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O’Connell Selected to Lead NAVFAC Climate Change Program Office

12 September 2022

From Christopher Dunne

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) senior climate change advisor Robin O’Connell has been selected to lead the command’s new Climate Change Program Office (CCPO).
Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) senior climate change advisor Robin O’Connell has been selected to lead the command’s new Climate Change Program Office (CCPO).

The CCPO will provide the systems command technical competencies necessary for the Navy to implement the Department of the Navy’s Climate Action Plan 2030. Initially, the CCPO will focus on building a programmatic institutional framework designed to support the Navy’s strategy. It will be a centralized office managing infrastructure standards and efforts to meet shore infrastructure resiliency requirements.

“The idea is to stand up a program office to support the increasing demand for NAVFAC to provide climate change solutions,” O’Connell said. “We’re laying the foundation to mitigate and adapt to this risk.”

NAVFAC Chief Engineer David Curfman said the role of the CCPO is to “leverage and integrate skills throughout the command to deliver comprehensive strategies and solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.” The CCPO will be a key component of the mission to ensure NAVFAC has the climate change technical essentials to address increasing risks to our shore installations, Curfman noted.

O’Connell identified some of the questions the CCPO needs to answer in establishing the program framework. “How do we align our efforts,” she asked. “What resources do we have to respond to gaps? How do we fill gaps in manpower, data, or policy?”

“We don’t have a lot of answers yet,” O’Connell acknowledged. “But we’ll need to establish a baseline so that we can assess progress.”

O’Connell is excited to lead the new program office. “Opportunities to build something institutionally from the ground up don’t come around every day,” she said. “It’s a challenge, and there’s a little trepidation on my part. But if I can help frame this house, that’ll be my way of paying it forward for the next generation.”
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