Documents                       actions to increase installation resilience. Separately, after sustaining
                                damage from Hurricane Isabel in 2003, the installation required all
                                new development to be constructed to a minimum elevation of 10.5
                                feet above sea level, higher than the flooding associated with the
                                hurricane and one foot higher than the flooding anticipated from a
                                storm with a 1-in-500 chance of occurring in any given year. As DOD
                                noted in its January 2019 report to Congress on climate-related
                                vulnerabilities, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, of which Langley Air Force
                                Base is a part, has experienced 14 inches in relative sea level rise




                            Page 13                                            GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
     since 1930, due in part to land subsidence, and has experienced
     more frequent and severe flooding as a result. 21
•    The 611th Civil Engineer Squadron, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-
     Richardson in Alaska, partnered with the University of Alaska,
     Anchorage, to develop site-specific predictive models of coastal
     erosion for two radar sites on the North Slope of Alaska. 22 The
     squadron plans to use this information in the future to develop
     possible alternative facilities projects to address the erosion risks.
     Squadron officials told us they consulted with the military users of the
     radars to determine the length of time to plan for their continued use
     and that they intend to use this information to develop plans to
     address this coastal erosion. The North Slope radar sites are
     experiencing greater than anticipated coastal erosion rates, which
     have begun to threaten the infrastructure supporting the sites.
•    Fort Irwin, California, in response to severe flash flooding in 2013 that
     caused loss of power and significant damage to base infrastructure,
     worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop a plan to
     improve stormwater drainage. The 2014 plan recommended a series
     of infrastructure projects, some of which Fort Irwin has implemented;
     others remain to be implemented, depending on the availability of
     funding. Figure 2 depicts flooding damage in 2013 at Fort Irwin and a
     stormwater diversion channel subsequently built by the installation.
     The flash flooding on the installation caused damage to roads and
     other facilities throughout the installation, according to officials. The
     installation subsequently raised berms and built other structures, such
     as the diversion channel shown in figure 3, to divert stormwater from
     installation facilities.




21
 Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Report on
Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense (January 2019).
22                  th
   Officials of the 611 Civil Engineer Squadron said the unit is not an installation and
therefore not required to produce a master plan. However, this example illustrates actions
that can be taken to assess climate-related risks to facilities.




Page 14                                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Figure 3: Flood Damage and Stormwater Diversion Channel at Fort Irwin, California




                                         •   Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, reported
                                             that the installation plans to award a contract to study sea level rise at
                                             the installation and incorporate the results into the next iteration of its
                                             master plan. The installation stated that incorporating the study’s
                                             results is included in the scope of work for the contract that has been
                                             awarded for the master plan update.
                                         •   Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, noted in its 2017 master plan that
                                             climate change and sea level rise are expected to exacerbate effects
                                             to the installation from tidal flooding and storm surge, increasing risks
                                             to installation assets and capabilities. The plan established a goal of
                                             identifying measures that could minimize the effect of sea level rise on
                                             the installation. With the majority of the installation near mean sea
                                             level, Naval Station Norfolk is vulnerable to frequent flooding that is
                                             disruptive to operations. Figure 4 depicts flooding at Naval Station
                                             Norfolk. Installation officials told us that such floods can interfere with
                                             traffic on base, thus reducing the ability of those working on the
                                             installation to transit within, to, and from the base.




                                         Page 15                                             GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Figure 4: Flooding at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia




•    Naval Base San Diego, California, noted in its most recent master
     plan that local climate change effects include water and energy
     shortages, loss of beaches and coastal property, and higher average
     temperatures, among others. The plan also stated that Naval Base
     San Diego should be funded to conduct a study to determine
     installation-specific effects of sea level rise. Navy Region Southwest
     subsequently partnered with the Port of San Diego to study local
     effects of sea level rise, which installation officials said will help them
     understand the effects of sea level rise on the base.
•    Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, participated in a study of the effects of
     sea level rise on the installation and on certain other DOD installations
     in North Carolina and Florida. 23 An installation official stated that
     installation officials have used the results of the study to make
     planning decisions, in particular by feeding the study data into the
     installation’s mapping of potential flood zones. The 10-year study,
     which concluded in 2017, was funded by SERDP and was based at

23
 SERDP, Defense Coastal/Estuarine Research Program (DCERP), SERDP Project RC-
2245 (January 2018).




Page 16                                                 GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
     Camp Lejeune to, among other things, understand the effects of
     climate change at Camp Lejeune. Camp Lejeune officials and one of
     the scientists involved in the study told us that installation officials
     have used the study’s results to make decisions about where to site
     buildings so as to take into account the possible future condition of
     marshes on the base.
However, 8 of the 23 installations we visited or contacted had not
integrated considerations of extreme weather or climate change effects
into their master plans or related installation planning documents. For
example,

•    Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, did not consider extreme
     weather and climate change effects in its most recent master plan,
     although it is located in an area that has been subject to tropical
     storms and where, according to projections in the DOD database of
     sea level change scenarios, further sea level rise is anticipated.
     Specifically, under the highest scenario in the database, sea level at
     Naval Station Pearl Harbor, part of the joint base, could rise more
     than 3 feet by 2065. The lowest elevation point on the base is 0.6 feet
     below sea level. The installation stated that it plans to incorporate the
     effects of climate change into the next update to its facilities master
     plan.
•    Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii, did not consider extreme
     weather or climate change effects in its most recent master plan,
     although it is co-located with Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam and
     therefore shares the same weather and climate conditions noted
     previously.
•    Fort Wainwright, Alaska, officials told us they had not considered
     climate change as part of the installation’s master planning. Officials
     noted that the majority of the base is on thaw-stable permafrost that
     would be unlikely to be significantly affected by rising temperatures,
     but some areas of the base are on less stable permafrost. DOD noted
     in its January 2019 report to Congress that thawing permafrost can
     decrease the structural stability of buildings and other infrastructure
     that is built on it. 24
•    Camp Pendleton, California, officials told us that although they are
     aware of a variety of climate-related challenges to their installation
     and have taken or plan to take some steps to address them, an
24
 Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, Report on
Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense (January 2019).




