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A military police officer walks near a destroyed gate in Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida after Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 60 former national security and intelligence community officials sent a letter to the White House on Tuesday opposing the formation of a White House panel to conduct an "adversarial peer review" of climate science information. The panel would also be tasked with reviewing whether climate change really poses a national security threat, as numerous assessments have concluded.

Why it matters: The opposition from these former leaders indicates the extent to which many in the national security and intelligence community see such a panel as undermining national security. "It is dangerous to have national security analysis conform to politics," the letter states. "Our officials' job is to ensure that we are prepared for current threats and future contingencies. We cannot do that if the scientific studies that inform our threat assessments are undermined."

Details: The letter, put together by the Center for Climate and Security, includes some big names, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal.

  • Other signatories include the ex-commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, a leader of the National Intelligence Council, along with a slew of former Navy and Air Force officials.
  • Numerous reports from the Pentagon and intelligence community have shown that by causing extreme weather events and raising sea levels, climate change is likely to serve as a destabilizing force in the world as well as a threat to U.S. military bases at home.
  • The Air Force experienced this firsthand when Hurricane Michael rapidly intensified to become the strongest-ever hurricane to hit the Florida Panhandle, wiping out much of Tyndall Air Force Base in the process. At the time, Tyndall was one of the military's largest bases for the F-22 Raptor fighter jet.

Go deeper: Scientists slam report of White House climate change review panel

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

Kids’ screen time up 50% during pandemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

When the coronavirus lockdowns started in March, kidstech firm SuperAwesome found that screen time was up 50%. Nearly a year later, that percentage hasn't budged, according to new figures from the firm.

Why it matters: For most parents, pre-pandemic expectations around screen time are no longer realistic. The concern now has shifted from the number of hours in front of screens to the quality of screen time.