Center for Strategic Communication

Why Effective Policy Matters

George P. Shultz / Defining Ideas

Sometimes small events have a major impact on your thinking. I remember the day my Marine Corps boot camp drill sergeant handed me my rifle. He said, “This is your best friend. Take good care of it and remember: never point this rifle at anybody unless you’re willing to pull the trigger.” The lesson—no empty threats—was one that I have never forgotten, and its relevance to the conduct of diplomacy is obvious, yet often ignored. If you say that something is unacceptable but you are unwilling to impose consequences when it happens, your words will lose their meaning and you will lose credibility.

Why is the Pentagon Dragging its Feet on 3D Printing?

Kyle Chayka / Defense One

In August 2010, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Llenza was perched in his jet ready to return to base in Bagram, Afghanistan, when a valve on the plane broke. “I was stuck,” he recalled. “The whole squadron was taking off and I’m sitting there.” The pilot would have to wait weeks for a replacement part to be shipped from a carrier in the Indian Ocean. A thought came to Llenza: “Wouldn’t it be great if I could walk back into the hangar and print out a part?”

China’s Shift May Mean Coal’s Days Are Numbered

Matt Clinch / CNBC

China’s renewal of its carbon reduction targets, as well as reports that it is clamping down on coal production, has led analysts to turn bearish on the outlook for coal, claiming that peak demand for the fossil-fuel could be behind us.

The Solar Industry’s New Dirty Secret

Josh Harkinson / Mother Jones

It’s no secret that manufacturing solar panels often requires toxic heavy metals, explosive gases, and rare-earth elements that come from shoddy mines in war-torn republics. But here’s a surprise: The solar industry is actually getting dirtier in some respects. The latest Solar Scorecard from the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), released last week, reports that the industry has slipped on several key environmental metrics, with many solar-panel manufacturers now refusing to provide any information about their manufacturing practices at all.

More Than Meets the Eye in Asian Naval Race

Jeong Lee / Real Clear Defense

Factors in the ongoing Asian naval race are more complex then they appear at first.

CIA Admits it was Behind Iran’s Coup

Malcolm Byrne / Foreign Policy

It has taken almost six decades for the U.S. intelligence community to acknowledge openly that it was behind the controversial overthrow. Published here today — and on the website of the National Security Archive, which obtained the document through the Freedom of Information Act — is a brief excerpt from The Battle for Iran, an internal report prepared in the mid-1970s by an in-house CIA historian.

Evolve of Expire: The Coming Clash Within the Muslim Brotherhood

Terek Osman / Foreign Affairs

No matter how much blood is shed on the streets of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood will neither be eradicated nor opt for exile. Sooner or later, the pillars of the Egyptian state, led by the military and the Brotherhood, and with it large sections of the country’s Islamist movement, will reach some sort of modus operandi. It will prove shaky. There will be periods of turmoil, and the order will almost certainly break down from time to time on its path toward stability. And along the way, the only truly existential threat to the Muslim Brotherhood will come from within.

Why Canada Spent $597,000 on a ‘stealth snowmobile’

Caitlin Dewey / The Washington Post

The Canadian military is testing a “stealth snowmobile” worth $620,000 Canadian dollars ($597,000 USD) — the better to achieve eventual Arctic domination. The issue is quite serious for Canada’s conservative politicians, who have lobbied for more than a decade to expand the country’s presence up north. It’s not that they expect to be fighting up there, exactly — more likely, as a Canadian Forces report imagined in 2011, soldiers would need to respond to emergencies like oil spills or disease outbreaks in Arctic communities. They could also keep an eye on foreign activity in the far north, a critical step toward bolstering Canada’s disputed territorial claims.

ASP Recent Publications

FACT SHEET: Academic Exchange: A Pillar of Public Diplomacy

This fact sheet outlines the national security benefits of academic exchange, highlights the types of government sponsorship programs, and explores the metrics surrounding these exchanges.

FACT SHEET: Iranian Ballistic Missiles

Though initiated with a great dead of foreign assistance, Iran is increasingly capable of developing and improving its own ballistic missile technology. This fact sheet provides a useful inventory of the ballistic missiles and space delivery vehicles that the Islamic Republic of Iran deploys and has developed.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

Champions of Change: Nominate a Veteran Working on Clean Energy and Climate Protection

Andrew Holland

The White House is asking for nominations to their “Champions of Change” program for veterans working on building resilience to climate change and moving to mitigate climate change by deploying clean energy sources.

BGen Steve Cheney Interviewed on Climate Change and National Security

Nicholas Cunningham

ASP’s CEO Brigadier General Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) participated in a kickoff of Climate Week NYC on July 16, 2013 in New York. While in New York, Gen. Cheney was interviewed by A.M. Best TV on how specifically climate change creates national security risks around the world.

The Promise of Advanced Biofuels

Andrew Holland

One of the best ways to reduce our oil use is to develop biofuel replacements. Corn ethanol has gone a long way—it now makes up 10% of the U.S. fuel supply. However, it has also gone about as far as it can go due to the upcoming “blend wall.” Today, companies like KiOR, Virent, and many others are moving forward with the next generation of biofuels.

ASP in the News

ASP’s Andrew Holland Cited in Washington Post

Brad Plumer, of The Washington Post’s WonkBlog wrote an interesting article on the ongoing academic research on the link between climate change and violence, and linked to a blog post written by ASP’s Andrew Holland.

Paul Rockower in the Huffington Post: The Public Diplomacy of Free France During WWII

ASP Adjunct Fellow Paul Rockower’s piece on Free France’s public diplomacy during WWII has subsequently appeared in the Huffington Post.