U.S. spies to branch out

Over Republican objections, the House Democrats have managed to pass legislation that will require our intelligence community to provide an assessment of the security threat posed by global warming. Within 270 days after the bill becomes law, the Direactor of National Intelligence will be required to submit to Congress a National Intelligence Estimate that assesses among other things, “the political, social, agricultural and economic risks during the next 30 years posed by global climate change for countries or regions of strategic importance to the U.S. and for countires that are at significant risk of large-scale humanitarian suffering due to global climate change.
Our intelligence community has found it difficult enough to assess things that ought to be within its area of expertise — what kinds of weapons our enemies have or soon will have, the extent of the threat posed by terrorists, etc. Now the Democrats want it to divert resources away from these critical issues and to speculate about what our climate will be like in 30 years. But plenty of people are already doing this — the federal government alone spends $6.5 billion dollars studying global climate change.
Rep. Edward Markey defended the legislation on the theory that “global warming is a major strategic weakness.” What he means by this is not clear. I suppose that if Europe becomes a desert in the next 30 years, we will need a different mix of weaponry to fight there. But it would be pretty foolish to attempt 270 days from now to assess what the global climate will be like in 30 years and to begin changing our military strategy and procurement accordingly.
This legislation represents little more than Democratic posturing. But then posturing has long been the defining characteristic of Democratic strategic “thinking.”
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