Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has filled the role for the state's first "chief resilience officer" to prepare the Sunshine State for sea-level rise and other climate change impacts.
DeSantis has tapped Julia Nesheiwat, a military veteran who has served in several energy and national security roles in three U.S. presidential administrations, for the job. According to an Aug. 1 news release, Nesheiwat will report to DeSantis' office and work with the state's Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Emergency Management and other departments and local communities to protect Florida from the effects of climate change.
"Developing resilience goals for the state will help to protect our coastal communities and fortify Florida's pathway to continued prosperity," DeSantis said in a statement. "Today, we take the step of appointing Florida's first Chief Resilience Officer to coordinate a statewide response to prepare for the environmental, physical and economic challenges facing our state. Dr. Nesheiwat's more than 20 years' experience operating at the highest levels of government and academia focusing on renewable energy, environmental and critical infrastructure issues make her an excellent choice for this position."
Nesheiwat's energy experience is mainly rooted in national security and the U.S. State Department, according to her resume. She was chief of staff for policy focused on energy and environmental issues for then-directors of National Intelligence John Negroponte and Mike McConnell from 2005 to 2008. During her nearly 10-year career at the State Department, Nesheiwat has served as a senior adviser on energy and environmental issues, chief of staff for the U.S. Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy and deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources.
Nesheiwat was most recently deputy special presidential envoy in the State Department since August 2015, focusing on hostage-related issues. She also served as a U.S. Army intelligence officer in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"[I]t's an honor to have the opportunity to serve the state of Florida on the important, cross-cutting issue of resiliency," Nesheiwat said in a statement. "As a Floridian from Lake County, I know how important this issue is for the people of Florida. With 1,350 miles of largely low-lying coastline, the impacts from climate change and sea level rise present a significant challenge; but with Governor DeSantis' leadership and vision, Florida will be a leader for the entire country on how best to confront these issues."