Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

France Launches its First Airstrike Against ISIS in Syria
Ben Brumfield, Margot Haddad / CNN
The French military has carried out its first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, according to a statement from the office of France’s presidency.

Talban Fighters Overrun Kunduz City as Afghan Forces Retreat
Joseph Goldstein, Mujib Mashal / The New York Times
KABUL, Afghanistan — After months of besieging the northern Afghan provincial capital of Kunduz, Taliban fighters took over the city on Monday just hours after advancing, officials said, as government security forces fully retreated to the city’s outlying airport.

American Competitiveness

Obama Announces “Understanding” with China’s XI on Cyber Theft but Remains Wary
Matt Spetalnick, Michael Martina, Reuters
President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he had reached a “common understanding” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cybercrimes.

Facebook, Silicon Valley Like Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Jessica Guynn / USA Today
Modi’s two-day swing through Silicon Valley — the first time an Indian head of state has been in California in 33 years — has commanded the attention of top tech CEOs. Modi met with Google’s Sundar Pichai and Apple’s Tim Cook, among others, to seek stronger ties and investment in India. Silicon Valley has been only too happy to host Modi. India is the world’s fastest-growing major economy, representing a potentially lucrative opportunity for U.S. companies as smartphone and Internet access begins to spread.

Pipeline Mergers Trump Drilling M&A as Energy Transfer Offers $37.7B for Williams
Antoine Gara / Forbes
On Monday morning, billionaire Kelcy L. Warren’s Energy Transfer Equity agreed to a $37.7 billion takeover of competitor The Williams Companies in a cash and stock deal that will instantly transform into one of the largest pipeline operators in the U.S. only to be rivaled by Kinder Morgan and Enterprise Products Partners.

National Security & Strategy

President Putin on the Positive Effects of Economic Sanctions
Charlie Rose / CBS 60 Minutes
[The Sanctions] are “harmful,” he says, but they are not the main reason Russia’s economy is suffering. “The main reason for us, really, is the drop in prices on the world market for our traditional exports, such as oil and gas and some other goods.” The sanctions also have a “positive side,” he adds, since they force Russia to be more innovative, particularly in developing new technology.

NSA head: Shutdown is National Security Threat
Harper Neidig / TheHill
The possibility of a shutdown was weighing heavily on NSA employees “who could easily get jobs on the outside and earn significantly more amounts of money,” he told the Senate panel. Rogers warned that work stoppages for government personnel would hurt the NSA’s ability to attract and retain employees.

Asymmetric Operations

U.S. is Struggling in Its Efforts to Build an Afghan Air Force
Rod Nordland / The New York Times
Colonel Qalandari is not the first Afghan official to complain about the woeful state of efforts to build an air force to replace the Americans in carrying out airstrikes, medical evacuations and transport missions in a country with poor and dangerous roads. United States officials have long seen the aspirations as unrealistic, while Afghans have complained that their allies have ignored their views about what they need to fight the Taliban.

Public Diplomacy

Fighting the Information War
Philip Seib / Huffingtonpost
Assuming that Vladimir Putin will rely heavily on information warfare in his efforts to expand Russia’s influence and undermine NATO, how will the United States and its allies respond? Given Putin’s affinity for deception, Crimea may have been just a testing ground for further adventurism. Russia is already using information warfare in the Baltic states, targeting ethnic Russian populations in countries such as Estonia. In such situations, NATO must answer promptly, but it is unclear whether they have the capability and resolve to do so.

Climate Security

Climate Pledges so Far Would Allow Extensive Global Warming by 2100
Eli Kintisch / Science
Current national commitments to cut greenhouse gases would likely allow average global temperatures to rise by 3.5°C by 2100, suggests new modeling results released today. That is well above the 2°C rise deemed safe by many policymakers and researchers.

Global Companies Joining Climate Change Efforts
Justin Gillis / The New York Times
Some of the world’s most prominent companies are expected to set a long-term target on Wednesday of powering their operations entirely with renewable energy, the latest in a wave of commitments suggesting that corporations are becoming more serious about battling global warming.

