Alice Hill

Research Fellow
Research Team: 
Biography: 

Alice Hill has an uncommon blend of experience—as a federal prosecutor, judge, special assistant to the president, and senior director for the National Security Council. At the White House, she led the development of policy regarding national security and climate change, building climate resilience considerations and capabilities into international development and other federal initiatives, and developing national risk-management standards for the most damaging natural hazards. Currently she serves as a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, addressing risks, consequences, and responses associated with catastrophic global events, including the cascading failure of infrastructure and social systems.

Early in her legal career, Hill served as chief of the major frauds division in California’s central district of the US Attorney’s Office, supervising over thirty prosecutors handling white-collar crime involving losses in the billions of dollars. She was honored with the Department of Justice’s highest accolade, the John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement. Then as judge and supervising judge within the Los Angeles Superior Court, she was elected by her fellow judges to the committee responsible for overseeing all LA County court operations—600 courtrooms, 2.7 million case filings a year, and an annual budget of $900 million.

In 2009, Hill was asked to serve as Senior Counselor to the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), helping guide senior leadership of DHS agencies, briefing Congress, and leading and establishing key programs. She led the review of policy regarding creation of the cybersecurity workforce, sexual assault in the military, and legal requirements for terrorism protection; and she founded and led the internationally recognized anti-human trafficking initiative, Blue Campaign. Other accomplishments include overseeing the realignment of DHS international presence in forty-two countries and the development of strategic plans and policies regarding catastrophic biological and chemical incidents ranging from pandemics to weapons of mass destruction.

For three years beginning in 2013, Hill served in several positions for the National Security Council in the White House. With top-secret security clearance, she managed a team of eight National Security Council Directors and developed Federal policies regarding national preparedness for all hazards of global consequence, including climate. She was honored with the Meta-Leader of the Year award from Harvard University’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative.  

Alice Hill joined Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in December 2016 as a research fellow, conducting and publishing research, providing expert testimony, convening public policy leaders, and building the public conversation around catastrophic global threats and our responses. She was honored for her work with the President’s Award from the National Institute of Building Sciences and has been published in Axios, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, The Hill, LawFare, CNN, The Bulletin, and other media. She led development of the Hoover/Stanford Woods Institute/Wilson Center Partnership as well as the Hoover/Aspen Institute Roundtable on Climate and National Security. She serves as a life member on the Council of Foreign Relations, and she expects to publish a new book on climate resilience with Oxford University Press in 2019.

Hill earned her BA in history and economics from Stanford University, followed by a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Hill is a Member of Boards of Directors and Audit Committees of the domestic subsidiaries of Munich Re Group and is Chair of the Board of the National Cathedral School in Washington, DC. She is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, founding board member of the Council on Strategic Risks, and a member of the advisory board of One Concern.

Alice Hill currently resides in Washington DC, also having enjoyed living and working in France, Japan, and Indonesia.

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Recent Commentary

Human Trafficking and Climate Change: Understanding the Disastrous Relationship

by Alice Hill
Sunday, September 23, 2018

Human trafficking is a horrendous crime: it degrades human security and undermines the rights of people around the globe. Although the exact number of victims worldwide remains elusive, the extent of human trafficking stands to increase in coming years for several reasons, including the accelerating rate of climate change. 

Analysis and Commentary

Building Coastal Resilience For Greater U.S. Security

by Alice Hill, Christopher B. Field, Meaghan E. Parker, Roger-Mark De Souza, Katharine J. Machvia Pacific Council on International Policy
Monday, July 30, 2018

Coastal communities are on the front lines of a changing climate. Rising, warming seas are contributing to stronger storms, higher extreme sea levels, and associated coastal flooding, along with increasing "sunny day" nuisance flooding. These shifting hazards amplify risks for people, valuable assets, essential infrastructure, and important economic industries such as energy production and shipping.

Analysis and Commentary

We’ve Failed To Secure Our Coasts — We Must Build Resilience Before It’s Too Late

by Alice Hill, Roger-Mark De Souza, Katharine J. Mach, Christopher B. Field, Meaghan E. Parkervia The Hill
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

As record-setting rains pummel South Texas and Ellicott City struggles to recover from another deadly flood, we are experiencing more reminders that the United States is facing more severe and frequent extreme weather events. Last year’s hurricane season was the most expensive season to date — and arguably one of the most deadly on record. In the eight months since Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria struck our shores, are our coastal areas better prepared for the coming storms?

Blank Section (Placeholder)Analysis and Commentary

Building Coastal Resilience For Greater US Security

by Alice Hill, Roger-Mark De Souza, Christopher B. Field, Meaghan E. Parker, Katharine J. Machvia Analysis
Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Drawing from a series of discussions convened by the Hoover Institution, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, this essay explores the challenges facing our coastal communities in a series of discussions designed to advance US resilience to climate change impacts, strengthen the sustainability and economic security of coastal infrastructure, and enhance national security.

Featured CommentaryAnalysis and Commentary

“A New Normal”: California’s Increasing Wildfire Risk And What To Do About It

by Alice Hill, William Kakenmastervia Eureka
Thursday, May 24, 2018

As soon as it hit in October 2017, officials knew the Tubbs Fire was serious. “It’s real bad,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Marshall Tuberville. “This is an example of nature in control.”

IntellectionsFeatured

Building Resilient Infrastructure

by Alice Hillvia PolicyEd
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

America’s existing infrastructure hasn’t been built to deal with the natural disasters we’ll face this century. New and replacement infrastructure must be built to be resilient to future climate disruptions. While it may sound costly, the return to building resilient infrastructure will save more money in the long run.

Analysis and Commentary

Ignoring Climate Change Only Compounds Its National Security Risks

by Alice Hillvia Axios
Thursday, May 17, 2018

President Trump’s Defense Department cut all but 1 of 23 mentions of “climate change” from the final draft of a Congressionally mandated report on climate risks — increased flooding, drought, wildfire and extreme temperatures — to U.S. military installations.

Analysis and Commentary

A Primer On Resilience

by Alice Hillvia The Bulletin
Friday, April 6, 2018

Hoover Institution fellow Alice Hill analyzes the rising use of the term "resilience."

Analysis and Commentary

An Overview Of “Resilience” And Climate Change

by Alice Hill, William Kakenmastervia Taylor and Francis Online
Monday, February 19, 2018

What do we mean when we speak in terms of “resilience?” Why has “resilience” become the hot buzzword, and why is it useful for political leaders who want to avoid saying the words “climate change?” Will the choice of words make a difference when it comes to the need to design infrastructure – roads, bridges, tunnels, houses, factories, power plants, airports, railroads – with rising sea levels, increased storms, and hotter temperatures in mind?

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