The final segment of ADC’s Summit Series keynote on Oct. 1 included a panel of defense policy experts including Bryan Bender, Senior National Correspondent and Anchor of Morning Defense at POLITICO; Mackenzie Eaglen, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; and Andrew Holland Chief Operating Officer at the American Security Project.
The three panelists said they were confident that, despite its divisive provisions, the NDAA would be passed by Congress.
Andrew Holland discussed the threat of climate change and climate threats to military installations. “I don’t know if any portion of the U.S. government is doing enough to prepare for climate change,” said Holland. “The Department of Defense knows the future is coming. And we should know what it looks like and how it will affect the military.”
Mackenzie Eaglen briefly discussed the effect of COVID-19 on the military. “In the early days of the pandemic, like rest of the government, the Department of Defense was caught off guard from the virus and shutdown,” she said. Eaglan said that DoD is better prepared at present, but the “pandemic playbook” was built on preparation/knowledge from the Swine Flu. Furthermore, she described how DoD was able to adapt to teleworking practices during the pandemic, increasing initial remote working personnel from 90,000 to close to one million personnel.
The panel also described the effect the upcoming election result will have on DoD.
“There are changes coming regardless of who wins,” said Bryan Bender.
Bender said that climate change would be an emphasis in a Biden administration. Furthermore, he said a Biden administration is likely to overturn the transgender ban in the military. “I don’t think that there will a huge slash and burn of the defense budget,” said Bender.