Page 17                                                   GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
    example of which we discuss later in this report, the installation has
    not yet considered extreme weather and climate change effects in its
    master plan. The officials stated that they are still planning based on
    historical conditions rather than considering possible future conditions.
DOD’s Unified Facilities Criteria standard specific to master planning
states that where changing external conditions affect planning decisions,
master planners should seek to understand, monitor, and adapt to these
changes, including changes in climatic conditions such as temperature,
rainfall patterns, storm frequency and intensity, and water levels. 25 DOD’s
directive on climate change adaptation further states that military
departments should integrate climate change considerations into their
plans. 26 The directive also states that the Assistant Secretary of Defense
for Energy, Installations, and Environment should consider climate
change adaptation and resilience in the installation planning process,
including the effects of climate change on both built and natural
infrastructure. 27

Our findings based on the 23 installations we reviewed for this report are
consistent with our prior reports on extreme weather and climate change
effects at military installations. Specifically, installations have not
consistently integrated these considerations into their master plans or
related installation planning documents. In May 2014, we reported that
some domestic installations had integrated considerations of changing
climatic conditions into their installation planning documents, but DOD
had not provided key information—such as how to use climate change
projections—to help ensure that efficient and consistent actions would be
taken across installations. We recommended that DOD further clarify the
planning actions that should be taken in installation master plans to
account for climate change, to include further information about changes
in applicable building codes and design standards that account for
potential climate change effects and further information about potential
projected climate change effects on individual installations. However, as
of January 2019, DOD had not fully implemented this recommendation.

25
   DOD, Unified Facilities Criteria 2-100-01, Installation Master Planning (May 15, 2012)
(change 1, Nov. 28, 2018).
26
   DOD Directive 4715.21, Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience (Jan. 14, 2016)
(change 1, Aug. 31, 2018).
27
   Officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense stated that following a reorganization,
these responsibilities have been taken over by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Sustainment.




Page 18                                                        GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
For example, as we discuss later in this report, DOD’s updates to its
facilities design standards lacked guidance on the use of climate
projections. DOD also had not provided information on a range of
potential effects of climate change on individual installations. DOD has
taken some positive steps in this area, such as making available to the
military services a database of sea level change scenarios for 1,774 DOD
sites worldwide. However, DOD has not provided other specific types of
climate projections, which we discuss in more depth later in this report.

Moreover, in November 2017 we reported that about a third of the
installations in our sample of overseas installations had integrated climate
change adaptation into their installation plans, but the lack of key
guidance and updated design standards to reflect climate change
concerns hampered their ability to consistently incorporate climate
change adaptation into their plans. We recommended, among other
things, that the military departments integrate climate change data and
projections into DOD’s facilities criteria and periodically revise those
standards based on any new projections, as appropriate. DOD partially
concurred, and as of January 2019, an official from the Office of the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment stated that the office was
continuing to work with the military departments to evaluate how to
effectively translate the latest climate data into a form usable by
installation planners and facilities project designers. Based on our
findings for this review, we continue to believe that DOD should take all
necessary steps to implement these recommendations.




Page 19                                           GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Installations Have Not      While 15 of the 23 installations we visited or contacted had integrated
Fully Assessed Risks from   some consideration of extreme weather or climate change effects into
                            their planning documents, only two of these installations had taken steps
Extreme Weather and
                            to fully assess the weather and climate risks to the installation or develop
Climate Change Effects in   plans to address identified risks. DOD has taken some broad actions to
their Master Plans and      assess risk to installations from extreme weather and climate change
Related Installation        effects. For example, in January 2018, DOD issued a report to Congress
Planning Documents          on the results of its survey of installations on the extent to which they
                            faced a variety of extreme weather or climate effects. However, the
                            survey responses constituted a preliminary assessment and were based
                            on installations’ reporting of negative effects they had already
                            experienced from extreme weather effects, rather than assessments of all
                            future vulnerabilities based on climate projections. DOD noted that the
                            information in the survey responses is highly qualitative and is best used
                            as an initial indicator of where a more in-depth assessment may be
                            warranted. 28

                            However, except for two of the installations in our sample, the
                            installations’ master plans and related installation planning documents did
                            not (1) identify a range of possible extreme weather events and climate
                            change effects that could affect the installation, (2) assess the likelihood
                            of each event occurring and the possible effect on the installation, and (3)
                            identify potential responses to these events. For example, Naval Air
                            Station Key West, Florida, included discussion of the effects of sea level
                            rise and storm surge on the installation in its master plan, as well as steps
                            it could take to mitigate these effects. However, although the installation
                            experienced drought conditions rated severe in 2011 and extreme in
                            2015, its master plan does not discuss effects on the installation of
                            drought, which, according to a DOD report to Congress, can pose
                            significant risks to an installation, including implications for base
                            infrastructure. 29 All of the Air Force installations in our sample rated their
                            degree of vulnerability to a range of climatic conditions—such as flood,
                            temperature rise, and precipitation pattern changes—in their master
                            plans, thereby identifying a range of possible climate events and the

                            28
                             Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics,
                            Department of Defense Climate-Related Risk to DOD Infrastructure Initial Vulnerability
                            Assessment Survey (SLVAS) Report (January 2018).
                            29
                               At the time of this review, we were also separately reviewing how DOD installations were
                            coping with water scarcity and drought. We expect to publish the final report for that
                            review in late 2019.




                            Page 20                                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
likelihood of each event. However, of those installations that identified a
range of possible extreme weather and climate change effects that could
affect the installation, most did not consistently identify potential
responses to these events. The two exceptions—Eglin Air Force Base,
Florida, and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia—took the additional step
of identifying possible actions to address these climate events. For
example, Eglin Air Force Base rated itself as having a high vulnerability to
storm surge, but a low vulnerability from rising temperatures, and
identified steps the installation could take in facilities planning and design
to mitigate the identified risks.

