Pentagon Officials Worked To Finalize Climate Plan During Botched Afghanistan Withdrawal, Emails Show

Posted 35 days ago


In the midst of the Biden administration’s disastrous military withdrawal from Afghanistan, top Pentagon officials were working to get the Secretary of Defense to sign a major climate change initiative, according to emails obtained by The Daily Wire.

In the two weeks between the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on August 15, 2021, and the final U. S. military flight out of Afghanistan on August 30, Pentagon officials were scrambling with the White House to finalize the Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Plan, a document that declares climate change a major national security risk.

The emails indicate frustration from climate change-focused Pentagon officials at the difficulty of getting the plan signed — but that ultimately their determination to focus on climate change even during the Afghanistan withdrawal paid off. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signed the climate initiative on September 1, just six days after 13 Americans were killed by a Taliban suicide bomber.

James Fitzpatrick, a member of the U. S. Army Reserve who obtained the emails through his organization, the Center to Advance Security in America, says the emails show military leadership was being “hounded” by climate activists within the government as it was trying to navigate withdrawal.

“While the Biden Administration was in the middle of a disastrous and deadly Afghanistan withdrawal, our top military leaders were being hounded by DoD climate activists to fast track a plan to transform the Department by forcing politically charged climate change discussions into every decision the DoD makes,” Fitzpatrick said.

At the center of the push were two senior Pentagon officials: Joe Bryan, the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Defense for Climate, and Richard Kidd, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment & Energy Resilience. The pair traded emails throughout the Afghanistan crisis on the Climate Adaptation Plan, strategizing on how to get it signed by Austin.

“I think it’s a tough lift to get [Secretary of Defense] to sign the CAP this week. He’s not looking at much that isn’t Afghanistan-related,” wrote Bryan on August 17, a day after President Joe Biden addressed the nation about the ongoing crisis in Kabul. Bryan suggested escalating the issue to a White House official named Andrew Mayock, who was appointed Biden’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

Kidd responded the next morning that this was a “good idea,” because Mayock “gets it” and could give a “must have” deadline from the White House.

The pair appears to have grown frustrated in the days that followed. The frustration was not that the mission in Afghanistan had devolved into a full-fledged crisis with people falling off planes as they departed the airport, nearly 200 murdered by terrorists as they flooded the airport in hopes of evacuation, and a botched military drone strike that killed civilians rather than terrorist targets. It was that Austin had failed to sign the climate plan.

On August 30, the final day of the frantic withdrawal, Kidd expressed frustration after Bryan informs him that the plan “hasn’t been signed yet.”

“Uhm, ok will keep standing by,” Kidd wrote.

He had to stand by for just two more days. On September 1, Kidd was informed that the Climate Adaptation plan had been signed and was ready to be sent to Mayock, the White House official.

“Sir, The SECDEF has signed the CAP,” wrote a member of Kidd’s staff whose name was redacted from the documents. “Congratulations!!!!!”... (Read more)