Former Pennsylvania Governor and former Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge, 1 October 2012. Ridge joined 37 prominent political figures at the U.S. Capitol on 25 February 2013 calling for policymakers to figure climate change into national security strategy and budget considerations. Photo: Dan Gleiter / The Patriot-News

By  Robert J. Vickers |  
25 February 2013

WASHINGTON (Penn Live) – Former Gov. Tom Ridge joined 37 prominent political figures at that U.S. Capitol Monday calling for policymakers to figure climate change into national security strategy and budget considerations.

“The U.S. national security community, including leaders from the military, homeland security, and intelligence, understand that climate change is a national security threat,” Ridge said.

“They're not talking about whether or not it is occurring – it is," Ridge said. "They're talking about addressing the problem and protecting the American people. It's time Washington does the same.”

Ridge, a former Homeland Security secretary, appeared in Washington as part of an effort by the Partnership for a Secure America, a bipartisan foreign policy group. The 38 foreign policy leaders signed an open letter arguing the national security threat of climate change.

“It is in our national interest to confront the risk that climate change in vulnerable regions presents to American security,” the letter read. “We must offer adaptive solutions to communities currently facing climate-driven displacement, support disaster risk reduction measures and help mitigate potential future impacts through sustainable food, water and energy systems.”

Also among the dignitaries signing the letter were former secretaries of state George Schultz and Madeleine Albright, as well as former U.S. Rep. James Greenwood, R-Bucks County. [more]

Tom Ridge: 'Climate change is a national security threat'

Contact: Nathan Sermonis,, 202-293-8580
25 February 2013

WASHINGTON (PSA) – Today, Partnership for a Secure America (PSA) launched their newest open letter, signed by 38 Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, on the national security threats of climate change at a bipartisan panel event on Capitol Hill.

In the midst of sequestration’s looming budget cuts and White House promises of Executive Action on climate change, should Congress fail to act, the letter’s signatories stress the urgent need for action to prevent disastrous impacts on U.S. national security interests. Mobilizing public and private support for international mitigation and adaptation projects in vulnerable communities must be a priority, the letter states.

R. James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence, and Wayne Gilchrest, former Congressman (R-MD) and Co-founder of the Congressional Climate Change Caucus, spoke at the event to highlight the critical threats that climate change presents.

“If we have difficulty figuring out how to deal with immigration today, look at the prospects for the glacial retreats in the Andes. The glaciers are not doing well … If that starts to go away, we will have millions upon millions of southern neighbors hungry, thirsty, with crops failing and looking for some place in the world they can go,” Woolsey said.

Glichrest said, “As we saw the military in Sandy, we saw the military in Katrina … we’ll see them in Pakistan – one of those countries that may be more hard-hit by climate change than almost any other country in the immediate term.”

The signatories to PSA’s letter join the State Department, Defense Department, National Intelligence Council, and many other security voices in emphasizing the serious national security implications of climate change.

Signatories including seventeen former Senators and Congress members, nine retired generals and admirals, both the Chair and Vice Chair of the 9/11 Commission, and Cabinet and Cabinet-level officials from the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush (41), Clinton, and Bush (43) administrations.

This initiative builds upon PSA’s 2009 statement “Climate Change Threatens All Americans” (, which served to publicly identify climate change as an issue of bipartisan concern among national security experts.

A video of the event can be found at

PSA is a nonprofit founded by former U.S. Representative Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and former U.S. Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH) to advance bipartisanship on today’s critical national security and foreign policy challenges. Leveraging the leadership of its distinguished Advisory Board, PSA has unique credibility and access to forge common ground and fashion thoughtful, fact-based policy that promotes America’s national interests. More information on PSA can be found at



The effects of climate change in the world’s most vulnerable regions present a serious threat to American national security interests. As a matter of risk management, the United States must work with international partners, public and private, to address this impending crisis. Potential consequences are undeniable, and the cost of inaction, paid for in lives and valuable U.S. resources, will be staggering. Washington must lead on this issue now.

