Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Remarks Announcing the Release of the 2015 QDDR Report
John Kerry / Department of State
A year ago the Secretary charged our team, under the leadership of the QDDR co-chairs, to pull no punches about how State and USAID operate, how we need to operate, and to identify threats and also opportunities for America today. We were to provide a product to help guide the next generation of diplomacy and development.

‘We are hungry:’ Aid reaches epicenter, Nepal toll tops 5000
Katy Daigle / Associated Press
Hands pressed together in supplication, the Nepalese women pleaded for food, shelter and anything else the helicopter might have brought on an in-and-out run Wednesday to this smashed mountain village near the epicenter of last weekend’s mammoth earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people.

Saudi King Salman Appoints New Crown Prince
Saudi King Salman appointed a new heir and made his young son second in line to rule on Wednesday, a major shift in power towards two princes who have overseen a more assertive stance at a time of almost unprecedented regional turmoil.


American Competitiveness & Economic Diplomacy

U.S. economy nearly stalls in first-quarter as weather, lower energy prices bite
Lucia Mutikani / Reuters
U.S. economic growth braked more sharply than expected in the first quarter as harsh weather dampened consumer spending and energy companies struggling with low prices slashed spending, but there are signs activity is picking up.

In speech to Congress, Japan’s Abe faces challenges on trade, wartime past
Matt Spetalnick and Chizu Nomiyama / Reuters
When Shinzo Abe becomes the first Japanese prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, he will face two formidable challenges: convincing skeptical lawmakers about a proposed Pacific trade pact and easing concerns about his views on Tokyo’s wartime past.


National Security & Strategy

U.S. dispatches destroyer after Iran boards commercial ship
Missy Ryan and William Branigin / Washington Post
The U.S. military has dispatched a destroyer in pursuit of a commercial ship that was fired upon and then boarded by Iranian forces in the Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

With deadline near, lawmakers introduce bill to end NSA program
Ellen Nakashima / Washington Post
Almost two years after the disclosure of the government’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records, Congress is confronting a fast-approaching deadline to either continue the collection or end it.

Finland Questions Origin of Vessel Found Lurking in Its Waters
Dan Bilefsky / New York Times
Finnish officials said on Wednesday that they were still in the dark about the origin of an underwater vessel that a day earlier had prompted the navy to fire depth charges — the first such warning in more than 10 years, according to local news media.

Iran says cargo ship seized under court order
Agence France Presse
Iranian maritime authorities said Wednesday that Iran seized a ship carrying cargo for Denmark’s giant Maersk group under a legal ruling over a longstanding commercial dispute.


Asymmetric Operations

Saudi Arabia trains Yemeni tribal fighters in war against Houthis
Amena Bakr and Mohammed Ghobari / Reuters
Saudi Arabia is providing military training for hundreds of Yemeni tribesmen to fight the Iranian-allied Houthi militia, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Former NATO Commander Stavridis: U.S. Should Provide Lethal Aid to Ukraine
John Grady / USNI News
“We ought to be providing lethal aid”—anti-tank, anti-armor weapons, unmanned aerial vehicles, and cyber assistance—to the Ukrainian government in its struggle with Russian-backed separatists, retired NATO commander Adm. James Stavridis told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.


Climate Security

Vatican Convenes Major Climate-Change Meeting
Edwin Cartlidge / Nature Magazine
Pope Francis has drawn attention for his progressive teachings on sexuality, contraception and abortion. Now he and the Catholic Church are tackling another contentious issue: climate change.

California touts aggressive plan to reduce greenhouse gases
Associated Press
California would aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 under an ambitious plan announced Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.


Energy Security

The Reactors That Will Revolutionize Nuclear Energy
Christine Todd Whitman / Wall Street Journal
We’re at a turning point in energy. The U.S. should be a leader in mitigating climate change and meeting a nearly 30% increase in U.S. demand for electricity projected by 2040.

European Commission Opens Energy-Generation Compensation Inquiry
Gabrielle Steinhauser / Wall Street Journal
The European Union on Wednesday opened an inquiry into whether national initiatives to compensate utilities for providing energy-generation capacity violate the bloc’s competition rules.

Russia to power Arctic drilling with floating nuclear reactors
Nick Cunningham / Christian Science Monitor
It would sit in the icy waters of the Arctic, and provide a constant supply of electricity to a massive rig drilling for oil. They could be mass produced, potentially cutting the cost of drilling projects. The twist? The electricity on these floating power plants would come from a nuclear reactor.


Nuclear Security

Senate rejects bid to toughen Iran nuclear review bill
The U.S. Senate rejected an effort on Tuesday to require any nuclear agreement with Iran to be considered an international treaty, which would have forced any deal to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate’s 100 members.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

Let’s not forget about Russia
Paul Hamill
It has now been over a year since Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces to invade sovereign Ukrainian territory, then annexed Crimea. Since that time the Kremlin has continued to support the destabilization of eastern Ukraine and has stepped-up propaganda, political agitation, energy blackmail and also military pressure against its neighbors and other NATO members.

Governor Todd Whitman on Future Nuclear Power, SMRs
Philip Rossetti
In a blog for the Wall Street Journal, former Governor of New Jersey and ASP Board Member Christine Todd Whitman wrote on the future of nuclear energy. Governor Whitman explained in her blog the great potential of “small modular reactors” (SMR) in addressing both the demand for energy and the need to reduce carbon emissions. Meeting both of these requirements has been a major barrier in addressing climate and energy security needs.

ASP in: “U.S. Takes Reigns of Arctic Council Amid Geopolitical Tension, Rapid Warming”
William George
ASP’s Senior Fellow for Energy & Climate Andrew Holland was featured in an article on Mashable discussing the United States’ role in the Arctic. Holland argues that the US has not been placing enough emphasis on the Arctic when compared to countries like Russia and Canada.

ASP in Inter American Dialogue: Geopolitics and economics are bringing U.S. foreign policy back to the Caribbean
Andrew Holland
Holland is confident that the U.S. will be mostly a “coordinator, not a funder” of building Caribbean energy security. Recent geopolitical events, including the opening to Cuba and the rivalry with Venezuela, show that American interest is returning to the Caribbean. American energy can help the U.S. will to become a new hub of energy in the region, enhancing its own ability to guide the politics of the region for mutually beneficial gains in climate security, energy security, and economic prosperity.


ASP Recently Published

Critical Issues Facing Russia and the Former Soviet Union: Governance and Corruption
American Security Project
When it comes to Russia and the other post-Soviet states, corruption is the subject of constant academic, policy, and popular debate. According to many, persistent corruption is the major factor undermining post-Soviet states from achieving broad-based political, economic, and social development along liberal-democratic lines.

Environmental Threats to Louisiana’s Future: Climate Change
American Security Project
As one of the centers of energy production, transit, and storage, Louisiana is a hub for the whole country. This ensures that any problems in Louisiana are transferred throughout the country by energy price volatility and uncertainty.

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