Study: Most Non-Climate Scientists Agree on Global Warming Too
Justin Worland / Time
Published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the study found that nearly 92% of biophysical scientists surveyed believe that human activity has contributed to global warming. The study’s design specifically addresses the belief that scientists who are skeptical of climate change come from fields outside of climate science. The new research weakens that argument.

Fusion Energy

Small-Scale Nuclear Fusion May be a New Energy Source
Fusion energy may soon be used in small-scale power stations. This means producing environmentally friendly heating and electricity at a low cost from fuel found in water. Both heating generators and generators for electricity could be developed within a few years, according to research that has primarily been conducted at the University of Gothenburg.

This Investor is Chasing a New Kind of Fusion
Brain Dumaine / Fortune
A prominent North Carolina investor is backing a new kind of fusion that operates at much lower temperatures than thought possible, which would make it easier to commercialize. So far the early results show promise.

Energy Security

Shell Stops Arctic Activity After “Disappointing” Tests
Royal Dutch Shell has stopped Arctic oil and gas exploration off the coast of Alaska after “disappointing” results from a key well in the Chukchi Sea. Shell said it did not find sufficient amounts of oil and gas in the Burger J well to warrant further exploration.

Nuclear Security

Satellite, Missile Test or Space Junk? North Korea Readies Launch
Jack Kim / Reuters
The North is planning another satellite launch next month, re-igniting fears that it is really testing a system to deliver nuclear weapons. The secretive state is already under international sanctions for its nuclear and missile tests. South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se said this month the North’s plan to launch a new satellite, which could be timed around the 70th anniversary of its ruling party on Oct 10, would be a disguised missile test. The United States has said such a launch could lead to more sanctions.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

ASP in Colorado: Climate Change and Security in the Heartland
Porter Brockway
On Wednesday and Thursday, September 9th and 10th, representatives of the American Security Project visited Denver, Colorado and Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a series of meetings, public events, and briefings on how climate change is affecting security, how institutions in the region are planning for it, and how.

Event Recap: The Keynote Speech | Cyber Security: Risk, Recovery, and Resilience
Sam Hickey
On Wednesday, September 16th American Security Project hosted a conference on ‘Cyber Security: Risk, Recovery, and Resilience’. After opening remarks by ASP CEO BGen. Stephen Cheney USMC, (Ret.) – in which he mainly focused on the diversity of the concept of cyber and the challenges this may create to national security, RDML Danelle Barrett – Deputy Director of Current Operations at USCYBERCOM – to delivered the keynote address.

Event Recap : Panel 1 | Lessons from OPM Hack
Ngoc H. Le
The first panel of the afternoon discussed the ‘lessons learned’ from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach. In June 2015 the OPM announced that they had been the target of a large data breach, stealing the classified and personal records of several millions of people. James Comey, director of the FBI, put the number at a dazzling 18 million.

Event Review- Panel 2: Cyber Security & Consequences for the Military
Spencer Shweky
The afternoon’s second panel, “Consequences for the Military” was moderated by Brigadier General Stephen A. Cheney, USMC (Ret.), CEO of the American Security Project and included  MG Garrett Yee, US Army Reserve, Cyber Security Directorate Military Deputy, LTC Scott Applegate, G3 Current Operations Chief, Defensive Cyberspace Operations, United States Army Cyber Command, and Ian Wallace, Senior Fellow, Co-Director Cyber Security Initiative, New America.

Event Review: Panel 3 | Defense, Diplomacy, and Deterrence
Anil Powers
In panel 3 of its conference on cyber security, ASP hosted Michele Markoff, Deputy Coordinator for Cyber Issues at the U.S. Department of State (DOS), Colonel Jon Brickey, National Capital Region Liaison and Assistant Professor at Army Cyber Institute at West Point, and Hon. Bijan R. Kian, Chairman of the Board of Directors for iCelero.  William G. Lay, Deputy Chief Information Officer for Information Assurance and Chief Information Security Officer for DOS, moderated the panel. The two panels prior focused on “Lessons from the OPM Attack” and “Consequences for the Military,” whereas this panel highlighted the roles of the U.S. government, the military, and the private sector in maintaining cyber security.

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