The DOD directive on climate adaptation states that military departments
should assess and manage risks to both built and natural infrastructure,
including changes as appropriate to installation master planning, and
should assess, incorporate, and manage the risks and effects of altered
operating environments on capabilities and capacity, including basing. 30
Moreover, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government
states that management should identify, analyze, and respond to risks
related to achieving defined objectives. Risk assessment is the
identification and analysis of risks related to achieving defined objectives
in order to form a basis for designing responses to these risks. 31 Our prior
work has shown that assessing risks includes assessing both the
likelihood of an event occurring and the effect the event would have.
Agency leaders and subject matter experts should assess each risk by
assigning the likelihood of the event’s occurrence and the potential effect
if the event occurs. 32

Despite a DOD directive requiring that the military departments assess
and manage risks to both built and natural infrastructure, DOD has not
required in the Unified Facilities Criteria standard that guides master
planning that installations assess risks posed by extreme weather and
climate change effects as part of their master plans or develop plans to
address identified risks. Officials in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Sustainment acknowledged that the Unified Facilities Criteria

30
  DOD Directive 4715.21, Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience (Jan. 14, 2016)
(change 1, Aug. 31, 2018).
31
 GAO, Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government, GAO-14-704G
(Washington, D.C.: September 2014).
32
 GAO, Enterprise Risk Management: Selected Agencies’ Experiences Illustrate Good
Practices in Managing Risk, GAO-17-63 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 1, 2016).




Page 21                                                  GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                            standard on master planning does not explicitly require a risk assessment
                            specifically for extreme weather or climate change as part of the master
                            planning process. Because installations have not consistently assessed
                            the risks from extreme weather and climate change effects as part of their
                            master plans or identified potential responses to identified risks, they may
                            formulate plans and make planning decisions without consideration of
                            those risks. By assessing and developing actions to address these risks
                            in their master plans, installations could better anticipate exposure of the
                            facilities to greater than anticipated damage or degradation as a result of
                            extreme weather events or climate change effects.


Installations Have Not      Eight of the 23 installations we visited or contacted, as well as the Air
Consistently Used Climate   Force unit responsible for the North Slope radar facilities, had made some
                            use of climate projections to incorporate consideration of extreme
Projections in Developing
                            weather and climate change effects into their master plans or related
Master Plans                installation planning documents. For example, as noted previously, the
                            611th Civil Engineer Squadron was developing its own site-specific
                            projections of coastal erosion affecting the North Slope radar sites in
                            Alaska, and Norfolk Naval Shipyard considered local sea level rise
                            projections in a study on mitigating flooding at its docks. 33 However,
                            officials from 11 of the 23 installations in our sample—including some
                            from installations that had made some use of climate projections—cited
                            the need for additional guidance from DOD or their military department
                            headquarters on which projections to use in planning or on how to use
                            them.

                            This is consistent with our prior findings on DOD’s installation-level efforts
                            to increase climate resilience. Our May 2014 report noted that installation
                            officials told us they did not have the installation-level climate data from
                            their military departments or from other DOD sources that they would
                            need to understand the potential effects of climate change on their
                            installations. 34 We recommended, among other things, that DOD provide
                            further direction on planning actions to account for climate change,
                            including information about changes in applicable building codes and
                            design standards and the projected effects of climate change on
                            33                                        th
                               As noted previously, officials of the 611 Civil Engineer Squadron said the unit is not an
                            installation and therefore is not required to develop a master plan. However, this example
                            illustrates actions that can be taken to incorporate climate projections into facilities
                            planning.
                            34
                                 GAO-14-446.




                            Page 22                                                      GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
individual installations. DOD concurred but as of January 2019 had not
fully implemented this recommendation, as noted previously. In
December 2018, an official in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Sustainment stated that DOD plans to develop a policy on
the use of sea level rise projections by some time in 2019 and eventually
to incorporate these projections into the Unified Facilities Criteria.
However, DOD has no current time table for incorporating guidance on
the use of other types of climate projections into its Unified Facilities
Criteria. The official stated that the department is working toward
eventually incorporating the use of other types of climate projections into
guidance but that these types of projections would have to be vetted by
DOD subject matter experts and approved prior to adoption. DOD intends
to move in this direction, according to the official, but DOD has not yet
developed a defined process for evaluating and incorporating the use of
additional climate projections into guidance.

Our prior work has found that using the best available climate information,
including forward-looking projections, can help an organization to manage
climate-related risks. 35 Until November 2018, DOD’s Unified Facilities
Criteria on master planning stated that changes in climate conditions are
to be determined from reliable and authorized sources of existing data but
that to anticipate conditions during the design life of existing or planned
new facilities and infrastructure, installations could also consider climate
projections from reliable and authorized sources, such as, among others,
the U.S. Global Change Research Office and the National Climate
Assessment. In November 2018, in response to a statutory requirement in
the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year
2019, DOD updated the Unified Facilities Criteria on master planning to
specify that climate projections from reliable and authorized sources,
such the U.S. Global Change Research Office and the National Climate
Assessment, shall be considered and incorporated into military
construction designs and modifications. 36 DOD guidance states that the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment
provides guidance and direction on relevant technologies, engineering
standards, tools, development and use of scenarios, and other




35
     GAO-16-37.
36
 Pub. L. No. 115-232, § 2805 (2018); Unified Facilities Criteria 2-100-01, Installation
Master Planning (May 15, 2012) (change 1, Nov. 28, 2018).




Page 23                                                      GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
approaches to enable prudent climate change adaptation and resilience. 37
The guidance also states that military departments are to leverage
authoritative environmental prediction sources for appropriate data and
analysis products to assess the effects of weather and climate. 38

Installations have not consistently used climate projections in their master
plans because DOD has not provided detailed guidance on how to do so.
Simply updating the language of the Unified Facilities Criteria on master
planning in November 2018 to require the use of climate projections does
not provide guidance to installations on how to use climate projections,
such as what future time periods to consider and how to incorporate
projections involving multiple future scenarios, nor does it identify the
specific types of projections to use. The absence of guidance has
hindered the ability of some installations to effectively apply the best
available climate projections to their installation master planning. If they
do not use climate projections in their master plans, installations risk
failing to plan for changing climate and weather conditions and, as a
result, could expose their facilities to greater risk of damage or
degradation from extreme weather events and climate change effects.
Incorporating such data into planning would help installation master
planners better anticipate changing climate and weather conditions and
increase the effectiveness of the installation’s long-term investments in its
facilities.




