Climate Security, Great Power Competition, and Adversarial Geopolitics in Southeast Asia

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Project Details


This project explores the two strategic challenges identified in the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Security Strategy: strategic competition and shared security challenges – climate change being the most critical.

Over the past 10 years, Southeast Asia has witnessed the deterioration of democracy, evocative geopolitical and economic pressure from China, and increased vulnerability to climate change. The mutual interactions of these compounding predicaments and asymmetric threats are at the heart of emerging security challenges in new domains across Southeast Asia. Considering Southeast Asia is critical to U.S. national security and economic well-being, the negative consequences of climate change from increased food, water, and energy insecurity to sizable climate migration – are likely to resound globally, serving as a strategic challenge for the U.S. and its allies.

We know climate change is reshaping geostrategic, operational, and tactical environments with significant implications for U.S. national security and defense. Given the complexities of climate change-related risks and their impacts on security strategy, it is time to rethink U.S. security via a more environmentally attuned and interconnected approach. While “climate security” is trending in academic and practitioner communities, as well as in the national security enterprise, how it is conceived is varied and often lacks conceptual depth and practical implementation.

Our aim, then, is to demonstrate how the broader geopolitics of climate (in)security in Southeast Asia might be made more visible and begin to consider what types of indicators, measures, and scientific practices can be used to understand its complex relations in U.S. national security.



Climate Security, Great Power Competition, and Adversarial Geopolitics in Southeast Asia (START Reports)

Connecting Adversarial and Environmental Geopolitics in Southeast Asia (Research Brief)

Climate Security in Southeast Asia (Research Brief)

Re-Thinking Climate Security (Research Brief)


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