Colonel Thomas F. Watson, United States Air Force (Retired)
Senior Fellow for Homeland Security
Colonel Watson is the Director of Government Affairs at the Center for Climate and Security, where he is responsible for engaging the U.S. government on issues of climate and national security. Prior to joining the Center for Climate and Security 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. He produced DHS’s first series of climate adaptation webinars featuring topics such as the impacts of sea level rise and drought on nationally critical infrastructure in the United States. While at DHS, Colonel Watson also served as the Senior Advisor for internal and external policy and program development and coordination, the Director of the Infrastructure Coordination and Analysis Office for the Partnership and Outreach Division, and the first DHS Transportation Team Lead.
Prior to joining DHS, Colonel Watson served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years and retired in 2004. His last active duty assignment was on the faculty of the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. During his career in the Air Force, he held a wide range of operations, support, and staff positions, including in the Secretary of the Air Force Staff Office of Legislative Liaison. Colonel Watson commanded airlift forces during Desert Storm and served as the Vice Commander of Lajes Air Base, Azores, Portugal. He was a command pilot with over 4,000 hours flying time.
Colonel Watson is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, the United States Army War College, the Naval Postgraduate School’s Homeland Security Executive Leadership Program, and the Department of State’s National Security Executive Leadership Seminar.