Countries least able to adapt to or mitigate the impacts of climate change will suffer the most, but the resulting crises will quickly become a burden on U.S. priorities as well. Both the Department of Defense and the State Department have identified climate change as a serious risk to American security and an agent of instability. Without precautionary measures, climate change impacts abroad could spur mass migrations, influence civil conflict and ultimately lead to a more unpredictable world. In fact, we may already be seeing signs of this as vulnerable communities in some of the most fragile and conflict-ridden states are increasingly displaced by floods, droughts and other natural disasters. Protecting U.S. interests under these conditions would progressively exhaust American military, diplomatic and development resources as we struggle to meet growing demands for emergency international engagement.

It is in our national interest to confront the risk that climate change in vulnerable regions presents to American security. We must offer adaptive solutions to communities currently facing climate-driven displacement, support disaster risk reduction measures and help mitigate potential future impacts through sustainable food, water and energy systems. Advancing stability in the face of climate change threats will promote resilient communities, reliable governance and dependable access to critical resources.

We, the undersigned Republicans, Democrats and Independents, implore U.S. policymakers to support American security and global stability by addressing the risks of climate change in vulnerable nations. Their plight is our fight; their problems are our problems. Even as we face budgetary austerity and a fragile economic recovery, public and private sectors must work together to meet the funding demands of this strategic investment in internationally-backed solutions. Effective adaptation and mitigation efforts in these countries will protect our long-standing security interests abroad.

Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State 1997-2001

Richard Armitage, Deputy Secretary of State 2001-05

Samuel Berger, National Security Advisor 1997-2001

Sherwood Boehlert, US Congressman (R-NY) 1983-2007

Carol Browner, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency 1993-2001

Michael Castle, US Congressman (R-DE) 1993-2011, Governor (R-DE) 1985-92

GEN Wesley Clark, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO

William Cohen, Secretary of Defense 1997-2001, US Senator (R-ME) 1979-97

Lt Gen Lawrence P. Farrell, Jr., USAF (Ret.), Fmr. Deputy Chief Of Staff for Plans and Programs, HQ USAF

BG Gerald E. Galloway, Jr., P.E., Ph.D., USA (Ret.), Fmr. Dean of the Academic Board, US Military Academy

Wayne Gilchrest, US Congressman (R-MD) 1991-2009

James Greenwood, US Congressman (R-PA) 1993-2005

VADM Lee F. Gunn, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Inspector General of the Department of the Navy

Lee Hamilton, US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board

Gary Hart, US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87

Rita E. Hauser, Chair, International Peace Institute

Carla Hills, US Trade Representative 1989-93

Thomas Kean, Governor (R-NJ) 1982-90, 9/11 Commission Chair

GEN Paul J. Kern, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Commanding General, US Army Materiel Command

Richard Leone, President, The Century Foundation 1989-2011

Joseph I. Lieberman, US Senator (I-CT) 1989-2013

Richard G. Lugar, US Senator (R-IN) 1977-2013

VADM Dennis V. McGinn, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Requirements and Programs

Donald McHenry, US Ambassador to the UN 1979-81

Constance Morella, US Congresswoman (R-MD) 1987-2003, US Ambassador to OECD 2003-07

Sam Nunn, US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96

John Porter, US Congressman (R-IL) 1980-2001

Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security 2003-05, Governor (R-PA) 1995-2001

ADM Gary Roughead, USN (Ret.), Fmr. Chief of Naval Operations

Warren Rudman, US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92, Fmr. Co-Chair, PSA Advisory Board

Christopher Shays, US Congressman (R-CT) 1987-2009

George Shultz, Secretary of State 1982-89

Olympia J. Snowe, US Senator (R-ME) 1995-2013

GEN Gordon R. Sullivan, USA (Ret.), Fmr. Chief of Staff, US Army, Chairman, CNA Military Advisory Board

Timothy E. Wirth, US Senator (D-CO) 1987-93

Frank Wisner, Undersecretary of State 1992-93

R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence 1993-95, Co-founder, US Energy Security Council

GEN Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), Fmr. Commander in Chief, US Central Command

LETTER RELEASE: Thirty-Eight Leading U.S. National Security Experts Urge Action on International Climate Change Initiatives


  1. Tommy Hormung said...

    I always find it amusing when these politicians, especially the Republican ones, can only see the truth concerning climate change once they LEAVE office.  


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