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Solarium II Project - A Strategy for America's Energy Security

Jan 10, 2008
8:00am to 6:00pm

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted the second of the Solarium II series events, “A Strategy for America’s Energy Security,” on Thursday, January 10th, at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. The Solarium II methodology, adapted by CNAS President Michèle Flournoy, is a competitive policymaking exercise based on President Eisenhower’s original Project Solarium, which helped define the strategy of containment. 

CNAS convened scientists, environmentalists, national security experts and politicians to debate a comprehensive strategy to meet the long-term challenge of energy security. According to CNAS, both oil dependence and the consequences of climate change present grave threats to the security of the nation. CNAS, therefore, set the strategic goal of the Solarium exercise to be reaching an economy no longer dependent on oil and coal over a 40 timeframe (the same amount of time it took containment to succeed). 

There is broad agreement in the national security and energy policy communities about the geostrategic and economic necessity of such a goal, but far less agreement on how to reach it. The energy security Solarium, therefore, focused on the barriers to strategic success, with four experts presenting their ideas for how to turn barriers into opportunities. An expert panel debated the proposals, soliciting input from a task force. In the final working session, the task force recommended that executive leadership be a top priority, followed by a strategic public communications strategy, targeted international outreach, and an economic policy that incorporates the full costs of oil and coal, promotes R&D, and supports job training and other transition assistance.


James Adams
CEO, Ashland Institute for Strategic Studies

Joshua W. Busby
Assistant Professor, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Honorary Panelists

Hon. Carol Browner
Principal, The Albright Group

Hon. Tom Daschle
Alston & Bird, LLP

Neil King
Wall Street Journal

Christine Matthews
Founder, Bellwether Research

The Hon. Jamie Rubin
Former State Department Spokesman


Amy Myers Jaffe
Wallace Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy and Associate Director, Rice University Energy Program

Jason Furman

Director, The Hamilton Project, The Brookings Institution

Honorary Panelists

The Hon. Carol Browner

Albright Group

Zoe Baird
Markle Foundation

Peter Blair
National Research Council

Bruce Stokes
National Journal

Hon. Rick White
Woodbay Group