January 29, 2010
Global climate change is changing the environment, and these changes are happening most rapidly in the Arctic. The U.S. is a maritime nation, and, because the Arctic is an ocean, and one that includes our territorial waters, the Navy must respond to the changes in this region. Admiral Gary Roughead, the Chief of Naval Operations, created Task Force Climate Change (TFCC) in May 2009 to identify what implications the changing Arctic and global environment will have on the Navy and to establish the framework for developing Navy responsibilities. TFCC’s first major deliverable was the Navy’s Arctic Roadmap, released in Nov 2009. The document guides Navy policy, investment, action, and public discussion regarding the Arctic, capitalizes on the Navy’s extensive experience in the region, and emphasizes cooperative partnerships in joint surveys, research, search and rescue, Maritime Domain Awareness, and incident response. The Navy views the changes in the Arctic as a challenge, not a crisis, and acknowledges that, while maritime activity is likely to increase, the risk of conflict is low in the region. However, the Navy understands that it must consider responses to the changing Arctic environment from many different nations, including Russia, China, and Japan. The Navy believes the U.N. Convention for the Law of the Sea provides a framework to resolve disputes in the Arctic. Despite the decline in sea ice in the region, the Arctic will remain a harsh environment in which to operate, limiting rapid changes in the level of activity at least in the near-term. TFCC is developing a Navy roadmap to guide action regarding climate change impacts in regions other than the Arctic. Areas under review in this roadmap include: (1) Assessment and prediction, including air-ocean-ice modeling; networked observing systems including unmanned undersea vehicles & gliders; (2) Adaptation strategies to reduce risks associated with sea level rise, changing environments, and potential changes in the geo-political environment; and (3) Mitigation through SECNAV’s energy security & efficiency goals Climate Change implications for the Navy include the near-term issues of the changing Arctic and opportunities for new partnerships on climate change adaptation efforts. Mid-term concerns include sea level rise impact on installations and plans; water & resource challenges, and potential for increase in Humanitarian Relief / Disaster Response (HA/DR). A number of scientific “wild cards” must also be considered, such as ocean acidification impact on ecosystems; abrupt climate change; geoengineering. In conclusion, climate change presents both opportunities and challenges to the Navy & Nation as a whole, and the Navy is taking a leading role within the Department of Defense in responding to these.
Rear Admiral David W. Titley is the Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy. A native of Schenectady, N.Y., Rear Admiral Titley was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officers Training Commissioning program in 1980. While aboard USS Farragut (DDG 37) from 1980-1983, Titley served as navigator, qualified as a surface warfare officer, and transferred to the Oceanography community the following year. Subsequent sea duty included tours as oceanographer aboard USS Belleau Wood (LHA 3) 1985-1987, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) in 1990, Carrier Group 6 1993-1995 and U.S. 7th Fleet 1998-2000. Titley has completed seven deployments to the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific theaters. His Belleau Wood deployment included winter-time amphibious operations north of the Aleutian Islands. Titley has commanded the Fleet Numerical Meteorological and Oceanographic Center in Monterey Calif., and was the first commanding officer of the Naval Oceanography Operations Command. He served his initial flag tour as commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. Previous shore tours include assignments at the Regional Oceanography Centers at Pearl Harbor and Guam, the Naval Oceanographic Office, on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition), Office of Mine and Undersea Warfare, as the executive assistant to the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) and as chief of staff, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command. Titley also served on the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, as Special Assistant to the Chairman (Admiral (ret.) James Watkins) for Physical Oceanography and as senior military assistant to the Director of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In 2009, Titley assumed duties as oceanographer and navigator of the Navy. Education includes a Bachelor of Science in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University, a Master of Science in meteorology and physical oceanography and a Ph.D in meteorology, both from the Naval Postgraduate School. His dissertation concentrated on better understanding Tropical Cyclone Intensification. In 2003-2004, Titley attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Seminar XXI on Foreign Politics, International Relations and National Interest. He was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2009.