Assessing and Mitigating Climate Change Risk to the National Critical Functions

The Aggie Creek Fire threatens the Trans-Alaska Pipeline

The 2015 Aggie Creek Fire threatens the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline

Photo by Philip Spor/Alaska Department of Forestry

Researchers assessed risks to the National Critical Functions as a result of climate change, and identified adaptation strategies designed to mitigate climate-related risks.

In January 2021, President Biden issued an executive order directing the Secretary of Homeland Security to "consider the implications of climate change in the Arctic, along our Nation’s borders, and to National Critical Functions." The National Critical Functions (NCFs) represent "the functions of government and the private sector so vital to the United States that their disruption, corruption, or dysfunction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof."

To fulfill the objectives of the executive order, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) asked the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), a federally funded research and development center operated by RAND, to develop a risk management framework and to assess the risk of climate change to higher-vulnerability NCFs. The results of the team's climate change risk assessment were documented in Assessing Risk to the National Critical Functions as a Result of Climate Change.

Analyses

Research Sponsor

This research was sponsored by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). At RAND, this project was overseen by the Homeland Security and Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC).

This project builds on HSOAC's prior work in assessing risk to the NCFs from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In March 2020, CISA tasked HSOAC with assessing risk that the spread of COVID-19 posed to the 55 NCFs, developing a system to actively monitor risk to the NCFs, and identifying options for mitigating such risk.