The Department of Defense (DoD) has taken a proactive stance to fortify the resiliency of its Services against the challenges presented by climate change. Corrosion is consistently one of the most debilitating challenges facing the DoD. This “pervasive menace” disrupts systems, decreases mission readiness, and increases costs for maintenance. To better prepare the armed services against climate-related corrosion risks, a forward-thinking approach must be developed to quantify climate vulnerability or resiliency and to adapt to new operating environments.

The goal of this limited scope project is to explore the trade space associated with climate change and corrosion modeling. The objectives of this project can be categorized by the following tasks:

  1. Identify the state-of-art climate research to identify what environmental variables are expected to change in the next century.
  2. Identify the state-of-art concerning atmospheric and marine corrosion to identify controlling variables that influence corrosion attack fundamentally and corrosion prevention strategies practically.
  3. Integrate the results of Tasks 1 & 2 into a cohesive framework that can be used to identify areas of critical research for future SERDP and ESTCP investments.

Technical Approach

Combining data from corrosion models and from climate change models will allow the DoD to be proactive in the design of future weapons systems, instead of being forced to be reactive when protection schemes become less effective in new climates. Understanding and predicting how future climate change and new operational climates may affect corrosion will allow the DoD to stay ahead of potential future issues. It will also focus funding and research on solutions to the climate change impacts that will have the largest benefit for corrosion.


Corrosion cost assessment follows a two-part paradigm: preventative costs and maintenance (corrective) costs. By better informing and preparing technical warrant holders about the corrosion risks of a future climate, more effective preventative measures can be incorporated into the weapon systems and platforms of tomorrow. Once deployed, mission-ready assets require periodic (and hopefully planned) maintenance to continue preventing corrosion or make corrective measures to remediate the effects of corrosion. Where possible, preventative strategies and maintenance plans are optimized for a given asset in a given environment to most efficiently utilize DoD resources while minimizing the affects of corrosion. With the anticipated changes in global and regional climates, there will almost certainly be a need to adjust existing DoD corrosion control strategies both in the preventative and maintenance stages. Proper preparation now will enable efficient and smooth changes in DoD decision making and policy making related to one of the Department’s most persistent operational challenges.

The future of the climate is currently unknown, but once the climatological community has a confident picture of what it will look like, corrosion scientists should be prepared to integrate their research to provide the best possible information to DoD stakeholders, managers, policy makers, and decision makers regarding corrosion risk.