The Union of Concerned Scientists
has released a new report which is raising concerns about how climate change
and soaring temperatures are going to impact the U.S. military
. The research analyzed the increasing frequency of days with dangerous heat at sizeable Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy installations in the contiguous United States. The research found that by mid-century, those facilities will experience nearly five times as many days with a heat index above 100°F as they have historically. As a result, living, working and training at U.S. military bases is going to incur higher risk and become more challenging over the next couple of decades with all branches of the military affected.
Military Health System data
shows that the military is already experiencing an increase in heat-related illnesses. Poignantly, very few cases have been recorded in Iraq and Afghanistan where service members have to work in extreme temperatures every day. In 2018, there were nearly 2,800 cases of heat-related illness among active-duty member of the military and only 67 of those were recorded among personnel deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2014, the total number of cases was far lower at 1,851 with 48 cases documented in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over the past five years, 40 percent of all heat-related illnesses occurred on five sprawling bases in the Southeast of the United States. During the same period, only 8 percent occurred overseas. The Military Health System, outlined the severity of the growing problem by saying that "even though numerous effective countermeasures are available, heat-related illness remains a significant threat to the health and operational effectiveness of military members and their units and accounts for considerable morbidity, particularly during recruit training in the U.S. military".