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CSR Announces New Staff, Internal Moves

Continued Capacity-building at CSR’s Core

Continuing a trajectory of rapid growth, the Council on Strategic Risks is pleased to announce a new round of hires across its programs and role changes for existing staff. 

The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) added expertise across its portfolios, bringing on Tom EllisonPatricia Parera, and Michael Zarfos to advance progress in addressing security threats posed by climate change, and to analyze growing ecological security risks. The Converging Risks Lab also welcomed Lily Boland as a new team member.   

Ellison joins CCS as Deputy Director after a decade of informing policymakers on the security and foreign policy implications of climate change as a Senior Analyst for the US government. Increasing leadership capacity, Ellison will drive strategy and program development to accelerate progress on the Center’s work at the nexus of foreign policy and climate security. 

Parera previously served as Associate Director for Partnerships and Global Initiatives at Virginia Tech where she also was a lecturer on sustainable development. At CCS, she will lead research at the intersection of climate change and food security as a Senior Fellow.  

Dr. Zarfos will be tackling complex, converging risks caused by ecological change as an Ecological Security Research Fellow. He is also a postdoctoral researcher with the Dovciak Lab at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF), examining how human-induced environmental change impacts forest ecosystems.

CSR was also thrilled to bring on Lily Boland as a Strategic Foresight Fellow to develop security foresight tools and lead analysis of long-term consequences of nuclear weapons use for the Converging Risks Lab. Boland joins from the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs and the War Studies Department at King’s College London where she studied intelligence and international security. 

Internal Moves

Yong-Bee Lim, previously a Deputy Director and Fellow at the Nolan Center, has now transitioned to a new role as the Deputy Director of the Converging Risks Lab where he will address cross-cutting security issues. 

Andrea Rezzonico, previously the Deputy Director at the Converging Risks Lab, is now the Program Lead, Ecological Security at the Center for Climate and Security. 

Introducing Elsa Barron and Brigitte Hugh, Newest Members of the Climate and Security Team

The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) is growing, and we’re excited to announce the newest additions to our team—program assistants Elsa Barron and Brigitte Hugh. As we enter a new year with lots to cover on climate and security, we wanted to start with a few introductions.

CCS: Where are you from?

Elsa Barron (EB): Wheaton, IL, just west of Chicago. Home of the 11,000-year-old Perry Mastodon.

Brigitte Hugh (BH): Layton, UT, which lies just north of Salt Lake City. We do not have a Mastodon, but there are some great mountains. 


The Center for Climate and Security Announces New Director, John Conger

John CongerThe Center for Climate and Security (CCS) is pleased to announce John Conger as its new Director. Mr. Conger will oversee all of the Center’s programs, and chair the Climate and Security Advisory Group. He previously served as Senior Policy Advisor with CCS, and as the Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).  As principal deputy comptroller, Mr. Conger assisted the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) in the performance of his or her duties, provided advice to the Secretary of Defense on all budgetary and financial matters, including the development and execution of the DoD’s annual budget of over $500 billion, and oversaw the DoD’s efforts to achieve audit readiness. (more…)

Colonel Tom Watson Joins The Center for Climate and Security Team

TomWatsonThe Center for Climate and Security is delighted to announce that Colonel Thomas F. Watson, United States Air Force (Retired), has joined the Center’s team as Director of Government Affairs, where he is responsible for engaging the U.S. government on issues of climate and national security. Prior to joining the Center, he served as the Senior Project Lead for Climate Adaptation and Critical Infrastructure in the Cross-Sector Integration and Innovation Center in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Protection and Programs Directorate. In this position, Colonel Watson was responsible for leading the national efforts on climate adaptation issues impacting critical infrastructure including improving owner/operator awareness, information sharing, mitigation strategies, and best practices. (more…)

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