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Center for Climate and Security Fellows Selected for Key Positions in the Biden Administration

The Center for Climate and Security (CCS) would like to congratulate its Senior Research Fellows Kate Guy and Dr. Josh Busby for their appointments in the Biden Administration. Ms. Guy will serve as Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State, within the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. Her role with the Administration will focus on confronting growing global climate and environmental security challenges. This summer, Dr. Busby began a year-long appointment as senior advisor for climate in the U.S. Department of Defense, where he is involved in the Biden administration’s prioritization of climate change, including the National Defense Strategy.  

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The U.S. Department of Defense Releases its Climate Adaptation Plan  

Today, the U.S. Federal Government released Climate Adaptation Plans from all of its agencies.

The Department of Defense (DoD) plan can be found here, as well as a statement from Secretary of Defense Austin and the DoD press release.  It’s an impressive successor to the 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap, and its ambition reflects the tone of this Administration – a tone set within its first week when President Biden signed Executive Order 14008, Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

See a more detailed assessment in this Defense One op-ed on the new strategy, by the Center for Climate and Security’s John Conger.

Stay tuned for more on other agency plans covering climate security.

The Pentagon Previews Climate Adaptation Plan in Congressional Hearing


By John Conger

On July 14, 2021, the Readiness Subcommittee of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee held a virtual hearing on the  installations and environment portfolios of the Department of Defense (DoD).  The witnesses were: Paul Cramer, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Sustainment); Jack Surash, the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense (Installations, Energy and Environment); Todd Schafer, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment); and Jennifer Miller, the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Energy, Installations, and Environment).  The hearing and the witness statements addressed a wide range of topics in this portfolio – to include climate resilience at DoD installations.

Note that each of these senior officials was Acting in their positions at the time of the hearing.  Each are senior civilian officials that are filling political jobs pending nomination and confirmation of political appointees in these roles.  Since this hearing, Meredith Berger has been confirmed as the Navy’s Assistant Secretary.  Rachel Jacobson is the pending nominee for the Army job.  No nominee has been announced for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) or Air Force roles.

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BRIEFER: Climate Change in the U.S. National Security Strategy: History and Recommendations

By Holly Kaufman and Sherri Goodman

2021 marks renewed and heightened U.S. government attention to climate and environmental security.  Reducing the threat of climate change is integrated into nearly every aspect of the Biden Administration’s agenda, into all cabinet and other senior positions, including those that deal with national security and foreign policy, and is the focus of three Executive Orders (EOs) that President Biden issued starting on day one of his presidency. The White House also published an Interim National Security Strategic Guidance” which states that the United States and the world have to act aggressively, now, to avert the most dire climate change consequences “for the health of our people, our economy, our security, and our planet.”

The President’s “Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” EO starts with a directive to put the climate crisis “at the center of U.S. foreign policy and national security.” It directs the Secretary of Defense, the Director of National Intelligence and others to analyze the security implications of climate change (i.e., the “Climate Risk Analysis”) and incorporate them into modeling, simulation, war-gaming and other analyses. This EO also calls for the first National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) focused on climate change – one of a number of measures to integrate climate change considerations into all aspects of domestic and international security planning. This is both unprecedented and critical. NIEs are the most authoritative analyses by the U.S. intelligence community. They provide policymakers with detailed data, information, and evidence-based analysis, without regard to whether the analytic judgments conform to current U.S. policy. Though a number of previous intelligence documents have addressed climate change, including a landmark 2016 National Intelligence Council memorandum, an NIE will go further in detailing the impact of climate change on America’s security. 

Read the full briefer here.

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