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U.S. President-Elect Biden and the Climate Security Nexus: Recommendations for the Way Ahead

By John Conger

In the wake of the declaration that Former Vice President Joseph Biden will become the next President of the United States, we must consider what this means for climate security.  Make no mistake, there will be significant consequences for climate change and for national security separately, but our focus at the Center for Climate and Security is their nexus.  We will be exploring this in significant detail in the weeks ahead, but I wanted to offer two thoughts in the wake of the election result.

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RELEASE: The Council on Strategic Risks Offers Recommendations for the Next U.S. Administration on Biological, Climate and Nuclear Threats

Washington, DC, October 20, 2020 – Today, the Council on Strategic Risks (CSR) released important new policy recommendations: “Confronting Systemic Security Risks: Proposals for the Next U.S. Administration.” The briefer offers policy ideas for consideration by the national security leaders of the next Presidential Administration, and covers three important areas of global strategic risk: biological threats, climate threats, and nuclear threats. 

“Many of the most serious security threats facing the United States today arise from rapid developments spiraling across a complex and changing globe,” the report states. “Each of these risks will require an integrated approach across the Federal government, pairing the analytic systems of the Pentagon and intelligence community with the early warning capabilities of our diplomatic and development experts. To prevent the worst impacts, a well-rounded U.S. security community must be prepared and responsive as soon as a new strategic threat emerges.”

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Climate Security on Day One

A Climate Security Plan for America_Report CoverBy John Conger

It’s a frequent question that presidential candidates are asked: What would you do on Day One of your Presidency?  Aside from the fact that there’s only so much you can practically get accomplished before you have your staff in place and operations running, a four-year term rapidly becomes a short period of time.  Congress often moves slowly and Federal budget processes are not designed for agility.  For example, the first budget a new president gets to write would be the one they submit 13 months into their term, which only affects spending close to two years into their term.  It can be frustrating, but it also illustrates why it’s absolutely necessary to have an idea of what you want to accomplish from the outset. (more…)

In 2020, the Commander-in-Chief Will Have a “Responsibility to Prepare” for the Security Risks of Climate Change

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Soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard move floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Zachary West)

In an article published today in War on the Rocks, the Center for Climate and Security’s Caitlin Werrell, Francesco Femia and John Conger outline a “Responsibility to Prepare Strategy” for whomever is President in 2020, which includes a “Climate Security Plan” and a “Just Add Climate” approach to  traditional national security priorities. The article is a preview of a forthcoming set of recommendations by the Center’s “Climate and Security Advisory Group,” which will build on policy recommendations from 2016 and 2018. From the article: (more…)

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