Sherri Goodman is an experienced leader and senior executive, lawyer and director in the fields of national security, climate change, energy, science, oceans and environment. Goodman is Secretary General of the International Military Council on Climate & Security, the global forum for military leaders and security professionals dedicated to addressing the security risks of a changing climate. She is a Senior Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and CNA, and the Senior Strategist at the Center for Climate and Security. Previously, she served as the President and CEO of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
Goodman served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of CNA (Center for Naval Analyses) where she was also the founder and Executive Director of the CNA Military Advisory Board, whose landmark reports include National Security and the Threat of Climate Change (2007), and National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change (2014), Advanced Energy and US National Security (2017), and The Role of Water Stress in Instability and Conflict (2017) among others. The film The Age of Consequences in which Goodman is featured, is based on the work of the CNA Military Advisory Board.
Goodman served as the first Deputy Undersecretary of Defense (Environmental Security) from 1993-2001. As the chief environmental, safety, and occupational health officer for the Department of Defense (DoD), she oversaw an annual budget of over $5 billion. She established the first environmental, safety and health performance metrics for the Department and, as the nation’s largest energy user, led its energy, environmental and natural resource conservation programs. Overseeing the President’s plan for revitalizing base closure communities, she ensured that 80% of base closure property became available for transfer and reuse. Ms. Goodman has twice received the DoD medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Gold Medal from the National Defense Industrial Association, and the EPA’s Climate Change Award.
Goodman has served on the staff of the Senate Armed Services Committee for Committee Chairman Senator Sam Nunn. She has practiced law at Goodwin Procter, as both a litigator and environmental attorney, and has worked at RAND and SAIC.
Goodman serves on the boards of the Atlantic Council , the Council on Strategic Risks, the Joint Ocean Commission Leadership Council, the Marshall Legacy Institute, the National Academies Advisory Committee of the US Global Change Research Program, Sandia National Labs’ Energy & Homeland Security External Advisory Board, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, served on its Arctic Task Force in 2016 and chairs the Advisory Committee on Governing Solar Geo-Engineering.
Previously, she served on the Boards of Blue Star Families, the Committee on Conscience of the U.S. Holocaust Museum, the National Academy of Sciences’ Boards on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES) and Environmental Systems and Toxicology (BEST), and the Secretary of State’s International Security Advisory Board.
She has also served on the Responsibility to Protect Working Group co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In 2010, Goodman served on the Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel co-chaired by former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry.
Goodman has testified before numerous committees of the U.S. Congress, and conducted interviews with print, television, podcast, radio and online media. She has published widely in various print and online media and in legal and scholarly journals. She is a frequent presenter and lecturer to governments, private and public sector organizations, and academia. In recent years she has spoken at Harvard Kennedy School, MIT, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania, Middlebury College, Virginia Tech, and Georgetown University. She has been an Adjunct Lecturer in International Affairs and Security at the Harvard Kennedy School and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Kennedy School’s Center for Science and International Affairs.
The daughter of Holocaust refugees who arrived in New York in the late 1930s, she was born in Queens.
A summa cum laude graduate of Amherst College, she earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and a masters in public policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Amherst College in 2018.