July 20, 2009

CNAS Vice President of Natural Security Sharon Burke Testifies on Climate Change and National Security

Washington, D.C., July 20, 2009 – CNAS Vice President of Natural Security Sharon Burke testified on Tuesday, July 21, in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the national security implications of climate change. The hearing, chaired by Senator John Kerry, D-MA, focused on how global climate change could affect U.S. military operations, strain natural resources and heighten global tensions. 


“Climate Change and Global Security: Challenges, Threats and Diplomatic Opportunities”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 2:30 p.m.

419 Dirksen Senate Office Building

For more information on tomorrow’s hearing the complete list of witnesses, click here.

Burke is the author of a June 2009 CNAS report that outlines the concept of Natural Security, a groundbreaking program recently launched at CNAS that will examine the role that climate change, energy security and natural-resource depletion will play in protecting the security of the United States. The ultimate goal of the program is to offer practical solutions and strategies to anticipate, shape, and respond to the ways in which natural resources will shape the 21st century strategic environment.

“From oil to critical minerals to water, the global competition for natural resources in the 21st century will generate economic dislocation, tension, instability, and even conflict,” wrote Burke. “As this young century unfolds, the security of the United States – and most nations of the world – will increasingly depend on our “natural security.”

As Vice President of Natural Security, Burke’s portfolio at CNAS has included an energy security strategy exercise, the development of futures scenarios focused on global climate change, an international climate change war game, and an ongoing project that maps  how the U.S. government makes energy security policy. Prior to joining CNAS, she was the Director of the National Security Project at Third Way. Previously, she served in the U.S. government as a member of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State, a Country Director in the Department of Defense’s Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, and a speechwriter to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Secretary of Defense William Cohen. She also worked in the Energy and Materials program of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment and has received medals for Exceptional Public Service from the Department of Defense and the Superior Honor Award from the Department of State.