37
  Officials in the Office of the Secretary of Defense stated that following a reorganization,
these responsibilities have been taken over by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Sustainment.
38
     DOD Directive 4715.21.




Page 24                                                       GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Installations Have
Designed Some
Individual Facilities
Projects to Increase
Resilience to Extreme
Weather, but They
Lack Guidance on
Using Climate
Projections

Some Installations Have     Eleven of the 23 installations we visited or contacted had designed or
Designed Individual         constructed one or more individual facilities projects to increase the
                            resilience of the facilities themselves, or to increase the resilience of the
Facilities Projects with
                            installation more broadly, to extreme weather and climate change effects.
Elements of Resilience to   For example,
Extreme Weather or
Climate Change Effects      •   Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. In 2018, officials designed a
                                project to build a maintenance hangar with a special foundation that
                                would elevate the floor to 10 feet above the average high-water level
                                at the project site and protect it against coastal storm flooding. Joint
                                Base Langley-Eustis has experienced severe flooding in the past
                                because of its low-lying geographical elevations in the Chesapeake
                                Bay. The installation stated in its draft encroachment management
                                action plan that the effects of climate change may exacerbate flooding
                                issues through sea level rise or the increasing frequency and severity
                                of storms.
                            •   Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia. In 2018, shipyard officials designed
                                a project to increase the installation’s resilience to storm-induced
                                flooding, including building a floodwall to protect the dry docks that are
                                used to perform maintenance on ships and submarines. Norfolk Naval
                                Shipyard experiences extreme high tides three to five times a year on
                                average and a significant hurricane on average once a year,
                                according to an installation presentation, and flooding has been
                                increasing over time in the area as relative sea levels have risen. The
                                floodwall will enclose the dry docks, providing protection to critical
                                assets and electrical utilities while they are in dry dock, among other



                            Page 25                                            GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
    things. Figure 5 depicts a flooded dry dock at Norfolk Naval Shipyard,
    Virginia. Installation officials told us that flooding into dry docks poses
    risks to the ships being serviced there and to the performance of the
    base’s mission of servicing and maintaining Navy ships and
    submarines.

Figure 5: Flooding at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia




•   Camp Pendleton, California. In 2018, as part of a project to construct
    a new aircraft landing zone, officials included protection of the nearby
    coastline, which had been rapidly eroding from the impact of ocean
    waves and rain storms. According to officials, the erosion has
    accelerated in recent years and has threatened not only landing
    zones along the coast, but also beaches that are used for amphibious
    assault training. Figure 6 depicts coastal erosion near a landing zone
    at Camp Pendleton, California. According to officials, the erosion
    leading to the gulley shown in the photograph has accelerated in
    recent years and advances further inland every year; it is now within
    feet of the landing zone. The officials told us that the erosion can
    threaten the function of the landing zone if it reaches that site.




Page 26                                                  GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                           Figure 6: Coastal Erosion at Camp Pendleton, California




                           •   Fort Shafter, Hawaii. In 2016, officials constructed flood mitigation
                               structures, including a flood control levee, to protect maintenance
                               facilities being built in a flood zone. At the time, there were no
                               adequate permanent maintenance facilities for units stationed at the
                               base, and the only available land big enough to support the proposed
                               maintenance facilities was located within a flood zone.

Most Installations Have    Despite limited efforts to increase the resilience of facilities to extreme
Not Used Climate           weather and climate change effects, officials from 17 of the military
                           installations in our sample said that their individual facilities project
Projections in Designing
                           designs generally did not consider climate projections. Of the installations
Individual Facilities      that stated that they considered climate projections in facilities project
Projects                   designs, one military installation said it uses a study on sea level rise at
                           the installation as a tool that incorporates forward-looking projections, and
                           another installation said it uses a NOAA web-based tool, Sea Level Rise
                           Viewer, for graphical representations of projected sea level rise. One
                           installation noted that it had considered sea level rise projections in a pier
                           design, which we discuss further below. A fourth installation said it plans
                           to use a draft Navy study on the vulnerability of coastal Navy installations
                           to sea level rise to inform an upcoming facilities project design. However,



                           Page 27                                               GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
another installation said it has used energy consumption projections,
which are not climate projections, and another installation cited a Navy
climate adaptation handbook, which does not include climate projections
for individual Navy installations.

Moreover, over the course of our review of 23 installations, we were able
to identify only one project as having a design informed by climate
projections. Specifically, in 2018, officials from Naval Base San Diego,
California, designed a project to demolish and replace an existing pier.
The project’s design was informed by the expectation of sea level rise
over the 75-year lifespan of the pier. An installation official told us that the
consideration of rising sea levels was not part of the original project
proposal, but when a contractor provided the sea level rise projections,
installation officials decided to raise the pier by one foot. Figure 7 depicts
a notional example of a pier—not specific to San Diego or any other
particular location—raised to account for sea level rise. The Unified
Facilities Criteria on piers and wharves states that the bottom elevation of
the deck slab should be kept at least one foot above the extreme high
water level. In this notional example, the pier is raised to account for an
anticipated one-foot sea level rise, so that the bottom of the deck slab
remains one foot above the extreme high water level, as shown in the
figure.

Figure 7: Notional Example of Pier Raised to Account for Sea Level Rise




a
 Extreme high water is the highest elevation reached by the sea as recorded by a tide gauge during a
given period, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Shoreline website.


