2021 Climate Adaptation Action Plan - U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Posted on: 12/21/2021 - Updated on: 8/23/2022

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The Department of Homeland Security’s (“Department” or “DHS”) mission is to safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values. DHS carries out that mission through its diverse Operational and Support Components, including U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment,1 “global climate is changing rapidly compared to the pace of natural variations in climate that have occurred throughout Earth’s history.” Sea-level rise, extreme weather events, drought, changes in migration patterns, workforce health, and other direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of climate change will affect essential functions and supporting infrastructure across the United States. Simply put, the world is facing an existential climate crisis that is a current and growing threat to our way of life.

Climate change endangers national security and DHS’s mission of safeguarding the American people, our homeland, and our values. The Intelligence Community recently stated that a changing climate will create a mix of direct and indirect threats, including risks to the economy, heightened political volatility, human displacement, and new venues of geopolitical competition that will play out during the next decade and beyond.2 Climate change has already contributed to instability in strategically important areas; it is a “threat multiplier.” To adapt, focused solutions are needed. Investing in action now saves lives, conserves resources, and provides long-term cost savings.

The Department is committed to establishing adaptation strategies and increasing resilience today so we will be better able to meet the challenges of a changing climate tomorrow while continuing to meet mission requirements. A central goal is a more resilient Nation, so that a warmer world is not a more dangerous world. Development of an actionable Climate Action Plan (CAP or Plan) will allow the Department to focus and prioritize within available resources, take advantage of early action and planning, integrate adaptive strategies, and engage in effective collaboration with other federal agencies, state, territorial, tribal, and local organizations, and the public to ensure a more resilient Department and Nation overall.

DHS has prepared this 2021 CAP pursuant to Section 211 of EO 14008,3 and the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Implementing Instructions.4 This CAP focuses on climate adaptation, resilience, and mitigation measures and initiatives for both internal operations and activities across agency programs. The 2021 CAP aligns with the DHS fiscal year (FY) 2020-2024 Strategic Plan5 and builds upon the previous DHS Climate Action Plans prepared in 2012 and 2013, the 2012 DHS Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, the 2018 Resilience Framework,6 the FY 2021-2025 Environmental Justice Strategy,7 and the annual Sustainability Report and Implementation Plan.8

Under the direction of the Climate Change Action Group (CCAG), which includes senior leadership from across the Department, DHS will soon release its Strategic Framework for Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change. This Framework will provide overarching goals, principles, and strategic vision to guide our activities to assess and mitigate the full range of climate change impacts across the homeland security mission and execute other responsibilities assigned in Executive Order 14008.


Climate Action Plan: Integrating Climate Adaptation into the Department to strengthen mission operations and infrastructure. September 2021. U.S. Department of Homeland Security. https://www.sustainability.gov/pdfs/dhs-2021-cap.pdf

Affiliated Organizations

The Department of Homeland Security has a vital mission: to secure the nation from the many threats we face. This requires the dedication of more than 240,000 employees in jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cybersecurity analyst to chemical facility inspector. Our duties are wide-ranging, and our goal is clear - keeping America safe.

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