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Ocean Blues or a Bright Blue Future?

The national security cutter USCGC Bertholf the Arctic Ocean Sept. 14, 2012, during Arctic Shield 2012 (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Timothy Tamargo/Released)

By Rear Admiral Jonathan White, USN (ret.) and Annabelle Leahy

The pandemic of Covid-19 has tremendous and largely unknown implications for global health, security, and economic prosperity, but as we work diligently to steer the future toward positive outcomes, we must not lose track of the growing challenges and opportunities that continually unfold with another well-known but not well-understood global phenomenon — the ocean.

The ocean and its resources are inextricably tied to human health, the economy, and security. The link between the environment, particularly the ocean, and human health, is an area of increasing global importance as climate change increases the incidence of toxin release from harmful algal blooms, damage from catastrophic weather events, and potential for contagion from waterborne viruses and bacteria. These threats are not just related to health but also to security. Climate change is a core systemic risk to the 21st century world, and we must specifically address the ocean in this discussion. 

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Wildfires in the U.S. and Their Effects on Security

Satellite view of smoke plumes produced by 2020 California wildfires, September 9, taken from the GOES-17 weather satellite

By Dr. Marc Kodack

Wildfires are burning across multiple states in the U.S. For Washington, Oregon, and California, these fires are having devastating consequences for tens of millions of people and their communities. The fires have resulted in at least 33 deaths, destruction or damage to a broad ranges of properties, acres and acres of burned forests, and significant disruption to other natural resources. Indeed, over 4.6 million acres have burned in the three states. Their respective governors have each requested additional fire fighting crews from elsewhere in the U.S. or from other countries. In California alone, 16,000 firefighters are working to contain 29 major wildfires across the state. Oregon’s Governor Brown has requested assistance from the Department of Defense to send a battalion of firefighters. Many of the requests from states for additional firefighting assistance go to the National Multi-Agency Coordinating Group. However, hundreds of these requests are unfilled.

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We’re Hiring: Deputy Director, the Center for Climate and Security

The Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) seeks to hire a Deputy Director for its Center for Climate and Security (CCS). This is an exciting growth opportunity for the right candidate. CSR seeks candidates with the vision and potential needed to become a true leader in national and international security. The Deputy Director will have the opportunity to become a leading voice on the intersection of climate and security, a field of rapidly-growing importance and rising relevance in security affairs. See the full job description below, and apply at this link.

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Senate Democrats Release Climate Report – Highlight National Security Risks

By John Conger

On August 25, 2020 the U.S. Senate Democrats Special Committee on the Climate Crisis published The Case for Climate Action: Building a Clean Economy for the American People.  Like the report put out by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis in July, it lays out a case for climate action that invokes climate threats to national security among its supporting arguments. 

I testified before the Senate Committee in February as it was developing its report, and highlighted the Climate Security Plan for America, which was submitted as our formal testimony.

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