Testimony Before The U.S. House of Representatives' Select Committee On Energy Independence And Global Warming
General Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.)
Chairman, Military Advisory Board
To The CNA Corporation Report
“National Security and the Threat Of Climate Change”
My name is Gordon Sullivan. I have served America as a Soldier since 1955. My last duty position was as Army Chief of Staff — 1991 to 1995. I retired from Active service in 1995 and have been the President of the Association of the United States Army — Army's professional Association — since 1998. Thus, I have been in or involved with the Army for over 50 years.
Today I am here as Chairman of the Military Advisory Board to The CNA Corporation report on “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.” The Advisory Board consists of 3 and 4 star Flag Officers from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Our charge was to learn as much as we could in a relatively short period about the emerging phenomenon of global climate change using our experience as military leaders to process our learning through a National Security lens. In other words, What are the National Security implications of climate change?
Subsequent to my retirement, I co-authored a book — “Hope is Not a Method”.
The title telegraphs the guiding principle of my experiences as a leader. Simply stated, if all you do is hope good things will happen and bad things will not happen you and your organization could be doomed to failure. If on the other hand, you and your team assess your environment — understand your mission, your capabilities, your tasks, and know how to organize — and then train and equip your forces to succeed, you will succeed. But you must do something — you simply cannot hope for a successful future.
When I was asked to be on the Military Advisory Board, I was both pleased and skeptical. Pleased because of one simple and straightforward fact — I am almost 70 years old, I have served my country for over 50 years in both peace and war and now in the late stages of my life I feel as if the sacrifices I and my soldiers, colleagues, friends and my family made for America are now being overtaken by a much more powerful and significant challenge to the health and well-being of my 3 grandchildren and their children.
Having said this, I must admit I came to the Advisory Board as a skeptic. There is lots of conflicting information on the subject of climate change and like most public policy issues in America, many opinions, which is what makes America great.
After listening to leaders of the scientific, business, and governmental communities both I and my colleagues came to agree that Global Climate Change is and will be a significant threat to our National Security and in a larger sense to life on earth as we know it to be.
Findings of the Military Advisory Board
Recommendations of the Military Advisory Board
Climate change, National Security and energy dependence are inter-related. Hoping that these relationships will remain static is simply not acceptable given our training and experience as military leaders. Speaking for the members of the Military Advisory Board, I am confident in stating we as individuals and collectively support your legislative initiative to authorize a National Intelligence Estimate on the National Security Implications of Climate Change.
Mr. Chairman, I request my statement and the report to be entered into the record.