Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Putin Hits West’s Rebels Instead of ISIS

Nancy A. Youssef, The Daily Beast

A Russian general asked the U.S. to remove its planes from Syrian airspace Wednesday, just hours before Russian airstrikes began there.

Refugee Crisis in Europe Prompts Western Engagement in Syria

Somini Sengupta / The New York Times

The rush of migrants into Europe, combined with the Continent’s fear that Islamic State fighters may cross porous borders to carry out attacks, has stirred new urgency among Western leaders to address the war in Syria and push harder for an end to it.


American Competitiveness

Autos, dairy, IP still sticking points for TPP deal


Pacific trade ministers readied on Wednesday to close the biggest trade deal in a generation but warned there was still work to be done on issues ranging from intellectual property to trade in dairy and automobiles.

On views of immigrants, Americans largely split along party lines

Jens Manuel Krogstad / Pew Research Center

When it comes to how Americans view the impact of immigration on U.S. society and life, there’s a big partisan gap – a gap once again reflected in the nation’s politics, particularly in the Republican presidential campaign.


National Security & Strategy

Obama administration scrambles as Russia attempts to seize initiative in Syria

Karen DeYoung / The Washington Post

Blindsided by the unexpected swiftness of Russia’s air attacks in Syria, the Obama administration scrambled Wednesday to retake the diplomatic and military initiatives, saying that it would not be bullied into supporting President Bashar al-Assad and that it was about to significantly expand its own Syrian air operations.

Top NATO general: Russians starting to build air defense bubble over Syria

Thomas Gibbons-Neff / The Washington Post

While Russia’s stated goal in moving into Syria is to fight the Islamic State, NATO’s top commander believes Russia’s new presence includes the first pieces of an intricate layer of defensive systems deployed to hinder U.S. and coalition operations in the region.

Most Syrian refugees are just too poor to flee to Europe

Hugh Naylor / The Washington Post
Images of his countrymen streaming into Europe inspired Bassem al-Alyan to make the journey. But like many other Syrian refugees, he faces a significant obstacle.

US CIA’s Operations in China Take a Step Back in Wake of OPM Breach

Ankit Panda/ The Diplomat

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has pulled its officers from the U.S. embassy in Beijing. The move was undertaken by the agency a “precautionary measure,” the report notes, to avoid any possible retaliation against these officers in the wake of data acquired by Chinese hackers in a breach of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

Raytheon wins $1 billion cybersecurity contract to battle attacks on U.S. agencies

Christian Davenport / The Washington Post

The Department of Homeland Security has awarded a massive cybersecurity contract, worth up to $1 billion, to Raytheon, which it hopes will shore up the federal government’s defenses against the increasing onslaught of attacks.


Asymmetric Operations

Afghan Forces Rally in Fight to Retake Kunduz From Taliban

Alissa J Rubin / The New York Times

Afghan government forces on Thursday rallied for the first time against Taliban fighters who had taken the city of Kunduz, engaging in heavy fighting in several places on the city’s outskirts, residents and government officials said.

Shaken by Taliban Victory in Kunduz, Afghans Flee Another Provincial Capital

Joseph Goldstein / The New York Times

The test facing the Afghan government now is not just whether it can quickly mount a counterattack and retake all of Kunduz, the northern city that fell to the Taliban on Monday, but whether it can prevent a nearby provincial capital from falling as well.


Climate Security

Visualizing the Shrinking Sea Ice

Robinson Meyer / The Atlantic

On September 11 of this year, the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean reached its annual minimum. 2015’s minimum was the fourth-smallest ever recorded, and it nearly tied with the third-smallest on record. Which makes a certain amount of sense: In the satellite era, the ten worst years for Arctic sea ice have been the last ten.

Manufacturers, mayors spar on ozone rule

Devin Henry / The Hill

The industry group leading the charge against a new federal standard for ozone pollution is taking its case to U.S. mayors pushing for a strong one. More than 50 mayors signed a letter last week calling on President Obama to tighten the ozone standard from its current 75 parts per billion limit, something federal regulators are required to do by Thursday.


Energy Security

House panel approves energy reform bill

Devin Henry / The Hill

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved an overhaul of the nation’s energy laws on Wednesday, though the legislation shed much of the bipartisan support it once enjoyed.

Judge Blocks Obama Administration Rules on Fracking

Coral Davenport / The New York Times

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the Obama administration’s first major regulations on hydraulic fracturing, a technique for oil and gas drilling that has led to a boom in American energy production but has also raised concerns about health and safety risks.

Nuclear Security

Normal ties between Iran and U.S. unlikely despite nuclear deal

Parisa / Hafezi / Reuters

Iran is unlikely to normalize relations with the United States despite a landmark nuclear deal reached with America and other major powers and the first handshake between a U.S. president and a high-ranking Iranian official in more than 30 years.

Jeremy Corbyn row after ‘I’d not fire nuclear weapons’ comment


Jeremy Corbyn has faced criticism from senior Labour colleagues for saying he would not fire Britain’s nuclear weapons if he were prime minister.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

Winning the Social Media War Against ISIS

Matthew Wallin

Let’s stop here. There is no war online against ISIS in which the United States can seize victory, because there is no online victory to be seized. “Winning” a war implies specific objectives that can actually be met. On the internet, there is no clear ground to be gained, and no reliable way to measure success when it comes to countering violent extremism—as many have mentioned, you can’t measure if someone decides to not join ISIS.

Rethinking NATO Article 5: Challenges to Collective Security in the Cyber Era

Steffen Westerburger

Ever since its formation in early 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been an important cornerstone of the national security strategy of the United States. This military alliance, once founded to counter the Soviet threat during the Cold War, constitutes a system of collective self-defense.

The Iran Nuclear Agreement & Congress’s Role

Sam Hickey

The dangers of nuclear weapons programs span a spectrum of catastrophe: from a meltdown at a nuclear reactor, to a state detonating a nuclear weapon, to terrorists setting off a dirty bomb.

ASP in Colorado: Climate Change and Security in the Heartland


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.


The post What We Are Reading appeared first on American Security Project.