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The Climate and Security Advisory Group: A Responsibility to Prepare

Climate and Security Advisory Group_2018 Cover Photo

The Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG): “A Responsibility to Prepare – Strengthening National and Homeland Security in the Face of a Changing Climate”

The CSAG, a voluntary, non-partisan group of 54 U.S.-based military, national security, homeland security, intelligence and foreign policy experts from a broad range of institutions, is chaired by the Center for Climate and Security in partnership with the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. On February 2018, the group released a new roadmap and recommendations report calling on the U.S. government to to follow the advice of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who argued for a “whole-of-government response” to climate change during his confirmation process.

The report notes that given the threats of climate change identified by the defense, national security and intelligence communities, a rise in destructive climate-driven impacts on the U.S., and an increased capacity to foresee these risks, the U.S. government has a “Responsibility to Prepare” to address these challenges at home and abroad. Specifically, the group recommends that the Administration do so through three lines of effort:  Assess, Prepare, and Support.

Assess climate change risks to national and homeland security
Bottom line up front: Maintain and improve systems and processes for better understanding and assessing climate change risks to national and homeland security.

Prepare for climate change risks to national and homeland security
Bottom line up front: Bolster the resilience of critical military and civilian infrastructure to climate change risks, and better organize and resource the U.S. government to manage those risks.

Support allied and partner nation resilience to climate change risks
Bottom line up front: Maintain U.S. leadership by supporting allied and partner nation resilience to climate change risks in strategically-significant regions, and by reducing climate drivers of instability.

Click here for the full report.

Release event video (begins at 1:30:16) with Hon. John Conger,  Francesco Femia, Hon. Sherri Goodman, Heather Messera, Rear Admiral Ann C. Phillips, U.S. Navy (Ret), Rear Admiral David Titley, U.S. Navy (Ret):

Quotes from the Climate and Security Advisory Group:

“There is an abundance of climate-related data that is of significant concern to our country’s national security. Numerous studies by retired military and national security officials have analyzed these data and concluded that, regardless of the cause, US government multi-agency action is needed now to mitigate these effects of an adversely changing climate.” – Admiral Frank “Skip” Bowman, Advisory Board, the Center for Climate and Security

 “Our nation’s military leaders recognize their responsibility to prepare our forces and bases for the climate risks affecting us today, from the rising sea levels at Norfolk/Hampton Roads VA to Parris Island  SC– the Marines’ premier recruit training facility, to increased demand for our forces to respond to wildfires, floods, and  hurricanes across the nation.  This roadmap and recommendation are designed to help America’s military maintain their readiness by assessing and preparing for climate risks to our force and base structure.” Sherri Goodman, Senior Advisor for International Security, The Center for Climate and Security

“Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has called for a whole-of-government response to climate change, joining a long list of defense and intelligence leaders going back to the George W. Bush Administration. This ‘responsibility to prepare’ report presents a roadmap for beginning to achieve that goal. Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell, Co-Presidents, The Center for Climate and Security