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The Office of the Director of National Intelligence and New Studies Warn of Climate Change and Water Security

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Maria Langan-Riekhof, Director of the Strategic Futures Group at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, speaks to the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities Hearing: “Climate Change in the Era of Strategic Competition,” December 11, 2019

By Marc Kodack

Concerns about the effects of climate change on security – particularly the way that climate change can exacerbate threats to U.S. interests – have driven several recent U.S. House of Representative hearings. Senior intelligence officials have been at the forefront of these warnings. For example, in recent testimony  by Maria Langan-Riekhof of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (during an extraordinary hearing of the Emerging Threats Subcommittee titled “Climate Change in the Era of Strategic Competition”), she highlighted that water stresses in the Middle East and Central America are increasing, and that these changes will degrade already poor government services, strain communities, and challenge agricultural production. These and other stresses can lead to increased local and regional political, economic, and social instability. (more…)

NPR on Climate and Security Scenarios with Francesco Femia

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An aerial view of Offutt Air Force Base affected by major flood damage, March 17, 2019 (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt. Rachelle Blake)

In yesterday’s episode of NPR’s On Point, Meghna Chakrabarti interviewed journalist Emily Atkin and Francesco Femia, the Council on Strategic Risks’ CEO and Co-Founder of the Center for Climate and Security, to discuss the implications of climate change for global instability and conflict. The show built upon an article in the New Republic by Emily Atkin, The Blood-Dimmed Tide, exploring a catastrophic 2100 climate scenario. Francesco touched on a number of topics, including climate risks to military installations, the growing bipartisan U.S. national security consensus on climate change and security (including across the intelligence and defense community), as well as the strategic benefits of U.S. investments in climate prevention and preparation (and conversely, the strategic negatives, vis-a-vis its competitors and adversaries, of doing nothing). Listen to the On Point episode here. The segment with Francesco Femia starts at 25:05, but the full show is worth a listen.

U.S. Policy-Makers Must Do More to Protect Intelligence Analysis from Political Suppression

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Rod Schoonover (INR), Peter Kiemel (ODNI) and Jeffrey Ringhausen (ONI) testify on climate and security before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, June 5, 2019

As reported by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, Dr. Rod Schoonover, Senior Analyst at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), former Director of Environment and Natural Resources at the National Intelligence Council, and one of the nation’s foremost experts on the security implications of climate change, has resigned voluntarily in the wake of unprecedented White House suppression of INR’s written intelligence analysis on climate and security, which was intended to be delivered by Dr. Schoonover to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on June 5, 2019. (more…)

U.S. Congressman Introduces Climate Security Intelligence Act

Rain_on_Capitol_HillOn June 5, U.S. Congressman Danny Heck (WA-10) introduced the “Climate Security Intelligence Act,” a bill that would establish a “Climate Security Intelligence Center” within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence so that, in the Congressman’s words, the “intelligence community has a focal point for climate-related information, which will be crucial to our nation’s ability to meet evolving challenges now and in the years ahead.” If enacted, this center would be, in some ways, an intelligence community-wide successor to the CIA’s former Center on Climate Change and National Security, which closed its doors in 2012, allegedly due to climate analysis being integrated into broader CIA intelligence assessments of economic and energy security. Click here to read the full bill.

The Center for Climate and Security Stands Firmly in Support of Intelligence Analysis on Climate Security

C&S LOGOAccording to reports from the Washington Post and the New York Times, the White House recently suppressed a comprehensive intelligence analysis from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), which has recently been made public.The analysis, which was to be delivered as written testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on June 5, was allegedly quashed due to its description of climate science, and the unwillingness of INR to omit large sections of the testimony.

The Center for Climate and Security stands firmly in support of INR and its personnel, and their clear-eyed assessment of the significant security risks of a changing climate, and strongly condemns the attempt by individuals in the White House to prevent this analysis from being published. This analysis is the latest in decades-worth of intelligence analysis on climate change produced across both Republican and Democratic administrations. (more…)

Intelligence Officials Highlight Security Risks of Climate Change in Important House Hearing

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Rod Schoonover, Peter Kiemel and Jeffrey Ringhausen before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, June 5, 2019

By John Conger

On June 5, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence held a hearing on the National Security Implications of Climate Change.  The latest in a series of hearings (HASC, HFAC, HOGR) held this year on climate and security issues, the HPSCI was unique in that it called government witnesses.  Specifically, they included Peter Kiemel from the National Intelligence Council, Rod Schoonover from the Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and Jeffrey Ringhausen from the Office of Naval Intelligence.

The stage was set by Chairman Schiff who called climate change the “greatest long-term national security threat to the U.S.” and quoted the most recent Worldwide Threat Assessment published by this Administration’s Director of National Intelligence, which stated: (more…)

Release: 58 Senior Military and National Security Leaders Denounce NSC Climate Panel

CCS_ASP Letter to the PresidentWashington, DC, March 5, 2019 — In an extraordinary letter published today by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS) and the American Security Project (ASP), a group of 58 senior retired military and national security leaders 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. The plan is being driven by vocal climate denier William Happer, who has expertise in neither climate science nor national security. The letter includes former secretaries of defense and state (Hagel and Kerry) former combatant commanders (such as Admiral Locklear and General McChrystal), former intelligence leaders (such as Greg Treverton, past Chair of the National Intelligence Council) and other senior military and national security officials that served in Republican and Democratic administrations stretching back to President Eisenhower. The letter represents an extraordinary rebuke from a very practical community that is normally focused on addressing external threats, not internal politics. This demonstrates how far outside the national security consensus the NSC proposal is. The letter states: (more…)