Center for Climate and Security (The Council on Strategic Risks)




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2021):

Revenue: $4,326,697
Expenses: $2,176,627
Assets: $4,122,816




Climate Change/National Security Advocacy Group


Francesco Femia

Caitlin E. Werrell

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The Center for Climate and Security is a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group that promotes national security policy that incorporates a left-leaning position on global warming. A number of its senior officials have held posts with Democratic Presidential administrations.

The group has received substantial funding from the left-of-center institutional grantmakers Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Compton Foundation, and David Rockefeller Fund.


The Center for Climate and Security is an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks. The center contends that climate change poses a national security risk, and includes 32-member advisory board made up of national security professionals including including retired military officers. 1

The organization professes to be nonpartisan, but has gotten significant funding from left-of-center organizations such as the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Compton Foundation, and the David Rockefeller Fund. 2

In September 2019, the center teamed with George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs to release the Climate Security Plan for America. The report called for, among other things, creating a White House Office on Climate Security and enacting environmentalist public policies. 3


The center sponsors the International Military Council on Climate and Security to promote international support about climate issues impacting potential global conflicts. The center also crafted the “Responsibility to Prepare Framework” as a road map for governments to use technology to prepare for the effects of climate change. 4

The center also has a climate and security fellowship program, which is a year-long mentorship program for young people seeking a career in climate security. The center focuses heavily on the Middle East and North Africa, where it says the climate change is a “threat multiplier” creating social, economic and political unrest. 5

The Climate Security 101 program offers information about the U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review and the Navy’s Task Force Climate Change, to show the Defense Department is already addressing effects from climate cjamge. The Climate-Nuclear Security Program researches the relationships among nuclear, climate, and security risks. 6

The center’s Climate Security Consensus Project is made up of a bipartisan group following the 2016 determination that: “Climate change present a strategically-significant risk to U.S. national security and international security, and…the U.S. must advance a comprehensive policy for addressing this risk.” 7

The center’s Climate and Security Working Group convenes U.S.-based security experts to promote best practices on climate risks. The center’s Planetary Security Initiative is a consortium of think tanks. 8


John Conger is the director of the center. Before becoming director, he was a senior policy adviser for the center. He came to the center after holding a number of Defense Department positions in the Obama administration. Conger served as the principal deputy undersecretary of defense in the comptroller’s office. Before that, Conger oversaw energy and environmental policy for the Defense Department while serving in three different posts: assistant secretary of defense for energy, installation and environment; as acting deputy undersecretary for installation and environment and as assistant and as assistant deputy undersecretary over the course of 2009 through 2015. 9

Conger complained that the Defense Department if slow to respond and that the Trump administration is making is worse, telling Inside Climate News: “The DOD is a large organization.  You can’t change its direction quickly. That turn becomes even more sluggish given the anti-climate posture taken by the Trump administration. There is a reticence to take on the White House overtly.” 10

Caitlin Werrell is the co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security, where she was previously the president. She was also a co-founder of the Council on Strategic Risks, where she is former CEO. She is currently also the research director for the Council on Strategic Risks. She previously founded the MAP Institute for Water and Climate. She is also on the advisory board of the Nuclear Security Working Group. 11

Francesco Femia is the co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security and research director for the Council on Strategic Risks. He oversees all of the Center for Climate and Security’s research an analysis programs. He is a former CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks and is also a former president of the Center for Climate and Security. He was previously a program director at the Connect U.S. Fund. 12

Sherri Goodman is senior strategist at the Center for Climate and Security and a member of the advisory board. She is also chairwoman of the board of Council on Strategic Risks. Goodman is a former CEO and president of the Ocean Leadership Consortium. She was a Defense Department official during the Clinton administration, serving from 1993 to 2001 as the deputy undersecretary of defense on environmental security. Before that, she was a staff lawyer for the Senate Armed Services Committee under U.S. Senator Sam Nunn (D-GA). 13

Christine Parthemore is the CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks, the center’s parent organization. She was previously a senior adviser for the assistant secretary of defense for nuclear, chemical, and biological defense programs. 14


  1. Center for Climate and Security. Council on Strategic Risks. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  2. Information provided by Foundation Search. Center for Climate and Security.
  3. [1] Hutzler, Alexander. “It’s Not Just Gretta Thunberg, Former Top Military Officials Tell Donald Trump to Treat Climate Change as Major National Security Threat.” Newsweek. September 24, 2019. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  4. Programs. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  5. Programs. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  6. Programs. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  7. Policy. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  8. Policy. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  9. John Conger. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  10. Hasemyer, David. “U.S. Military Precariously Unprepared for Climate Threats, War College & Retired Brass Warn.” Inside Climate News. December 23, 2019. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  11. Caitlin Werrell. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  12. Francesco Femia. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  13. Sherri Goodman. Accessed January 26, 2020.
  14. Christine Parthemore. Accessed January 26, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 2018

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2021 Dec Form 990 $4,326,697 $2,176,627 $4,122,816 $163,256 N $4,327,158 $0 $0 $129,000
    2020 Dec Form 990 $2,323,556 $1,199,030 $1,939,059 $129,569 N $2,323,556 $0 $0 $120,000 PDF
    2019 Dec Form 990 $897,013 $593,159 $739,524 $54,560 N $897,013 $0 $0 $207,604 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $755,018 $379,108 $405,623 $24,513 N $755,018 $0 $0 $126,163 PDF

    Center for Climate and Security (The Council on Strategic Risks)

    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-5417