DOD guidance requires the military departments to assess and manage
risks to both built and natural infrastructure, including making changes, as
appropriate, to design and construction standards. The guidance also
requires the military departments to leverage authoritative environmental




Page 28                                                           GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
prediction sources for appropriate data and analysis products to assess
weather and climate effects. 39

However, DOD’s Unified Facilities Criteria pertaining to project design,
with the exception of the standard on high performance and sustainable
building requirements, do not require consideration of climate projections
as part of facilities project designs. The Unified Facilities Criteria standard
on high performance and sustainable building requirements requires
engineers to provide building design solutions that are responsive to any
government-provided projections of climate change and determination of
acceptable risk. 40 We analyzed 27 core Unified Facilities Criteria, as well
as 3 other Unified Facilities Criteria, Installation Master Planning, Design:
Engineering Weather Data, DOD Building Code (General Building
Requirements), and one facility criteria standard on Navy and Marine
Corps Design Procedures. Our analysis showed that as of March 2019
these criteria, other than the Unified Facilities Criteria standard on
installation master planning, do not identify authoritative sources of
climate projections for use in facilities project designs. The Unified
Facilities Criteria standard on installation master planning states that
climate projections from the U.S. Global Change Research Program and
the National Climate Assessment as well as the National Academy of
Sciences shall be considered and incorporated into military construction
designs and modifications. However, an official in the Office of the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment acknowledged that this
requirement in the standard on installation master planning is not
sufficient on its own to apply to all facility project designs. Additionally, the
standard on installation master planning does not identify the specific
types of climate projections to use or how to locate them. Our analysis
showed that the Unified Facilities Criteria do not provide guidance on how
to incorporate projections into facilities project designs, such as how to
use projections involving multiple future scenarios and what future time
periods to consider.

We found that while some Unified Facilities Criteria direct project
designers to climate data, these are historical climate data rather than
projections. For example, the following standards do not direct project
designers to sources of climate projections:

39
     DOD Directive 4715.21.
40
 Unified Facilities Criteria 1-200-02, High Performance and Sustainable Building
Requirements (Dec. 1, 2016) (change 3, Sept. 7, 2018).




Page 29                                                    GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
•    Unified Facilities Criteria 3-210-10, Low Impact Development (June 1,
     2015) (change 1, Feb. 1, 2016). This guidance directs project
     designers to use long-term rainfall records, such as those from
     regional weather stations, and directs engineers toward a table that
     provides rainfall data for selected locations. However, information
     included in the guidance is historical and does not include or refer to
     projections.
•    Unified Facilities Criteria 3-400-02, Design: Engineering Weather Data
     (Sept. 20, 2018). This guidance directs project designers toward
     instructions for accessing climate data for use in designing facilities
     and in mission planning. However, the guidance does not discuss the
     use of or specifically reference climate projections.
•    Unified Facilities Criteria 3-201-01, Civil Engineering (Apr. 1, 2018)
     (change 1, Mar. 19, 2019). This guidance requires project designers
     to plan for flood hazard areas and, if the project is constructed within
     the 100-year floodplain, requires that the project design document
     include flood mitigation measures as part of the project’s scope of
     work. 41 However, the guidance does not include or reference
     projections that would help engineers design for various potential
     flooding scenarios.
As previously noted, in response to a statutory requirement, DOD
updated its Unified Facilities Criteria on master planning in November
2018 to require installations to consider and incorporate reliable and
authorized sources of data on changing environmental conditions.
However, simply including this language does not provide guidance to
installations on what sources of climate projections to consider and how
to use them in designing facilities projects, such as what future time
periods to consider and how to incorporate projections involving multiple
future scenarios. In addition, the Unified Facilities Criteria standard on
master planning provides requirements and guidance for installation
master planning but not for the design of individual facilities projects. An
official of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment
stated that his office plans to develop a policy on the use of sea level rise
projections by some time in 2019 and eventually to incorporate guidance
on how to use sea level rise projections into the Unified Facilities Criteria
or other guidance. This official added that there is currently no defined
DOD process for vetting authoritative sources of climate projections, but


41
 The 100-year floodplain is a land area covered by a flood that has a 1 percent chance of
occurring in any given year, also known as the base flood.




Page 30                                                    GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
              that DOD plans to continue vetting sources for possible use, as
              appropriate.

              Furthermore, officials of 10 of the 23 military installations we reviewed
              stated that in order to incorporate such projections into project designs,
              they would need additional guidance from DOD or their military
              departments identifying authoritative sources of such projections or how
              to use climate projections that involve multiple future scenarios and
              different time periods. Ultimately, installations that do not consider climate
              projections in the design of their facilities projects may be investing in
              facilities projects without considering potential risks, such as potential
              future damage and degradation, which are associated with additional
              costs and reductions in capability. If DOD does not provide guidance on
              the use of climate projections in facilities designs, including what sources
              of climate projections to use, how to use projections involving multiple
              future scenarios, and what future time periods to consider, installation
              project designers will continue to lack direction on how to use climate
              projections. Further, if DOD does not update the Unified Facilities Criteria
              to require installations to consider climate projections in project designs
              and incorporate the department’s guidance on how to use climate
              projections in project designs, installation project designers may continue
              to exclude consideration of climate projections from facilities project
              designs. Considering climate projections in facilities projects would help
              DOD to reduce the climate-related risks to its facilities investments.


              DOD has a global real estate portfolio that supports the department’s
Conclusions   global workforce and its readiness to execute its national security
              missions. The department has repeatedly acknowledged the threats of
              extreme weather and climate change effects to its installations, and as we
              have previously reported, has begun taking steps to increase the
              resilience of its infrastructure to these threats. We found that 15 of the 23
              the installations we visited or contacted had considered some type of
              extreme weather or climate change effects in their plans, a positive step
              toward increasing resilience to these climate risks. However, not all had
              done so and most of the installations we visited or contacted did not fully
              assess the risks associated with extreme weather and climate change
              effects—including the likelihood of the threat, potential effects on the
              installation, and possible responses to mitigate such effects. Likewise,
              many of the installations did not consider climate projections in planning.
              Without fully assessing the risks of extreme weather and climate change
              effects, and without considering climate projections as part of the
              planning process, installations may make planning decisions that do not


              Page 31                                             GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                      fully anticipate future climate conditions. By seeking to anticipate future
                      climate conditions, DOD may be able to reduce climate-related risks to its
                      facilities and the corresponding budgetary risks.

