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Integrating Climate Change into the US Global Fragility Strategy: A New “Prologue”

By Erin Sikorsky

In early April, the Biden Administration released a “prologue” to the US Global Fragility Strategy, also known as the Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability. The initial document was developed under the Trump Administration in response to requirements in the Global Fragility Act (GFA). Congress passed the GFA in 2019 with bipartisan support, the goal of which was to create a new approach to preventing conflict in fragile states by bringing a whole of government, silo-busting strategy to foreign assistance and diplomacy. This type of coordinated, multi-sectoral process is exactly what is needed to ensure climate considerations are well integrated into US foreign policy, and the prologue takes two important steps forward in this direction.

First, the new prologue explicitly discusses the role of climate change in shaping state fragility and risks of conflict – a glaring omission in the original strategy. The document states:


RELEASE: The Climate and Security Advisory Group Grades Biden Administration on Climate Security 

Challenge Accepted, a new report issued by 79 senior national security experts recognizes the prioritization of climate change in the Administration’s security plans, but states it’s time to move from plans to bolder and more concrete action.

On March 31, 2022, seventy-nine senior military, national security and intelligence leaders of the Climate and Security Advisory Group (CSAG), an extraordinary group chaired by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) in partnership with the Elliott School of International Affairs, released “Challenge Accepted: A Progress Report on the Climate Security Plan for America and Recommendations for the Way Ahead.”  This report assesses progress against the recommendations made by the Climate Security Advisory Group in 2019, many of which were incorporated into the current administration’s security plans.

The non-partisan group, which includes 8 retired 4-star generals and admirals, a former Director of National Intelligence, a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a former NASA Administrator, and many other retired military officers, security officials and experts, has assessed the progress made since the publication of the original report.


The Civilian Climate Corps: Implications for Security in the 21st Century

Jackson Lake and the Tetons from the small island out from CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp No. 2, Grand Teton National Park. Ray Ickes and Ned Munn on the rock in foreground, 1933 (Public Domain)

By Katelin Wright

An unexpected opportunity for building domestic climate security awaits in the form of an FDR-reminiscent Civilian Conservation Corps geared toward combating climate change. Coined the “Civilian Climate Corps,” President Biden first introduced the initiative on January 27, 2021, under Executive Order 14008, “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.” In the Executive Order, the president tasked the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture to create a Civilian Climate Corps “to mobilize the next generation of conservation and resilience workers and maximize the creation of accessible training opportunities and good jobs.”  


Mainstreaming Climate Security: The FY22 National Defense Authorization Act

By John Conger

Last week, President Biden signed the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that Congress passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. The bill included numerous climate security measures that echo a number of key recommendations in the Center for Climate and Security’s Climate Security Plan for America (CSPA).

Over the past several years, Congress has enacted a series of pragmatic measures on climate and security.  Many of the measures have focused locally and tactically on the Defense Department’s infrastructure and resilience to extreme weather, while others have taken a wider view such as requiring a new Arctic Strategy or creating a Department of Defense Center for Arctic Security Studies.  This year’s NDAA fills in the gaps between the tactical and strategic measures and codifies some provisions in President Biden’s executive orders on climate, which will help ensure they last beyond this administration.

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