Global Climate Change as a National Security Threat
When we discuss global climate change, it generally is in the context of its impact on the environment and energy policy. However, we also should consider its implications for national security. Last year, following a debate in Congress on whether the U.S. intelligence community should consider those implications, a national intelligence assessment (NIA) was undertaken. (The debate was instigated by members who deny climate change).
This week, there was a hearing to discuss the classified NIA and an unclassified report, "National Security and the Climate of Change", published by the CNA Corporation. CNA Corporation is a non-profit research organization that manages the Institute for Public Research and the Center for Naval Analyses, which provides issues analysis for public policy makers. One of the members of the panel that wrote the report and one of the main witnesses at the hearing was Vice Admiral Paul G. Gaffney (Ret.), of New Jersey, who is the President of Monmouth University.
As Admiral Gaffney testified, climate change could lead to political instability around the world. Extreme weather events such as floods and drought disrupt a community's way of life. They instigate the spread of disease, contaminate a region's water supply, and adversely affect food production. These demands could exceed the capacity of a foreign government - especially one struggling economically or in a region with turmoil - to handle such crises. The CNA report concluded that our government must do what it can to alleviate the consequences of climate change, by setting targets for long term reductions in green house gas emissions, assessing the military's ability to respond to natural disasters, and assisting vulnerable foreign nations.
Congressional Art Competition
Every year I host a Congressional Art Competition for high school students in my district, just as my colleagues do in their districts. In April, 78 students from 16 high schools displayed their works - ranging from painting, drawing, collage, prints, mixed media, computer-generated art, and photography - at the Middletown Arts Center. Out of an impressive pool of entries, an independent panel of three judges awarded Kristen Birdsey of Hopewell with the grand prize for her beautiful drawing, "Reflections".
Kristen's drawing is currently being displayed in the U.S. Capitol, where it will remain for one year with the works of other students from across the country.
I look forward to the Congressional Art Competition every year. Not only does it provide an opportunity to display the creativity and artistic talent of Central New Jersey students, but it is another opportunity to promote the arts.
This past Saturday, I invited the incoming Cadets and Midshipmen of the major U.S. Service Academies and Military Preparatory Schools, along with their families, to my home for a reception. The nominated students, all recent Central New Jersey high school graduates, will leave for the academy for their "plebe summer" of training in July. I commend the students for their commitment, maturity, and bravery to serve at this crucial period in our nation's history. A list of the class of 2012 academy nominees can be found here.
If you or a member of your family is interested in applying for a nomination to one of the service academies, please contact my district office at 609-750-9365 or visit my website at holt.house.gov and click on Academy Nominations.
Member of Congress