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University of Charleston and American Security Project team up to host panel on climate change and national security

Charleston, W.Va.– The University of Charleston (UC) and the American Security Project (ASP) came together on April 12 to host a panel titled: How Climate Change Impacts National Security.

The virtual event saw presentations from thought leaders at the forefronts of their respective fields, including:


• Major General John Barnette (Ret), Ed. D
o Former Commander, West Virginia Army National Guard
o Professor and Associate Dean, Executive Director of Leadership and Professional Development Programs, University of Charleston
o Dr. Barnette discussed the direct and indirect consequences of climate change with the implications for national security and the Department of Defense. He also addressed the requisite leadership skills and competencies requires for these complexities.


• Dr. George E. Walker
o Retired Nuclear Physicist
o Professor and Senior Mentor for the Doctor of Executive Leadership Program, University of Charleston
o Dr. Walker discussed the ongoing challenges of performance of high-tech components, communication, and domestic infrastructure vulnerability because of the threat-multiplying effects of climate change.


• Rear Admiral Michael White (Ret)
o RADM (Ret), United States Navy
o Michael discussed rising seas, and the compounding challenges of infrastructure, weather, and environmentally displaced people.


• Major General Rick Devereaux (Ret)
o Major General (Ret), United States Air Force
o Major General Devereaux discussed the national security imperative of moving away from fossil fuels and how this relates to an emerging clean energy technology “arms race” with China.

The four panelists shared their personal experiences in conjunction with the latest research which shed light on the close, yet often undiscussed, connection between the phenomenon of climate change and its resulting impacts on national security.

The event was moderated by Dr. Marty Roth, President of University of Charleston, and also featured video submissions from U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, III and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito.

“This event came together as a collaboration between the University of Charleston and the American Security Project,” said Dr. Roth. “There’s a lot of discussion around the environment and climate change, but very little on the relationship between those things and national security. So, we brought together subject matter experts who can shed some light on this important relationship.”

Alexandra Hackbarth, Director of Climate and Energy Security of the American Security Project, expanded, sharing, “Climate security has been a key element of the American Security Project’s mission since its founding. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the University of Charleston to bring you this expert panel on an important and timely topic.”

Though the panelists’ presentations varied on topic and experiences, three common themes arose: climate change is a global phenomenon, innovation is key to how we approach challenges from climate change, and how these steps impact those involved.

The event keeps with a key pillar of the University of Charleston’s mission, which is to prepare students and the broader community for enlightened living. By raising awareness and understanding of important contemporary issues, the University aims to create a more informed and confident population, armed with knowledge to make positive differences in their communities.

A link to the full summit may be found here: https://zoom.us/rec/share/VwdY1is7WVBPPLUTsPaHDjLLWAXeQUhLPmh3a7fMhWzV5CTRJYXqE32Vzi2OAToC.idCCjgnpYHKU2y0X

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