The Center for Climate and Security, in partnership with the Carnegie Mellon University Civil and Environmental Engineering Program, the Center for New American Security, and the University of Oxford released the report, “The U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance, National Security, and Climate Change,” Tuesday.

Dr. Leo Goff, program manager of the CNA Military Advisory Board, and Nilanthi Samaranayake, research analyst at CNA, coauthored the chapter, “Climate Change, Migration, and a Security Framework for the U.S. Asia-Pacific Rebalance.”

The authors concluded, “Working both bilaterally and through multinational organizations, the U.S. must apply sound migration principles, employ a migration security framework, and adopt best practices to find acceptable and perhaps even beneficial solutions to make migration a successful adaption rather than a source of conflict and strife.”

“While migration can be an acceptable and often beneficial response to a changing environment, security experts warn that mass migration has serious security risks,” the report had it.

“Mass migration can overrun existing social systems; result in exploitation of migrants; and in the extreme, result in conflict as cultures clash or nations take actions to forcibly prevent entry or settlement of refugees. As part of its rebalance and establishing a new security posture in Asia, the United States must work closely with partner nations and take a proactive approach to finding acceptable solutions to inevitable climate change induced migration.”

Following that logic, the report recommended a focus on South and Southeast Asia for migrants — the diverse region between India and the Maldives. The area was selected because of its climate change vulnerabilities and increasing ties to the U.S, as well as security and military considerations.

The report stressed planning ahead: “[F]ailure to plan or adapt … could lead to sudden onslaught of mass migration, which carries the greatest risk, not only for governments, but for migrants.”

By Whitney Doll
Edited by Justin Munce