Strategic Risk Board Experts Respond to Biden Budget on Climate, Biological, and Nuclear Threats – Homeland Security Today



Perhaps more than any executive budget submission in history, the first budget published by the Biden administration takes the seriousness of transnational systemic security risks seriously and begins significant investments to address them. Yet there will still be work to be done after the FY2022 budget to ensure that the federal government‘s resources are commensurate with these threats. Here are the first reactions to the budget of several experts from the Strategic Risk Board (CSR) on these issues.

On climate security

“One thing is clear about the climate investments in this budget request – they are actually investments in mission capacity. Investing in climate resilience means that you want to continue fulfilling your core mission, even when climate impacts worsen. Investing in more efficient systems means you are buying better performing systems. Far from any mandate that distracts from traditional combat capabilities, these investments all increase DoD’s ability to meet mission and readiness requirements in the face of emerging and growing environmental threats. – John Conger, Director, Center for Climate and Security

“The United States cannot tackle the climate crisis alone. I am therefore delighted to see that the budget proposes an increase in contributions to the Green Climate Fund, to help the countries most affected by the climate crisis to adapt. However, there is still a gap between what the United States promised under President Obama and what we are offering, so more needs to be done. Climate change is already contributing to severe instability and conflict risks in countries around the world, threatening US interests. How can we convince other countries to take bold action to reduce emissions and prevent catastrophic future security risks when we fail to help them deal with the security risks we have already bought? – Erin Sikorsky, Deputy Director of the Center for Climate and Security; Director, International Military Council on Climate and Security

“The Indo-Pacific is emerging as a key site of geopolitical contestation and climate vulnerability. The Biden administration may consider committing additional resources to strengthen the resilience of nations in the region, particularly in the area of ​​climate-smart infrastructure, both physical and human, and support for the resolution of related disputes. to transboundary waters. Such support should prioritize allies and partners, but other nations could also be included, to strengthen the momentum for cooperation in a region vital to the US national interest. – Sarang Shidore, Principal Investigator, Strategic Risk Board

“This budget (finally) launches the process of responding to the climate crisis in a manner commensurate with the threat. But the scale of investments in adaptation – and mitigation – must increase if we are to prevent a potentially unmanageable security landscape. We don’t have a lot of time, so now is the time to take it further. – Francesco Femia, co-founder and research director, The Council on Strategic Risks / The Center for Climate and Security

On biological threats

“The President has made it clear that tackling biological threats is a high priority. We have all seen the devastation they can cause. While there are positive increases in pandemic prevention in some areas, it is disappointing not to see this matched in the proposed defense budget. In particular, the President’s budget appears to curtail the Chemical and Biological Defense Program – which has made significant contributions to the COVID-19 response and harbors unique capabilities to respond to infectious disease threats – and the Cooperative Disease Reduction Program. Nunn-Lugar threats, which includes working with international partners on biological threat reduction. In the years to come, defense leaders will need to address this and increase those investments that are so essential to the United States’ strength, competitiveness, and international partnerships. “- Christine Parthemore, CEO, Strategic Risk Council

“Advanced technology for early warning systems and the rapid development of medical countermeasures are only effective with the proper infrastructure and a workforce trained to use it. We’ve already seen the Biden administration’s commitment to public health in this direction – more recently the administration announced $ 7.4 billion to support the training and hiring of public health workers for the next public health crisis. Ideally, the administration should commit similar resources to create a skilled workforce that will work on the research, development, testing and deployment of these technologies. In addition, the administration should devote additional resources to studying the national security, ethical and societal implications of these technologies as they emerge, made up of a diverse community of technologists, community leaders, specialists. social scientists, ethicists and other public and private stakeholders. Diverse and thoughtful contributions and discussions are the key to navigating the promises and dangers of emerging technologies ”Dr Yong-Bee Lim, Fellow, Janne E. Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons, CSR

“The increased presence and role of the Department of Energy (DOE) and national laboratories underscore the administration’s vision that science and technology are integral to building a healthier, safer and more secure world. safer. The DOE’s national laboratories have historically been underutilized despite their immense capabilities as a repository of leading talent in science and technology, state-of-the-art facilities, and a melting pot for innovation in public partnerships. private. The proposed budgets indicate that these spaces should be harnessed to tackle everything from climate change to future pandemics, which is a welcome change from past trends. “- Dr Yong-Bee Lim, Fellow, Janne E. Nolan Center on Strategic Weapons, CSR

On nuclear threats

“As expected, given that the first review of the Biden administration’s nuclear posture is forthcoming, the nuclear weapons program in the President’s first budget request is mostly in continuity with Trump’s latest budget. But almost doubling Trump’s budget for the Long-Range Nuclear Cruise Missile (LRSO) – a destabilizing nuclear weapon that we don’t need for the bomber branch of the Triad – doesn’t make sense. -Andy Weber, Senior CSR Researcher and Former Deputy Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs

“Although the budget is aimed at modernizing the US nuclear arsenal, there is an expected gap to address the intersections between climate, nuclear and security. As the administration’s defense priorities indicate, nuclear issues are closely linked to geopolitical tensions (especially vis-à-vis China and Russia) – climate impacts are virtually guaranteed to intersect with these developments. . – Andrea Rezzonico, Deputy CEO & Deputy Director of the Converging Risks Lab, CSR

DOD’s FY22 application overview explicitly mentions how climate change will impact the Arctic region – and pave the way for greater opportunities for conflict. He could and should actively declare that this region is also surrounded by states with nuclear weapons and nuclear-powered infrastructure, including icebreakers. The Authority should incorporate this link into its strategic plans for the future. “- Andrea Rezzonico, Deputy CEO & Deputy Director of the Converging Risks Lab, CSR

This article first appeared at the Center for Climate and Security

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