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Disaster Security: Using Intelligence and Military Planning for Energy and Environmental Risks (Book Launch)

Please join us for a discussion with the authors of the new book, "Disaster Security: Using Intelligence and Military Planning for Energy and Environmental Risks," and reflections by former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security, Sherri Goodman.

Date & Time

May. 21, 2019
3:00pm – 4:30pm ET


5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Get Directions


From glacier melt in the Andes and hurricanes in New York and Hawaii, to hybrid disasters, cyber operations, and geoengineering, the US military and intelligence community harnesses the foresight provided by scenarios, simulations, and disaster planning to anticipate environmental and security-related disasters. In their new book, Disaster Security: Using Intelligence and Military Planning for Energy and Environmental Risks, Chad Briggs and Miriam Matejova lead readers through real-life planning scenarios and lessons learned to provide an inside view of how and why government agencies plan for environmental disasters and their potential cascading impacts on global systems.

Authors Briggs and Matejova are joined in discussion with former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security, Sherri Goodman.

Selected Quotes


Chad Briggs

“What does climate change mean for security? How do we figure it out and communicate it to policymakers?”

“We wanted to emphasize that it’s not just about climate change. That’s a really important factor but it’s there in the background. Human actions as well are really important. These aren’t just natural disasters; these depend upon human actions and human vulnerabilities”

“Everyone was talking about climate security before; this is what brings it home because it’s not just off in some far off place. It’s not just people in Syria fighting with one another. It’s not people we don’t know on low lying islands in the pacific. These are our islands.”

Miriam Matejova

“We often have this idea of everything moving in a linear way. And that’s problematic when we have abrupt environmental changes appearing because they’re, by definition, not linear.”

“If we encounter events that we don’t have historical data on – that never happened before – we get frozen by the sudden uncertainty; we don’t know how to deal with things that we have never had to deal with before.”

“We are frozen by uncertainty and then we don’t take actions until we get enough information – that we can move on. But in many cases, once we actually do get enough information and move on, it’s too late and then we have to deal with the consequences.”

Sherri Goodman

“We now live in a world where the historical record of environmental change isn’t accurate to predict the future.”

“It’s very critical to connect the science as its changing with the security and intelligence analysis and I would say this is still really a new and evolving field. “

“This whole idea of factoring energy into war planning as a variable is now common but it was not 10 to 15 years ago. We are at that place now with environmental factors which haven’t yet been regularly included into scenarios and exercises, but you can begin to see the evidence, as Chad and Miriam have recounted, where that’s happening.”



Continue the conversation on Twitter by following @NewSecurityBeat using the hashtag #disastersecurity. You can also find related coverage on our blog at

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Joanna Hensley.

Hosted By

Environmental Change and Security Program

The Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) explores the connections between environmental change, health, and population dynamics and their links to conflict, human insecurity, and foreign policy.  Read more

Global Risk and Resilience Program

The Global Risk and Resilience Program (GRRP) seeks to support the development of inclusive, resilient networks in local communities facing global change. By providing a platform for sharing lessons, mapping knowledge, and linking people and ideas, GRRP and its affiliated programs empower policymakers, practitioners, and community members to participate in the global dialogue on sustainability and resilience. Empowered communities are better able to develop flexible, diverse, and equitable networks of resilience that can improve their health, preserve their natural resources, and build peace between people in a changing world.  Read more

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