Gabram: Army Committed to Installation Resilience

Gabram: Army Committed to Installation Resilience

Snow removal
Photo by: U.S. Army/Scott T. Sturkol

The Army needs to be better prepared for the destructive power of climate change, Lt. Gen. Douglas Gabram, the Army Installation Management Command commander, told Congress. 

“The Army takes very seriously the threats that climate change poses to our installations and facilities,” Gabram said March 26 in testimony before the House Armed Services readiness subcommittee. 

Winter Storm Uri, a major February storm, caused severe damage across the southeastern United States with ice, snow and blackouts. 

Considerable damage happened from Uri, Gabram said. “Over those four long days, Army installations in Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas experienced a combination of damaging ice, snow and frigid temperatures that shattered national weather records.” 

Damage was extensive, involving 694 facilities, including 1,366 privatized homes across four installations, Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Polk, Louisiana; and Fort Hood, Texas, he said. 

“I can say with confidence and personal experience that our military installations fared better than the local communities due to the attention paid to contingency planning to maintain energy and water supplies,” he said. 

During Winter Storm Uri, it came as no surprise that the facilities and systems in aging facilities were the first to fail, he said. 

Planning and preventive measures paid off with faster response times, Gabram said, and more efforts are underway. “Through proactive planning, collaborative engagement among multiple stakeholders and leadership by our garrison and senior commanders, we were able to act decisively to keep our soldiers and families safe during this winter storm.” 

More is planned, he pledged. “We're committed to improve the resilience,” he said. “It is Army policy right now that our commanders will consider the impacts of changing climate and extreme weather into all infrastructure plans, policies and procedures,” he said. Additionally, all installations are expected to have energy and water resiliency plans completed within two years.