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Event: Climate Change & National Security: Protecting the Integrity of Threat Assessments

AtlanticCouncil_March25_ClimateSecurityEventClimate Change and National Security: Protecting the Integrity of Threat Assessments

Please join the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center, the American Security Project, and the Center for Climate and Security on Monday, March 25, 2019 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m ET. for a conversation on climate change as a national security threat and the need for independent, objective science to inform threat assessments. 

The linkage between climate change and national security is well-established. The Department of Defense and other elements of the Intelligence Community have issued assessments identifying climate change as a national security threat since 1989, crossing three Republican and two Democratic administrations. All of those assessments have drawn upon the findings of the US scientific community, including, most recently, the National Climate Assessment, a study which is rigorously peer-reviewed across thirteen federal agencies including the Department of Defense, NASA, the State Department, the Department of Energy, and key science agencies.

Recent reports have suggested that the independence and objectivity of critical scientific information underpinning national security community assessments of climate-related risks could be under threat. A panel of former senior defense, intelligence, and other national security officials will discuss the potential implications of that and the importance of independent, objective science to inform policy decisions.

The discussion will also include a look at an extraordinary letter published on March 5th by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and the American Security Project (ASP), from a group of 58 senior retired military and national security leaders who denounced the National Security Council (NSC) plan to set up an “adversarial” group to undermine the science that informs defense and intelligence threat assessments on climate change.

Thanks to the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for supporting the event.

RSVP here:

Watch the webcast of the event here:

Opening remarks by:

Joe Bryan,
Senior Fellow, Global Energy Center,
Atlantic Council

Introduction to the panel:

Caitlin Werrell
Chief Executive Officer, The Council on Strategic Risks;
Co-Founder, The Center for Climate and Security

A conversation with:

George David Banks
Executive Vice President
American Council on Capital Formation

Alice Hill
Research Fellow
The Hoover Institute

VADM Dennis McGinn, US Navy (Ret.)
Member, Advisory Board
The Center for Climate and Security

RADM David Titley, US Navy (Ret.)
Director, Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, Pennsylvania State University;
Member, Advisory Board, The Center for Climate and Security

Moderated by:

Captain James C. Goudreau, US Navy (Ret.)
Former Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Energy

Closing remarks by:

Andrew Holland
Chief Operating Officer
American Security Project

On Twitter? Follow @ACGlobalEnergy,  , and use #ACEnergy #ClimateSecurity

Atlantic Council
1030 15th Street NW, 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator)
Washington, DC

This event is open to press and on the record.

VISITING THE COUNCIL: Metro and parking info


George David Banks is executive vice president at the American Council for Capital Formation. He is an economist, political consultant, and policy advocate, focusing on energy, environment, and trade. Banks has published reports and opinion editorials on a variety of policy issues, including climate change, civil nuclear power, and energy markets and trade. He is also a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and a member of the ClearPath Foundation’s advisory board. Most recently, he served as President Donald Trump’s special assistant for international energy and environment at the National Economic and National Security Councils – a position that required him to manage workstreams related to his portfolio across the federal government.

Joe Bryan is a nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center. He is also principal at Muswell Orange, LLC, a clean energy consulting firm. Joe previously served as deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for energy where he was responsible for policies relating to the department’s installation and operational energy programs. He was a proponent for improving energy efficiency and expanding the use of renewable energy to extend the operational reach of the force and reduce risks associated with logistics support. He also led efforts to improve energy resiliency, promote investments in energy efficiency and distributed generation, and rethink mobility on Navy and Marine Corps installations.

Prior to his appointment, Joe led investigations for the Senate Armed Services Committee, including inquiries into counterfeit electronic parts in the defense supply chain, cyber intrusions into US Department of Defense contractors, and the treatment of detainees in US military custody. He also served on the professional staffs of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence and Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations where he participated in the investigation into Enron’s manipulation of energy markets. Joe has consulted on energy policy in Namibia and South America, and began his career working on electricity restructuring and state-level policies to encourage the growth of clean energy markets.

Captain James C. Goudreau, US Navy (Ret.) culminated his career in the Pentagon working on energy and climate resilience issues. While attached to the secretary of the Navy’s staff and the chief of naval operations’ staff, including serving as the acting deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, he focused on a holistic application of technology, partnerships and behavior change to improve capabilities and reduce vulnerabilities globally across Navy and Marine Corps operational and installations commands. He was responsible for crafting policy and developing strategic partnerships with government, industry and academia in support of the Department of the Navy’s energy programs. Those initiatives include operational and shore energy technology development, resiliency, energy efficiency, energy acquisition reform, training, education, strategic messaging and culture change. He holds a BS from Norwich University, a master’s in management from Troy University and has completed the Tuck Executive Program at the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business. He now serves as the head of climate at Novartis Business Services in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Alice Hill is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where her work focuses on catastrophic risk, including the impacts of climate change. She is also a member of the Center for Climate and Security’s advisory board. She previously served at the White House as special assistant to the president and senior director for resilience policy on the National Security Council. Hill led the creation of national policy regarding resilience to catastrophic risk. Her work spanned development of the first ever federal flood risk standard, creation of a national drought plan, expanding federal focus on the Arctic and addressing national security and climate change. Hill also served as senior counselor to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and as an ex officio member of the Third National Climate Assessment. She led the development of the first-ever DHS Adaptation Plan. She also founded and served as the first chair of the Blue Campaign, an internationally recognized anti-human trafficking initiative. Earlier in her career, she served as supervising judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court and as chief of the white-collar crime unit in the Los Angeles US Attorney’s Office.

