Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


Coordinated Strategy Brings Obama Victory on Iran Nuclear Deal
Carl Hulse, David M. Herszenhorn / The New York Times
Just before the Senate left town for its August break, a dozen or so undecided Democrats met in the Capitol with senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia who delivered a blunt, joint message: Their nuclear agreement with Iran was the best they could expect. The five world powers had no intention of returning to the negotiating table.


Shocking Images of Drowned Syrian Boy Show Tragic Plight of Refugees
Helena Smith / The Guardian
The full horror of the human tragedy unfolding on the shores of Europe was brought home on Wednesday as images of the lifeless body of a young boy – one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach the Greek island of Kos – encapsulated the extraordinary risks refugees are taking to reach the west.



American Competitiveness


Just a Third of U.S. States Outperformed the U.S. Economy Last Year
Eric Morath / The Wall Street Journal
Just 16 states outperformed the country as a whole last year. In 32 states, gross domestic product advanced at the same or slower pace than the 2.2% economic growth recorded for the U.S. And the economies in two other states—Alaska and Mississippi—contracted last year, according to Commerce Department data released Wednesday.


The Unlikely Cities That Will Power the U.S. Economy
Christopher Cannon, Patrick Clark, Jeremy Scott Diamond, Laurie Meisler / Bloomberg
Huntsville is one of a growing number of smaller U.S. cities, far from Silicon Valley, that are seeking to replace dwindling factory jobs by reinventing themselves as tech centers. Across the Midwest, Northeast, and South, mayors and governors are competing to attract tech companies and workers.



National Security & Strategy


China Showcases Military Strength at WWII ‘Victory’ Parade
William Ide, Saibal Dasgupta / Voice of America
Chinese President Xi Jinping announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops Thursday, during a massive military parade to commemorate the victory over Japan in World War II.


How the Refugee Crisis Is Wreaking Havoc on the European Union
Max J. Rosenthal / Mother Jones
The influx is again pitting EU states against each other. Germany and other countries are threatening to reinstate unilateral border controls in the face of EU inaction, undoing the landmark Schengen Agreement that has allowed years of free movement within the European Union.



Asymmetric Operations


How to Buy a Slave Girl From ISIS
Mat Wolf, Shira Rubin / The Daily Beast
In a crowded room in an undisclosed location in Northern Iraq, a Yazidi father is begging an American woman for money to buy back his daughters from the so-called Islamic State widely known as ISIS.


Banned Cluster Bombs ‘Used in Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Sudan, Libya’
Richard Norton Taylor / The Guardian
Islamic State (ISIS), Syrian government forces, both sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Saudi jets attacking targets in Yemen have all used cluster bombs and rockets banned by international treaty, according to an authoritative new report.


Pakistan, Afghanistan Weigh Resumption of Taliban Talks
Ayaz Gul / Voice of America
The meeting, on the sidelines of an international economic cooperation conference in Kabul, comes nearly a month after peace talks broke down following news that Taliban leader Mullah Omar had died two years prior in Pakistan. The revelation led to questions over the Taliban’s leadership and suspicions about Pakistan’s role in supporting the group.



Climate Security


Obama Plans to Announce Climate Change Strategy on Last Day in Alaska
Amanda Holpuch / The Guardian
On the final day of his trip to Alaska, President Obama was set to announce a slate of initiatives to help remote Arctic communities beset by the effects of climate change.



Energy Security


South Africa In “No Rush” to Go Nuclear, to Focus on Renewable Energy
Smiti Mittal / Clean Technica
Energy minister Tina Joemat-Petterson told reporters that her government has not signed any agreement with any country to acquire equipment for nuclear power projects. The minister sought to clear the air on claims that South Africa is planning to set up nuclear power capacity of 9.6 GW which would cost around $100 billion.


In Rural Alaska, Obama Works to Speed Renewable Energy Revolution
Juliet Eilperin / The Washington Post
The White House announced Wednesday that it would launch a $4 million initiative to speed the development of renewable energy in remote Alaskan communities, part of a package of new programs aimed at reducing fossil fuel use and countering climate impacts in the region of the world that is warming the fastest.



Nuclear Security


Iran’s Khamenei Urges Lawmakers to Vote on Nuclear Deal
Aresu Eqbali / The Wall Street Journal
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday urged the country’s parliament to vote on whether to implement a proposed nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers.


Investigative Journalist Eric Schlosser on America’s History of Nuclear Weapons
Amy Sherden / ABC
The investigative journalist has been researching America’s history of nuclear weapons for his book Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety. He delves into great detail on the “Damascus incident” of September 18, 1980, where a missile equipped with a nuclear warhead exploded in a launch silo at the Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas.



On Our Flashpoint Blog


The Arctic at the Center of World Affairs
Andrew Holland
The Arctic is now at the center of world affairs. What was once a frozen ocean, closed to all but the most intrepid explorers, is now a venue for oil and mineral exploration, cargo transit, and even tourism.


Risks of Arming Syrian Opposition Group Against ISIS
Anil Powers
One group that has surfaced as a potential ally is Ahrar al-Sham, a large opposition force in Syria.  Although the group is more than willing to fight ISIS, the US government remains skeptical when it comes to providing monetary aid and weaponry because of the group’s Islamist affiliations.


Iranian Human Rights Defenders Coming Out Massively in Support of Iran Deal
American Security Project
The Obama administration is clearly winning the battle over the Iran deal. Momentum is so strong in its favor that Obama may even be able to prevent a resolution rejecting the deal from coming to a vote in the Senate.


Cyber Escalation: A Military Planner’s Blank Slate
Adin Dobkin
As has already been seen in everything from headlines following the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breach to the Air-Sea Battle (ASB) Concept Document of the Department of Defense, attacks stemming from the cyberspace can threaten a range of critical U.S. systems including national economic levers, military infrastructure, and the privacy that protects everyday citizens.



Upcoming Events


Conference – Cyber Security: Risk, Recovery, Resilience
September 16 @ 12:00pm – 5:00pm
ASP will host a half day conference to discuss the issues surrounding cyber security and challenges we will face moving forward.

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