Reno Harnish


Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Subject Matter Expert


Reno works for a better environment.  In 2009 he founded and is currently the Director of the Center for Environment and National Security at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  He has organized and led two symposia mixing scientists with Washington policy makers and does grant work for the EPA, USAID and World Bank.  He served in the Department of State in Washington as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oceans, Environment, Science and Health.

He is interested in management and leadership in foreign affairs and national security.  Reno served as the U.S. Ambassador in Azerbaijan, the Chief of Mission in Kosovo and the Deputy Chief of Mission in Egypt.  He was heavily engaged in conflict resolution, democratization and energy issues.  Reno continues to work for the Department of State as a senior inspector and team leader in the Office of the Inspector General.  He received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award twice and the Department of State Distinguished Service Award among other decorations.

Reno knows the national security community.  He has extensive contacts in the Departments of State and Defense, at the Agency for International Development, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Council staff.  During his 33 year Foreign Service career he worked with and became friends with a number of flag rank officers in the U.S. military.  He is interested in prevention of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  He carries out this interest by serving on the Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee.  He also presented views to the Defense Science Board on environment and national security.

He took a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, a Master of International Service and a Master of Arts in Economics from the American University in Washington D.C.  Reno speaks German, Italian and Swedish and has some knowledge of Arabic and Azeri.  He has published a book and articles on energy and the environment.  Reno is a Knight in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.  He lives with his wife Leslie in San Diego, California.  They have two children and three grandchildren.