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

Hearing on Climate and National Security_House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence_2019_6_5

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…)

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…)

Rear Admiral Dave Titley on CNN: “This is a blatant attempt…to politicize the security aspect of climate change”

Rear Admiral David Titley USN Ret_CNN Interview_2019_03_07Yesterday, Christiane Amanpour of CNN spoke to Rear Admiral David W. Titley, USN (Ret), Senior Member of the Center for Climate and Security Advisory Board and former Oceanographer of the Navy, about the recent letter signed by 58 senior military and national security officials denouncing the William Happer-led process within the National Security Council to establish an adversarial climate change review panel. When asked why a group of people who aren’t normally vocal critics of Administration policy responded so vigorously to the proposed panel, Admiral Titley stated:

“What concerns so many of us who signed the letter is that this is really a blatant attempt by the National Security Council to politicize the security aspect of climate change.”

Watch a short clip here.

Watch the full interview here.

 

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…)

Conger on NPR: Don’t Create a Blind Spot for the Military on Climate Change

U.S. Navy photo by PH1 Michael Pendergrass. (RELEASED)

A flooded parking lot at the U.S. Naval Academy – U.S. Navy photo by PH1 Michael Pendergrass

The most recent coverage of the National Security Council’s planned “adversarial” climate group has focused on its potential implications for the U.S. government’s science agencies. John Conger, Director of the Center for Climate and Security, appeared on NPR recently to highlight the ways in which this process of undermining rigorously peer-reviewed climate science, and using that to shape national security policy, can undermine the military’s and the intelligence community’s efforts to address the threat. Take a listen here.

Release: Planned Executive Order on Climate Security Scrapped, but Assault on Science Agencies and National Security Continues

Ponds_on_the_Ocean_ICESCAPE

Carried by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a team of scientists investigate how a melting Arctic affects the ocean’s chemical and biological makeup – NASA image acquired July 12, 2011

Washington, DC, February 24, 2019 – According to a Washington Post article published today, the planned Executive Order establishing a Presidential Committee on Climate Security, or PCCS, has likely been scrapped – at least in its initial form. This is probably due to the extraordinarily negative public response to the idea following an initial Washington Post article on the PCCS published on February 20 (wherein the Center for Climate and Security strongly criticized the proposed federal advisory committee). However, the National Security Council intends to move forward more quietly and less publicly with an internal, ad hoc group of scientists designed to provide an “adversarial” peer review of recent climate change findings by the federal science agencies, including the National Climate Assessment – a process that seeks to undermine scientific findings, as opposed to evaluate their soundness, and then feed that into national security policy. Presumably due to withering criticism from the security community in the wake of the initial report, recent intelligence agency assessments are exempt from scrutiny under this new working group (Department of Defense reports may be as well, though the Washington Post article does not make that clear).

Given that both the intelligence and defense communities rely on the sound and rigorously peer-reviewed climate change findings of the federal science agencies in order to do their jobs, the continuation of the committee under this new guise continues to present a real risk sound national security judgment. In that context, Rear Admiral David Titley, USN (Ret), Advisory Board member with the Center for Climate and Security, former Oceanographer of the Navy, and former Deputy Undersecretary of Commerce for Operations at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told the Washington Post today:

“I never thought I would live to see the day in the United States where our own White House is attacking the very science agencies that can help the president understand and manage the climate risks to security of today and tomorrow,” said Titley, who sits on the advisory board of the Center for Climate and Security, a nonpartisan group focused on climate-related risks. “Such attacks are un-American.”

(more…)

Reaction: The New National Security Strategy and Climate Change

SouthPorticoThe Administration today released its first National Security Strategy. Click here for the official summary, and here for the full text. Notably, climate change is not listed as a national security risk in the document, though there are a few elements that relate to the subject. Below is the Center for Climate and Security’s out-of-the-gate reaction: (more…)