                      Eleven of the 23 installations we visited or contacted had designed or
                      implemented one or more construction projects that incorporated
                      resilience to extreme weather or climate change effects. These projects
                      illustrate some of the steps that can be taken to increase an installation’s
                      resilience to climate risks. However, most of the installations had not
                      considered climate projections in project design. Considering climate
                      projections in facilities projects would help DOD to reduce the climate-
                      related risks to its facilities investments. By updating its facilities project
                      design standards to require installations to consider climate projections in
                      project designs, identifying authoritative sources of climate projections,
                      and providing guidance on how to use climate projections, DOD can aid
                      installations to better position themselves to be resilient to the risks of
                      extreme weather and climate change effects.


                      We are making eight recommendations, including two to DOD and two to
Recommendations for   each of the military departments. Specifically,
Executive Action
                      The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Chief of Engineers and
                      Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works with
                      the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment; the Chief of Civil
                      Engineers and Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command; and
                      the Director of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center to update the Unified
                      Facilities Criteria standard on installation master planning to require that
                      master plans include (1) an assessment of the risks from extreme
                      weather and climate change effects that are specific to the installation
                      and (2) plans to address those risks as appropriate. (Recommendation 1)

                      The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that the Chief of Civil Engineers
                      and Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command works with the
                      Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, the Chief of Engineers
                      and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the
                      Director of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center to update the Unified
                      Facilities Criteria standard on installation master planning to require that
                      master plans include (1) an assessment of the risks from extreme
                      weather and climate change effects that are specific to the installation
                      and (2) plans to address those risks as appropriate. (Recommendation 2)




                      Page 32                                             GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
The Secretary of the Air Force should ensure that the Director of the Air
Force Civil Engineer Center works with the Assistant Secretary of
Defense for Sustainment; the Chief of Engineers and Commanding
General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and the Chief of Civil
Engineers and Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command to
update the Unified Facilities Criteria standard on installation master
planning to require that master plans include (1) an assessment of the
risks from extreme weather and climate change effects that are specific to
the installation and (2) plans to address those risks as appropriate.
(Recommendation 3)

The Secretary of Defense should issue guidance on incorporating climate
projections into installation master planning, including—at a minimum—
what sources of climate projections to use, how to use projections
involving multiple future scenarios, and what future time periods to
consider. (Recommendation 4)

The Secretary of Defense should issue guidance on incorporating climate
projections into facilities project designs, including—at a minimum—what
sources of climate projections to use, how to use projections involving
multiple future scenarios, and what future time periods to consider.
(Recommendation 5)

The Secretary of the Army should ensure that the Chief of Engineers and
Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works with
the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment; the Chief of Civil
Engineers and Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command; and
the Director of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center to update relevant
Unified Facilities Criteria to require that installations consider climate
projections in designing facilities projects and incorporate, as appropriate,
DOD guidance on the use of climate projections in facilities project
designs—including identification of authoritative sources of such
projections, use of projections involving multiple future scenarios, and
what future time periods to consider. (Recommendation 6)

The Secretary of the Navy should ensure that the Chief of Civil Engineers
and Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command works with the
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, the Chief of Engineers
and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the
Director of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center to update relevant Unified
Facilities Criteria to require that installations consider climate projections
in designing facilities projects and incorporate, as appropriate, DOD
guidance on the use of climate projections in facilities project designs—


Page 33                                             GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                     including identification of authoritative sources of such projections, use of
                     projections involving multiple future scenarios, and what future time
                     periods to consider. (Recommendation 7)

                     The Secretary of the Air Force should ensure that the Director of the Air
                     Force Civil Engineer Center works with the Assistant Secretary of
                     Defense for Sustainment; the Chief of Engineers and Commanding
                     General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and the Chief of Civil
                     Engineers and Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command to
                     update relevant Unified Facilities Criteria to require that installations
                     consider climate projections in designing facilities projects and
                     incorporate, as appropriate, DOD guidance on the use of climate
                     projections in facilities project designs—including identification of
                     authoritative sources of such projections, use of projections involving
                     multiple future scenarios, and what future time periods to consider.
                     (Recommendation 8)


                     We provided a draft of this report for review and comment to DOD and
Agency Comments      NOAA. In written comments, DOD concurred with all eight of our
and Our Evaluation   recommendations and identified actions it plans to take to address two of
                     them. DOD’s comments are reprinted in their entirety in appendix II. DOD
                     also provided technical comments, which we incorporated as appropriate.
                     NOAA did not provide any comments on the draft.




                     Page 34                                            GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
We are sending copies of this report to the appropriate congressional
addressees; the Secretary of Defense; the Secretaries of the
Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; and the Secretary of
Commerce (for NOAA). In addition, this report will be available at no
charge on the GAO website at http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staff have any questions about this report, please contact
Diana Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or at maurerd@gao.gov. Contact points
for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be
found on the last page of this report. GAO staff who made key
contributions to this report are listed in appendix III.




Diana Maurer,
Director
Defense Capabilities and Management




Page 35                                          GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
List of Addressees

The Honorable John Boozman
Chairman
The Honorable Brian Schatz
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related
Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
United States Senate

The Honorable Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chairwoman
The Honorable John Carter
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related
Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
House of Representatives

The Honorable Jack Reed
Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate




Page 36                                         GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology
             Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




             Senate Report 115-130, accompanying a bill for fiscal year 2018
             appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans
             Affairs, and related agencies, cited concerns with the frequency and costs
             of extreme weather events and the potential effects of climate change,
             and included a provision for us to review the Department of Defense’s
             (DOD) progress in developing a means to account for potentially
             damaging weather in its project designs. 1 In response to this provision,
             we examined the extent to which DOD has taken steps to incorporate
             resilience to extreme weather and climate change effects into (1)
             installation master plans and related planning documents, and (2)
             individual installation facilities projects.

