The Growing Exposure of Air Force Installations to Natural Disasters
Sep 16, 2021
The authors of this report consider the exposure of Department of the Air Force (DAF) installations to flooding, high winds, and wildfires—hazards that have affected DAF installations in the recent past. The authors characterize exposure using three different types of data: base boundaries, geospatial data on airfield and select electric power infrastructure that supports DAF installations, and publicly available data on natural hazards.
Implications for Infrastructure Investment Decisionmaking and Continuity of Operations Planning
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The authors of this report consider the exposure of Department of the Air Force (DAF) installations to flooding, high winds, and wildfires—hazards that have affected DAF installations in the recent past. The authors characterize exposure using three different types of data: base boundaries, geospatial data on airfield and select electric power infrastructure that supports DAF installations, and publicly available data on natural hazards. The presented analysis should be viewed as a first step toward more thoroughly cataloging installation exposure to natural hazards, rather than as a definitive or comprehensive assessment. Additionally, for the high winds hazard, the authors compare the policy options of preemptively hardening a set of installations and the potential costs of rebuilding post-disaster. Finally, they consider wider application of hazard seasonality data to inform the selection of backup sites for contingency planning in cases where a disruption forces a temporary mission relocation.
Some installations face high levels of exposure to the natural hazards considered in this analysis. The following coastal installations face multiple hazards: Eglin, Hurlburt, Keesler, Langley, MacDill, Patrick, and Tyndall. Although the DAF should be able to improve decisionmaking by making some decisions at the enterprise level, the uncertainties surrounding these decisions will be great, and there is no substitute for deeper-dive assessments conducted locally. The process and inputs that the DAF selects for making investment decisions regarding natural hazard resilience should be flexible, allowing for updates as new information becomes available.
A Base-Level View of Exposure to Natural Hazards
Exposure of On-Base Assets and of Areas Outside the Base
Costs and Policy Choices for Preemptive Infrastructure Hardening Versus Post- Disaster Recovery
Accounting for Natural Hazard Seasonality in COOP Planning
Conclusions and Recommendations
Recent DoD Natural Hazard Efforts
Full Exposure Tables
Case Study: Flooding Event
A Note on Alternative Probabilistic Flood Data
This research was commissioned by the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection (AF/A4), and conducted within the Resource Management Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.
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