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

Analysis and Commentary

Energy And Environment In The Trump Administration

by James L. Sweeney, Alice Hillvia Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hoover Institution fellows James Sweeney and Alice Hill discuss energy policy at the 2017 Silicon Valley Energy Summit.

Analysis and Commentary

Nuclear Energy, Climate Change And Security Threats

by Alice Hill, Laura S. H. Holgatevia Lawfare
Friday, June 2, 2017

In the middle of the last century, Dr. Murdock Head, a George Washington University professor, acquired an old manor house and farm known as Airlie outside the nation’s capital. Dr. Head wanted to create a place where experts and organizations could meet in a neutral environment to analyze the pressing issues of the day. 

Analysis and Commentary

The Catastrophic Risks Of Climate Change: The US Turns Its Back On The World

by Alice Hillvia Lawfare
Thursday, June 1, 2017

My business just picked up. I wish it hadn’t. I am in the business of finding better ways to prepare for the catastrophic, largely irreversible risks posed by climate change. The risks are so bad that most of us avoid talking about them at the dinner table.

Analysis and Commentary

Arctic Security Poses Icy Chess Game With Russia, China

by Alice Hillvia The Hill
Friday, May 19, 2017

In Fairbanks, Alaska, last week, the United States passed the Arctic Council gavel to Finland. Started over twenty years ago, the council brings together the eight Arctic nations to tackle common problems in the region before they get out of hand.

Analysis and Commentary

Biodefense: Coordinating Our Response To Deadly Disease

by Alice Hillvia Lawfare
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ninety-nine years ago, on March 11, 1918, mess cook Albert Gitchell reported sick to the camp infirmary in Fort Riley, Kansas. By noon, over 100 soldiers were hospitalized. Soldiers began to die. By the end of April, two-thirds of the main Army camps were suffering from the influenza epidemic.

Analysis and Commentary

The Small Towns Trump Is Hurting By His Denial Of Climate Change

by Craig Fugate, Alice Hillvia Newsweek
Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Why does the administration want to hide information from the American people? Within minutes of Donald Trump taking the oath of office on Inauguration Day, all information about climate change disappeared from the White House website.

Analysis and Commentary

Trump's Environmental Order Jeopardizes Our National Security

by Alice Hillvia The Hill
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

In March 2013, four-star Admiral Samuel Locklear III sat down with a Boston Globe reporter in a Cambridge hotel. As head of the Pacific Command, Admiral Locklear commanded the 400,000 troops stationed in the Pacific Command, stretching from California to India to Korea.

Analysis and Commentary

Name Unmentioned, Trump Still Dominates The Munich Security Conference

by Alice Hillvia Lawfare
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Even where speakers took pains to avoid uttering it, the name “Donald Trump” still dominated the 53rd Munich Security Conference this past weekend.

Analysis and Commentary

Proper Infrastructure Investment Must Account For Climate Change

by Alice Hill, Craig Fugatevia The Hill
Monday, January 30, 2017

President Donald Trump ran his campaign on promises of complete overhaul, including the promise to “drain the swamp” that is Washington, D.C.

Analysis and Commentary

Climate Change And National Security: An Opportunity For The Trump Administration—And Everyone Else

by Alice Hillvia Lawfare
Monday, December 19, 2016

After campaigning on the promise to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, last week President-elect Trump seemed to reaffirm his ambivalence about the scientific consensus on the subject when he declared that “[n]obody really knows” whether climate change is real. 

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