             For both of our objectives, we visited or requested information from a
             sample of domestic military installations. We focused on domestic
             installations because our November 2017 report focused on foreign
             installations. 2 To develop this sample, we selected installations in the
             continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories that had
             identified one or more climate-related vulnerabilities, based on their past
             experiences, in a DOD-administered survey of climate vulnerabilities, or
             installations that were referenced in a prior GAO report on weather and
             climate risks at DOD installations. In addition to these criteria, we
             selected sites that represented both a diversity in types of climate
             vulnerabilities and geographic diversity among the military services, as
             well as installations involved in any climate change-related pilot studies. 3
             From these criteria, we developed a non-generalizable sample of 23
             installations. We also included in the sample one Air Force unit (not an
             installation) with responsibilities for particular facilities of interest in
             Alaska, because these facilities presented a climatic vulnerability
             (accelerating coastal erosion) that was not necessarily included
             elsewhere in the sample.

             We visited 10 of these installations, as well as the Air Force unit in
             Alaska, in person. Within the sample, we selected installations to visit

             1
                 S. Rep. No. 115-130, at 12-13 (2017).
             2
              GAO, Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Needs to Better Incorporate Adaptation into
             Planning and Collaboration at Overseas Installations, GAO-18-206 (Washington, D.C.:
             Nov. 13, 2017).
             3
              We considered climate vulnerabilities as identified by DOD in its survey of climate
             vulnerabilities. These included flooding due to storm surge, flooding due to non-storm
             surge, extreme temperatures, wind, drought, wildfire, and changes in mean sea level.




             Page 37                                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




based on geographic diversity and installations in proximity to each other,
allowing us to visit multiple installations on each trip. For the remaining 13
installations, we developed and administered a questionnaire and
document request. We received responses from 12 of these installations.
One installation—Camp Lejeune—sustained significant damage from
Hurricane Florence in September 2018, and to minimize the burden on
installation officials’ time to respond, we met with them by phone. Results
from our nongeneralizable sample cannot be used to make inferences
about all DOD locations. However, the information from these installations
provides valuable insights. We asked similar questions to installations on
our site visits and in the questionnaires, and we collected similar
documents—such as installation master plans and individual facilities
project documents— allowing us to report on similar information, such as
the extent to which extreme weather and climate change considerations
were integrated into installation master plans and individual facilities
projects.

For objective one, we reviewed DOD policies, guidance, and standards
related to increasing climate resilience and conducting installation master
planning. These documents included, among others, DOD Directive
4715.21, which establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for DOD to
assess and manage risks associated with climate change; DOD’s Unified
Facilities Criteria standard on installation master planning, which
establishes the requirements for installation master plans; and a
memorandum from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition, Technology and Logistics on floodplain management on DOD
installations. 4 We interviewed officials in the Office of the Assistant
Secretary of Defense for Sustainment and the Strategic Environmental
Research and Development Program. We also interviewed officials in
each of the military departments, including officials involved with
installation policy, as well as officials from the engineering organizations
of each military department and officials in the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration to discuss climate science and the data
potentially available for planners to use. We reviewed documents from
each of the 23 installations and the one Air Force unit in our sample,
including master plans, and used interviews with installation officials and

4
  DOD Directive 4715.21, Climate Change Adaptation Resilience (Jan. 14, 2016) (change
1, Aug. 31, 2018); DOD, Unified Facilities Criteria 2-100-01, Installation Master Planning
(May 15, 2012) (change 1, Nov. 28, 2018); Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for
Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, Floodplain Management on Department of
Defense Installations (Feb. 11, 2014).




Page 38                                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




questionnaires received from installations to determine the extent to
which the installations had incorporated consideration of extreme weather
and climate change effects into their installation plans. We compared
DOD’s actions to take steps in installation planning to increase resilience
to extreme weather and climate change effects with DOD guidance on
climate change adaptation and resilience, Unified Facilities Criteria
standards, federal internal control standards, and best practices for
enterprise risk management. 5

For objective two, we reviewed DOD guidance, including DOD Directive
4715.21, requiring DOD components to integrate climate change
considerations into DOD plans. We also reviewed DOD’s facilities project
design standards—the Unified Facilities Criteria—to determine the extent
to which installations incorporated requirements for climate resilience and
to identify any required or recommended climate data sources for facilities
project design. Specifically, we reviewed the 27 core Unified Facilities
Criteria standards, as well as 3 other Unified Facilities Criteria standards
outside of the core 27—because of their broad relevance to project
design—and one facility criteria on Navy and Marine Corps design
procedures. Additionally, we performed a content analysis of these
criteria for references to climate, weather, environment, and any climate
data to be used as a basis for facilities design. We also identified any
required or recommended climate data sources or tools for facilities
design by searching for references, web links, or tables related to climate
data within the criteria. Where climate data sources were identified, we
reviewed them to determine the extent to which the sources and tools
involved historical data or climate projections that anticipate future climate
conditions. We interviewed officials from the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, and the Air Force Civil
Engineer Center to understand the extent to which the Unified Facilities
Criteria include guidance or data sources for adapting DOD facilities to
extreme weather and climate change effects.

In addition, we used interviews with installation officials and
questionnaires we received from installations to determine the extent to
which the installations had planned or executed any military construction
or sustainment, restoration, and modernization facilities projects since

5
 DOD Directive 4715.21; Unified Facilities Criteria 2-100-01; GAO, Standards for Internal
Control in the Federal Government, GAO-14-704G (Washington, D.C.: September 2014);
GAO, Enterprise Risk Management: Selected Agencies’ Experiences Illustrate Good
Practices in Managing Risk, GAO-17-63 (Washington, D.C.: Dec. 1, 2016).




Page 39                                                    GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                                         Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




                                         2013 that included any elements for building resilience to extreme
                                         weather or climate change effects. We then reviewed project
                                         documentation for proposed or approved facilities projects to identify the
                                         resilience measures taken. We also observed some facilities-related
                                         climate resilience measures adopted by these installations. In addition,
                                         we interviewed officials from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of
                                         Defense for Sustainment to determine what plans, if any, the office had to
                                         update Unified Facilities Criteria with climate resilience requirements. We
                                         also interviewed officials from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the
                                         Army for Installations, Energy and Environment; the Office of the
                                         Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and
                                         Environment; and the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force,
                                         Installations, Environment and Energy to identify any actions, policies, or
                                         processes related to adapting facilities to extreme weather and climate
                                         change effects. Moreover, we interviewed officials from the American
                                         Society of Civil Engineers to understand what efforts, if any, had been
                                         made to incorporate climate projections into industry standards. Finally,
                                         we compared the extent to which DOD took steps in its facilities projects
                                         and its project design standards to increase resilience with DOD guidance
                                         on climate change resilience.

