Objective

The overall objective of this project is to combine existing analytical methodologies into a systems1 approach that accounts for the mission consequences of climate-driven environmental threats, particularly in the cold regions socio-technical context. The underlying methodology will 1) account for future forecasts of environmental hazards, 2) trace the propagation of disruptions from community and installation infrastructure to mission function(s), 3) evaluate capacities to acceptably cope with disruption and recover functionality, and 4) provide prospects for adaptive design for use in the planning. The changing environment in northern latitudes is producing emerging risks that necessitate greater characterization of their nature and impact pathways. A coupled community-installation understanding of threats to missions via infrastructure is important for identifying prospective interventions to reduce risk and enhance resilience. This project will focus on specific installation and surrounding community infrastructure exposed to unique and compounded threats associated with the Arctic domain, which include, Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base, the North Warning System (Air Force 611th early warning sites) along the Alaska coast, and Thule Air Base, Greenland. These locations represent a variety of geographic and mission settings, encompass a variety of environmental conditions, and represent differing climate change responses, associated stressors, and levels of risk. The analysis will have the flexibility to accommodate these varying installation mission requirements and the surrounding community needs.

Technology Description

To develop the integrated analysis, the project team will draw upon existing models and available data on climate projections, fundamental resilience frameworks, and system dynamics modeling. Linking hazard analysis into a resilience-focused causal chain will enable a broad system-level understanding of interdependencies between an installation and the surrounding communities as they affect mission capabilities and resource needs.

Benefits

This project will enhance the ability of the Department of Defense to fulfill its mission critical functions in cold regions. The report to Congress on Military Structures in Permafrost identified six military construction (MILCON) projects at Eielson Air Force Base, since 2016, with an estimated cost ranging from $12.8 to $44.9 million. Due to thawing permafrost, mitigation costs ranged from 1% to 7% of the total construction cost. The potential geologic hazards considered most likely to affect design and construction include permafrost degradation and its response to earthquakes. Permafrost soils, once thawed, are expected to be susceptible to earthquake induced liquefaction, which can be catastrophic. Natural hazard mitigation generates a sixfold return on investment according to the National Institute of Building Sciences. With planned Arctic MILCON infrastructure investments in the millions of dollars, climate informed installation planning will result in operational improvements as well as cost savings. Information on the magnitude of possible infrastructure damage will inform the resilience decision making process to safeguard mission fulfilment, despite disruption.

 

1Systems within a system of inter-related and interdependent elements.