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The Middle East and Central Asia—or nearly the entire U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility—will be especially hard hit by global climate change in the coming decades. To date, DoD’s research on the effects of climate hazards has focused primarily on mitigation (e.g., reducing emissions) and adaptation and resiliency of the force, installations, and materiel. But how will climate hazards such as accelerating high temperatures, drought, and long-term dryness affect the security environments in which U.S. military forces operate?

Please join RAND's National Security Research Division on Thursday, March 14 at 3:00 p.m. ET for a panel discussion about the implications of climate change on the security environment in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. Specifically, the panel will consider how climate hazards will exacerbate long-standing economic, social, and governance stressors, and how this in turn will affect stability and the frequency of conflict in the region.

Vago Muradian, founder and editor of Defense & Aerospace Report, will moderate the discussion.


Chris Backemeyer

Chris Backemeyer

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Assistance Coordination/Regional and Multilateral Affairs, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Greg Pollock

Greg Pollock

Principal Director for Arctic and Global Resilience, U.S. Department of Defense

Greg Pollock has served since 2012 in a series of leadership positions in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, where he currently serves as the Principal Director for the recently established Arctic and Global Resilience Office. In this role, Mr. Pollock leads a team that develops and implements the Department's strategic approach to challenges related to climate change, energy security, and competition with Russia and China in an increasingly contested Arctic region.

Mr. Pollock is also an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, where he teaches a graduate course on the implications of global climate change and the energy transition for international security.

Mr. Pollock served from 2019-2021 as the Secretary of Defense Chair on the faculty of the National War College, where he created and taught courses on national security strategy, U.S.-China relations, and climate security.

From 2017-2019, Mr. Pollock was the acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Security Cooperation. In this role, he led the Department's multi-billion dollar security cooperation enterprise focused on enhancing the ability of U.S. allies and partners to conduct military operations in coalition with U.S. forces around the world.

Mr. Pollock has also served previously as Policy's Director for Russia and Arms Control Policy, as the Director for African Affairs, as a Legislative Fellow to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and as an Analyst in the Department of the Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Prior to his government service, Mr. Pollock was an Advocacy and Research Officer at the International Crisis Group, a leading source of analysis and advice to governments concerning international conflict.

Mr. Pollock is a frequent public speaker on national security issues, including appearances at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Atlantic Council, the Heritage Foundation, the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment, the Center for a New American Security, the Wilson Center, and the National Defense University. He is a past Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a recipient of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service, the Brookings Legislative Fellowship, the Presidential Management Fellowship, the Senator Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholarship, and the Harold W. Rosenthal Fellowship.

Jeffrey Martini

Jeffrey Martini

Associate Director, Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program, RAND Arroyo Center; Senior International Defense Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School

Karen M. Sudkamp

Karen M. Sudkamp

Associate Director, Infrastructure, Immigration, and Security Operations, RAND Homeland Security Research Division; Management Scientist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


Vago Muradian

Vago Muradian

Founder and Editor, Defense & Aerospace Report


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About RAND National Security Research Division

RAND’s National Security Research Division (NSRD) advances understanding of the world’s most pressing security threats and develops policies and strategies to help U.S. and allied government policymakers mitigate and defend against those threats. Our research priorities include deterring China and Russia—and thereby averting a worst-case, catastrophic, great-power war (i.e., WWIII); managing the risks and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and other advanced technologies; preparing more effectively for the dynamic impacts of climate change on geopolitics and U.S. military operations; strengthening alliances; and ensuring the health, well-being, and readiness of the Joint Force to execute the U.S. National Defense Strategy.