                                         Table 3 lists the locations we visited or contacted during this review,
                                         including the installations receiving our questionnaire.

Table 3: Department of Defense Installations and one Air Force Unit We Visited or Contacted during this Review

Military Department                                            Location
Department of the Army                                         Fort Wainwright, Alaska
                                                               Fort Irwin, California
                                                               Fort Shafter, Hawaii
                                                               Corpus Christi Army Depot, Texas
Department of the Navy                                         Camp Pendleton, California
                                                               Naval Base San Diego, California
                                                               Naval Air Station Key West, Florida
                                                               Naval Base Guam, Guam
                                                               Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
                                                               Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Hawaii
                                                               Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, Hawaii
                                                               Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
                                                               Parris Island, South Carolina
                                                               Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Texas




                                         Page 40                                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
                              Appendix I: Scope and Methodology




Military Department                                 Location
                                                    Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia
                                                    Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia
                                                    Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Virginia
                                                    Naval Base Kitsap, Washington
Department of the Air Force                         611th Civil Engineer Squadron, Alaska
                                                    Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
                                                    Luke Air Force Base, Arizona
                                                    Edwards Air Force Base, California
                                                    Eglin Air Force Base, Florida
                                                    Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia
Source: GAO. | GAO-19-453




                              Page 41                                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
             Appendix II: Comments from the Department
             of Defense



of Defense




             Page 42                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 43                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 44                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Appendix II: Comments from the Department
of Defense




Page 45                                     GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Appendix III: GAO Contact and Staff
                  Acknowledgments



Acknowledgments


                  Diana Maurer at (202) 512-9627 or maurerd@gao.gov.
GAO Contact
                  In addition to the contact named above, Brian J. Lepore (Director, retired),
Staff             Kristy Williams (Assistant Director), Michael Armes, Kendall Childers,
Acknowledgments   Simon Hirschfeld, Joanne Landesman, Amie Lesser, Grace Meany,
                  Shahrzad Nikoo, Samantha Piercy, Monica Savoy, Benjamin Sclafani,
                  Joseph Dean Thompson, and Jack Wang made key contributions to this
                  report.




                  Page 46                                           GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
Related GAO Products
             Related GAO Products




             High-Risk Series: Substantial Efforts Needed to Achieve Greater
             Progress on High-Risk Areas, GAO-19-157SP. Washington, D.C.: March
             6, 2019.

             Climate Change: Analysis of Reported Federal Funding. GAO-18-223.
             Washington, D.C.: April 30, 2018.

             Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Needs to Better Incorporate Adaptation
             into Planning and Collaboration at Overseas Installations. GAO-18-206.
             Washington, D.C.: November 13, 2017.

             Climate Change: Information on Potential Economic Effects Could Help
             Guide Federal Efforts to Reduce Fiscal Exposure. GAO-17-720.
             Washington, D.C.: September 28, 2017.

             High-Risk Series: Progress on Many High-Risk Areas, While Substantial
             Efforts Needed on Others. GAO-17-317. Washington, D.C.: February 15,
             2017.

             Climate Change: Improved Federal Coordination Could Facilitate Use of
             Forward-Looking Climate Information in Design Standards, Building
             Codes, and Certifications. GAO-17-3. Washington, D.C.: November 30,
             2016.

             Defense Infrastructure: DOD Efforts to Prevent and Mitigate
             Encroachment at Its Installations. GAO-17-86. Washington, D.C.:
             November 14, 2016.

             Climate Information: A National System Could Help Federal, State, Local,
             and Private Sector Decision Makers Use Climate Information.
             GAO-16-37. Washington, D.C.: November 23, 2015.

             High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO-15-290. Washington, D.C.: February
             11, 2015.

             Budget Issues: Opportunities to Reduce Federal Fiscal Exposures
             Through Greater Resilience to Climate Change and Extreme Weather.
             GAO-14-504T. Washington, D.C.: July 29, 2014.

             Climate Change Adaptation: DOD Can Improve Infrastructure Planning
             and Processes to Better Account for Potential Impacts. GAO-14-446.
             Washington, D.C.: May 30, 2014.



             Page 47                                         GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
           Related GAO Products




           Extreme Weather Events: Limiting Federal Fiscal Exposure and
           Increasing the Nation’s Resilience. GAO-14-364T. Washington, D.C.:
           February 12, 2014.

           Climate Change: Energy Infrastructure Risks and Adaptation Efforts.
           GAO-14-74. Washington, D.C.: January 31, 2014.

           Climate Change: Federal Efforts Under Way to Assess Water
           Infrastructure Vulnerabilities and Address Adaptation Challenges.
           GAO-14-23. Washington, D.C.: November 14, 2013.

           Climate Change: State Should Further Improve Its Reporting on Financial
           Support to Developing Countries to Meet Future Requirements and
           Guidelines. GAO-13-829. Washington, D.C.: September 19, 2013.

           Climate Change: Various Adaptation Efforts Are Under Way at Key
           Natural Resource Management Agencies. GAO-13-253. Washington,
           D.C.: May 31, 2013.

           Climate Change: Future Federal Adaptation Efforts Could Better Support
           Local Infrastructure Decision Makers. GAO-13-242. Washington, D.C.:
           April 12, 2013.

           High-Risk Series: An Update. GAO-13-283. Washington, D.C.: February
           14, 2013.

           International Climate Change Assessments: Federal Agencies Should
           Improve Reporting and Oversight of U.S. Funding. GAO-12-43.
           Washington, D.C.: November 17, 2011.

           Climate Change Adaptation: Federal Efforts to Provide Information Could
           Help Government Decision Making. GAO-12-238T. Washington, D.C.:
           November 16, 2011.




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           Page 48                                         GAO-19-453 Climate Resilience
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