Bio

Summary

Sherri Goodman, Senior Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program and Polar Initiative, is credited with educating a generation of U.S. military and government officials about the nexus between climate change and national security, using her famous coinage, “threat multiplier,” to fundamentally reshape the national discourse on the topic. A former first Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security) and staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Goodman has founded, led, or advised nearly a dozen research organizations on environmental and energy matters, national security and public policy.

 

Full Bio

Sherri Goodman is an experienced leader and senior executive, lawyer and director in the fields of national security, energy, science, oceans and environment.  She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and CNA, and a Senior Advisor for International Security at the Center for Climate and Security.  Previously, she served as the President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Goodman served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of CNA (Center for Naval Analyses)  where she was also the founder and Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board, whose landmark reports include National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (2007), and National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change (2014),  Advanced Energy and US National Security (2017), and The Role of Water Stress in Instability and Conflict (2017) among others.  The film The Age of Consequences  in which Goodman is featured, is based on the work of the CNA Military Advisory Board.

Goodman served as the first Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security) from 1993-2001.   As the chief environmental, safety, and occupational health officer for the Department of Defense (DoD), she oversaw an annual budget of over $5 billion.  She established the first environmental, safety and health performance metrics for the Department and, as the nation’s largest energy user, led its energy, environmental and natural resource conservation programs. Overseeing the President’s plan for revitalizing base closure communities, she ensured that 80% of base closure property became available for transfer and reuse. Ms. Goodman has twice received the DoD medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Gold Medal from the National Defense Industrial Association, and the EPA’s Climate Change Award.

Goodman has served on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee for Committee Chairman Senator Sam Nunn.  She has practiced law at Goodwin Procter, as both a litigator and environmental attorney, and has worked at RAND and SAIC.

Goodman serves on the boards of the Atlantic Council and its Resilience Center, the Joint Ocean Commission Leadership Council, the Marshall Legacy Institute, the National Executive Committee of the US Water Partnership, the Advisory Committee of the US Global Change Research Program and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, served on its Arctic Task Force in 2016 and on the Board of its Center for Preventive Action.

Previously, she served on the Boards of Blue Star Families, the Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the National Academy of Sciences’ Boards on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES) and Environmental Systems and Toxicology (BEST), the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board,   and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

She has also served on the Responsibility to Protect Working Group co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

In 2010, Goodman served on the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel co-chaired by former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry.

Goodman has testified before numerous committees of the U.S. Congress, and conducted interviews with print, television, radio and online media.  She has published widely in various print and on line media and in legal and scholarly journals. She has been an Adjunct Lecturer in International Affairs and Security at the Kennedy School of Government and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Center for Science and International Affairs.

The daughter of Holocaust refugees who arrived in New York in the late 1930s, she was born in Queens. 

A summa cum laude graduate of Amherst College, she earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and a masters in public policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Project Summary

This project will examine the national security implications of water both within the US and globally. With primary water sources threatened or degraded, from Flint Michigan, to Sana Yemen, the time is now to consider water as both a strategic resource and an essential human need. No longer can we take the provision of clean water for granted, even in our own country. A 2012 National Intelligence Community (NIC) Assessment on Global Water Security noted that water challenges will increase the likelihood of instability and state failure, promote regional tensions, and prevent countries from achieving food and energy security. The focus of this project is how changes to water availability and accessibility in areas of strategic interest to the US will emerge as national security concerns for the United States and its allies.

Major Publications

How climate change is fueling conflict around the world, 2018, https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/how-climate-change-is-fueling-conflict-around-the-world-1.4858826

Who Controls the Tap? Addressing Water Security in Asia, 2018, https://www.cfr.org/blog/who-controls-tap-addressing-water-security-asia

Viewing Climate Change as a Geopolitical Risk, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2018-09-26/viewing-climate-change-as-a-geopolitical-risk-video

China Is Winning the Race for Water Security in Asia, 2018, https://nationalinterest.org/feature/china-winning-race-water-security-asia-31912

Sherri Goodman presided at a Council on Foreign Relations meeting:  “Countdown to Day Zero:  Water Scarcity and Security,” on June 1 in Washington D.C., https://www.cfr.org/event/countdown-day-zero-water-scarcity-and-security

Environmental and Climate Security for the 21st Century, 2018, https://www.amherst.edu/news/specialevents/commencement/speeches_multimedia/commencement-2018/conversations-with-honored-guests

China Has Arrived in the Arctic: Q & A with Sherri Goodman, 2018, https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2018/03/china-arrived-arctic-qa-sherri-goodman/

China's Arctic Ambitions: Q&A with Sherri Goodman, 2018, https://seatechnologymagazine.com/chinas-arctic-ambitions-qa-with-sherri...

Arctic Imperatives: Reinforcing U.S. Strategy on America's Fourth Coast, 2017, http://www.cfr.org/arctic/arctic-imperatives/p38868?cid=otr-marketing_us...

Ocean Action Agenda: Supporting Regional Ocean Economies and Ecosystems 2017, http://www.jointoceancommission.org/en/newsroom/Press_Release/2017-_Ocean-Action-Agenda-Release.aspx

"Meet The Woman Whose Two-Word Catchphrase Made the Military Care About Climate," 2015, http://www.buzzfeed.com/danvergano/the-threat-multiplier

National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change, 2014, https://www.cna.org/mab/reports

National Security and the Threat of Climate Change, 2007, https://www.cna.org/mab/reports

Resources