She is a frequent speaker and has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She has appeared on CBS, NPR and MSNBC and her commentary has been published in Newsweek, LawFare and other media. She has received numerous awards and commendations, including the Department of Justice’s highest award for legal accomplishment, Harvard’s Meta-Leader of the Year Award, and the National Institute of Building Sciences President’s Award.

Andrew Holland is the American Security Project’s chief operating officer. His area of research is on energy, climate change, trade, and infrastructure policy. For more than fifteen years, he has worked at the center of debates about how to achieve sustainable energy security and how to effectively address climate change. He served as legislative assistant on energy, environment, and infrastructure for Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska for three years from 2006 through 2008. He worked in the US House of Representatives for the House Ways and Means Committee and the Office of Congresswoman Roukema. He holds a master’s in international strategy and economics from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a bachelor’s in history and economics from Wake Forest University in North Carolina.

Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn is a member of the Center for Climate and Security advisory board. Admiral Dennis McGinn served as assistant secretary of the navy for energy, installations and environment from September 2013 until January 2017. In this role, he led the transformation of naval installations toward greater mission resiliency though energy efficiency, renewable energy, microgrids, and other technologies. Previously, Admiral McGinn served on active duty in the United States Navy for thirty-five years attaining the rank of vice admiral. He served as deputy chief of naval operations for warfare requirements and programs, overseeing the development of future Navy capabilities, and previously commanded the United States Third Fleet. While in the Navy, he served as a naval aviator, test pilot, aircraft carrier commanding officer, and national security strategist. Admiral McGinn is a former president of the American Council on Renewable Energy where he led efforts to communicate the economic, security and environmental benefits of renewable energy. Admiral McGinn is also a past member of the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, the United States Energy Security Council, the Bipartisan Center Energy Board, the past Co-Chairman of the CNA Military Advisory Board, and has been an International Senior Fellow at the Rocky Mountain Institute. Admiral McGinn holds a BS in naval engineering from the US Naval Academy and was a chief of naval operations strategic studies fellow at the US Naval War College. He also participated in the national security program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

Rear Admiral David Titley is a member of the Center for Climate and Security’s advisory board. He is a nationally known expert in the field of climate, the Arctic, and national security, and founding director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Pennsylvania State University. He served as a naval officer for thirty-two years and rose to the rank of rear admiral. Dr. Titley’s career included duties as oceanographer and navigator of the Navy and deputy assistant chief of naval operations for information dominance. While serving in the Pentagon, Dr. Titley initiated and led the US Navy’s Task Force on Climate Change. After retiring from the Navy, Dr. Titley served as the deputy undersecretary of commerce for operations, the chief operating officer position at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Dr. Titley has spoken across the country and throughout the world on the importance of climate change as it relates to national security. He was invited to present on behalf of the Department of Defense at both Congressional Hearings and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meetings from 2009 to 2011. He has presented a TEDx talk on climate change and speaks regularly on this topic at Universities across the country. Dr. Titley holds a BS in meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University. Additionally, he earned an MS in meteorology and physical oceanography, and a PhD in meteorology from the Naval Postgraduate School. He was elected a fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2009 and holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Caitlin Werrell is chief executive officer of the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR), and co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security. She oversees all of CSR’s efforts, including the Center for Climate and Security, the Center on Strategic Weapons and the Converging Risks Lab. She has published extensively on the security implications of climate change, water stress and natural resource mismanagement in Syria and North Africa, including in the seminal report The Arab Spring and Climate Change, the SAIS Review of International Affairs, and the Brown Journal of World Affairs, as well as on the potential for new technologies like additive manufacturing for addressing climate risks. Caitlin is a regular commentator on climate and international security issues, is a lead author of the “Responsibility to Prepare” framework, and has appeared before the United Nations Security Council. She is frequently cited and interviewed on issues in both mainstream and niche media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, the New Republic, the National Journal, the Atlantic, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, and Defense News, among others.

Previously, Caitlin served as co-president of the Center for Climate and Security, and co-chair of the Climate and Security Advisory Group – the primary forum for climate and security dialogue in the US national security community. Before that, she founded the MAP Institute for Water and Climate, and served as senior associate at AD Partners. Caitlin holds a master’s degree from the University of Oxford, where she focused on transboundary water conflict and security, and a BA from Mount Holyoke College. She sits on the advisory board of the Nuclear Security Working Group.

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