Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Obama Administration Ends Pentagon Program to Train Syrian Rebels
Helene Cooper and Eric Schmitt / New York Times
The Obama administration has ended the Pentagon’s $500 million program to train and equip Syrian rebels, administration officials said on Friday, in an acknowledgment that the beleaguered program had failed to produce any kind of ground combat forces capable of taking on the Islamic State in Syria.

ISIL kills top Iranian commander in Syria
Al Jazeera
An Iranian Revolutionary Guards general has been killed near Aleppo, where he was advising the Syrian army on their battle against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters, the guards said in a statement.

Tunisian group wins Nobel Peace Prize
Anthony Faiola / Washington Post
The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday bestowed the Nobel Peace Prize on an alliance of four Tunisian civil society groups for their tireless efforts to foster democracy in the nation that gave birth to the Arab Spring.

American Competitiveness

Fed’s Rate Delay Spurred by Worry Over Low Inflation, Minutes Show
Jon Hilsenrath / Wall Street Journal
Federal Reserve officials held off on raising short-term interest rates at their September policy meeting because of worries that inflation could remain stuck at exceptionally low levels, according to minutes released Thursday.

The Most Important Thing, and It’s Almost a Secret
Nicholas Kristof / New York Times
The world’s best-kept secret is that we live at a historic inflection point when extreme poverty is retreating. United Nations members have just adopted 17 new Global Goals, of which the centerpiece is the elimination of extreme poverty by 2030. Their goals are historic. There will still be poor people, of course, but very few who are too poor to eat or to send children to school. Young journalists or aid workers starting out today will in their careers see very little of the leprosy, illiteracy, elephantiasis and river blindness that I have seen routinely.

National Security & Strategy

China will not allow violations of its territorial waters
Michael Martina / Reuters
China said on Friday it would not stand for violations of its territorial waters in the name of freedom of navigation, as the United States considers sailing warships close to China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Russia’s Syrian bombing gives boost to Iran
Mehrdad Farahmand / BBC Persia
While Russian cruise missiles were flying over Iran towards targets in Syria on Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, was delivering a strongly worded speech ruling out the need for further political dialogue with the US.

Are Refugees Really a ‘National Security’ Threat to America?
Molly O’Toole / The Atlantic
The United States, which accepts more refugees per year than any other country, has all but closed its door to the millions of Syrians who are part of the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. A recent decision to admit more Syrian refugees this year opened that door a crack, but the Obama administration insists that national security concerns constrain it from going further. Yet officials at more than a dozen agencies could not point to any specific or credible case, data, or intelligence assessment indicating that Syrian refugees pose a threat.

Asymmetric Operations

Islamic State closes in on city of Aleppo in Syrian fighting
Peter Millership / Reuters
Islamic State fighters have seized villages close to the city of Aleppo from rival insurgents, a monitoring group said on Friday, despite a Russian air-and-sea campaign that Moscow says has targeted the militant group.

Climate Security

South Carolina expects ‘horrendous’ losses from flood damage to top $1bn
Richard Luscombe / The Guardian
South Carolina’s state insurance director has warned of “horrendous losses” as he prepares to release the first official estimate of damage from this week’s deadly flooding that claimed at least 17 lives. And many residents are learning that their insurance may not even cover damage to their homes.

Twenty nations vulnerable to climate change seek more action

Alister Doyle / Reuters
Twenty of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, from the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, will form a new group on Thursday to press for tougher action to curb warming.

New York Unveils Climate Change Plans
Erica Orden / Wall Street Journal
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn’t always earned the praise of his fellow Democrats on issues central to the party, but on Thursday he added his voice to one of its core concerns – climate change.

Energy Security

5 Things to Know About the U.S. Oil-Export Fight in Congress
Lynn Cook and Amy Harder / Wall Street Journal
Congress is considering legislation to lift the ban on exporting American oil. Such sales of U.S. crude to overseas buyers have been largely prohibited since the energy crisis of the 1970s. Here’s what you need to know.

House votes to speed up tribal energy projects
Devin Henry / The Hill
The House approved a bill Thursday to speed up energy development on Native American land and for Alaska natives.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

El Nino and the Case for Microgrids
American Security Project
Winter is coming to the United States’ national electric grid. El Niño – an ocean temperature event that affects global weather – is on its way and is expected to be one of the strongest events in recent history. Already, we have seen El Nino’s warmer ocean currents create severe weather conditions, causing blackouts throughout the Asian and Pacific regional energy grids.

The Emergence of the Trans-Pacific Partnership
Anil Powers
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the largest regional trade accord in history.  It finally emerged after years of negotiations between the US and eleven Pacific Rim nations.  It now faces months of scrutiny in a politically divided Congress, although the threat of amendments or a filibuster will not be an issue due to the success of the fast-track trade authority.

Containing the Threat of al-Qaeda & Its Affiliates
Anil Powers
For nearly 20 years, al-Qaeda and its ideological cousins have been the most important threats to national and global security.  They will remain so over the next 20-30 years.  Since its inception, al-Qaeda has used large-scale terrorist attacks and other forms of violence to kill thousands and cause mass destruction.  These terrorist groups use a distorted interpretation of Islamic doctrine to justify their attacks and inspire support for their cause.

Investments in Clean Energy Make Us Safer
Ricky Gandhi
This December, countries from around the world will meet in Paris to develop an international climate agreement that will attempt to cap warming at 2˚C – the threshold scientists have warned us not to cross. The United States should lead the way in climate research, technology, and adaptation. However, the nation has acted slowly relative to others, which prolongs environmental degradation and threatens our security.

Reducing Our Dependence on Fossil Fuels is a National Security Imperative
Spencer Shweky
In 2013, the EIA projected that world energy consumption would grow by 56% between 2010 and 2040, with fossil fuels continuing to supply almost 80% of the 2040 total. This trajectory threatens not only to alter the nature of the earth’s climate, but to fundamentally destabilize the global security environment. To recognize this, we need only take a closer look at the nature of the fuels themselves.

Upcoming Events

Climate Change, Diplomacy, and National Security – A Conversation with Foreign Minister Tony de Brum, Marshall Islands
October 28 @ 12:00pm – 1:30pm
ASP will host a conference to discuss the importance of the upcoming COP in Paris and how effective climate diplomacy can still prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

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