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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Analysis and Commentary

New York’s Uphill Climb Vs. Big Oil: Winning In Court Will Be A Tough Task Indeed

by Alice Hillvia NY Daily News
Saturday, January 20, 2018

New York City just filed suit in federal court against five multinational oil companies: ExxonMobil, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell. The goal? To get monetary damages for the harm New York has already suffered from climate change impacts — coastal erosion, increased flooding and higher temperatures — and help with paying for the necessary investments to protect against future harm.

Analysis and Commentary

Think Small To Weather Big Storms

by Alice Hillvia Foreign Policy
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

[Subscription Required] At two minutes to noon on Sept. 1, 1923, the ground began to tremble in Tokyo and nearby Yokohama. A 7.9 magnitude earthquake had struck Japan. The shaking lasted for nearly five minutes, causing gas stoves to topple, which in turn ignited thousands of wooden buildings. The fires eventually claimed more lives than the quake itself — more than 140,000 people died in all. 

Analysis and Commentary

2017 Is A Record-Breaker -- And Not In A Good Way

by Alice Hillvia CNN
Wednesday, December 20, 2017

As this year comes to a close, 2017 is on track to set the all-time record for the most billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in any single year in US history.

Featured

We Should Plan Homes To Minimize The Threat Of Wildfires

by Alice Hill, Jesse M. Keenanvia Newsweek
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Americans have been settling the west for over one hundred and fifty years. Today, we tame it one suburban development at a time. According to the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) measurement framework, the conversion rate from wildlands to urban development has grown to 4,000 acres per day or close to 2 million acres per year.

Analysis and Commentary

Global Warming Presents A Clear And Present Danger To America's National Security, World Stability

by Alice Hillvia Houston Chronicle
Saturday, September 23, 2017

"National security and climate change? My students just don't see the connection." This is what a Harvard law professor shared with me late last year. As it turns out, his students are not alone. According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, only 56 percent of Americans see climate change as a major security threat.

Analysis and Commentary

After The Storms Have Passed: Rebuilding With Climate Change In Mind

by Alice Hillvia The Bulletin
Thursday, September 21, 2017

In 1953, the North Sea Flood in the Netherlands killed over 1,800 people, damaged tens of thousands of buildings, swept away livestock, and contaminated fertile lands, rendering them unusable for many years. The Dutch refer to these floods as the waternoodramp, or “water emergency disaster,” and on February 1 of each year, they still commemorate those who died then. 

Analysis and Commentary

Mr. President, You Need A Winning Strategy Against The Next Harvey

by Alice Hillvia The Hill
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Each year the president of the United States receives a briefing from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) about the upcoming hurricane season. This year’s briefing on August 4th was no different. After the briefing, President Trump tweeted, “Preparedness is an investment in our future!”

Analysis and Commentary

Shoring Up Coastal Infrastructure Is Long Past Due

by Alice Hillvia The Hill
Friday, August 25, 2017

It’s nearly Labor Day weekend and for millions of Americans that means heading to the coasts to enjoy a vacation of sun and surf at the beach. But imagine Labor Day in a few decades’ time with no beach to enjoy and coastal communities isolated by flooded roads.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump Is Putting Us All At Risk Of More Hurricane Sandy Flood Disasters

by Alice Hillvia Newsweek
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

President Trump’s decision to kill the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard may not sound like a big deal, but it is.

Analysis and Commentary

The Same Houses Flood Every Year And We Keep Paying For Them

by Alice Hill, Craig Fugatevia The Hill
Monday, July 31, 2017

There is a house outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that is prone to flooding. It’s worth close to $56,000. Over the years, it has flooded a lot — about 40 times — and accumulated almost $430,000 in flood insurance claims

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