Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Deaths, damage reported in powerful Afghanistan quake

Ben Brumfield / CNN

A magnitude-7.5 earthquake struck southern Asia on Monday afternoon, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Early reports from Afghanistan and Pakistan say at least 180 people have died. At least 146 deaths have been reported in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas that border Afghanistan, according to district coordination officials. Afghan officials report at least 34 deaths in that country’s northeastern provinces.

Syria’s Assad Said to Favor Vote, But Only After Victory

Albert Aji, Sarah El Deeb / Associated Press

President Bashar Assad is willing to run in an early presidential election, hold parliamentary elections and discuss constitutional changes, but only after the defeat of “terrorist” groups, Russian lawmakers said after meeting with the Syrian leader on Sunday.


American Competitiveness

McDonald’s Stock Soars Following Reports of Climb in Sales

Nash Jenkins / Time

After more than a year of anemic returns, McDonald’s appears to be enjoying a rebound, with its shares hitting an unprecedented high on Thursday following CEO Steve Easterbrook’s announcement that the company’s sales climbed last quarter.

U.S. union, GM reach tentative agreement on labor contract

Bernie Woodall / Reuters

Negotiators for the United Auto Workers and General Motors Co (GM.N) reached a tentative agreement on undisclosed terms for a new four-year labor contract, averting a threatened strike, the union said late on Sunday night.

Fed hike more problematic for global economy than before: ECB

U.S. rate hikes could have greater global repercussions than in the past and affect the euro zone more in some respects than the domestic market, European Central Bank Vice President Vitor Constancio said on Thursday.

Duke Energy buys Piedmont Natural Gas for $4.9B
USA Today

Duke Energy said it would buy natural gas distributor Piedmont Natural Gas, its partner in the $5 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline, for $4.9 billion in cash. The deal with give Piedmont shareholders $60 in cash for each of their shares, which represents a 40% premium to Piedmont’s last closing stock price.


National Security Strategy

US escalates Deutsche Bank probe into Russian trades

Kathrin Hille / Financial Times

Deutsche Bank is facing a major escalation of a US probe into its activities in Russia, as a money laundering investigation of its Moscow unit widens to examine possible sanctions violations, said people familiar with the case.

Russian Ships Near Data Cables Are Too Close For U.S. Comfort

David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt / The New York Times

Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.


Asymmetric Operations

Syrian rebels to Russia: Stop bombing us


An alliance of Free Syrian Army-related insurgent groups said on Monday it was skeptical about a Russian proposal to help rebels, and that Moscow must stop bombing rebels and civilians and withdraw its support for President Bashar al-Assad.

U.S., Saudi Arabia to Increase Support for Syrians Fighting Islamic State

Jay Solomon, Ahmed al Omran / The Wall Street Journal

Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Salman agreed to increase support for Syrian rebel forces fighting Islamic State militants while backing international diplomatic efforts to begin a political transition in Damascus, U.S. and Saudi officials said.

Climate Security

How to make a selfish world avoid catastrophic climate change

New Scientist

We’re set for catastrophic climate change that exceeds 2°C of global warming even with the emission cuts pledges made ahead of the Paris climate summit in December. But there’s a way out. If the US wants to lead the world on climate change mitigation it will need to almost double its pledged greenhouse gas cuts – and many other countries will need to double their cuts in turn. That’s the conclusion of an interactive tool that looks at ways of avoiding 2°C of warming by 2100 – agreed to be the limit beyond which warming would lead to catastrophic consequences.

World Catholic leaders appeal for bold climate change agreement


Roman Catholic leaders from around the world made an unprecedented joint appeal on Monday to a forthcoming U.N. conference on climate change to produce “a truly transformational” agreement to stem global warming.

Vulnerable GOP senator backs Obama’s climate rule
Timothy Cama / The Hill

A Republican senator facing a tough reelection fight is supporting President Obama’s signature climate change rule. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) came out in support late Sunday of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation that seeks a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon dioxide emissions.

Middle East May Suffer ‘Intolerable’ Heat, Climate Study Warns

Alex Nussbaum / Bloomberg Business

Extreme heat waves with conditions “intolerable to humans” may become a regular occurrence in the Persian Gulf by century’s end, according to a study evaluating the consequences of unchecked global warming.


Nuclear Security  

Nuclear test ban treaty, Take Two

Leigh Munsil / Politico

Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz are mounting a bid to persuade the Senate to reconsider the nuclear test ban treaty that it rejected in 1999.

UK nuclear deterrent to cost $256 billion, far more than expected

Elizabeth Piper / Reuters

The overall cost of replacing and maintaining Britain’s nuclear deterrent will reach 167 billion pounds ($256 billion), much more than expected, according to a lawmaker’s and Reuters’ calculations based on official figures.


Energy Security   

Energy Storage Industry Gaining Momentum

Diane Cardwell

Despite decades of public and private research and investment, the storage industry has struggled to take off, though there are signs that may be changing. As energy policies, technologies and markets shift to encourage the growth of renewable power plants, rooftop solar and decentralized systems like microgrids, storage is gaining more investment and interest while regulators are moving to require its inclusion in renewable energy developments and wholesale electricity markets.

Despite threats, Africa is looking to nuclear with Russia and China’s help

The Conversation

African nuclear expertise is limited so they are looking abroad to achieve their nuclear ambitions. This includes the Western powers like France and the US. But China and Russia and their closely affiliated non-state and state-owned nuclear energy providers are the biggest players in Africa.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

Gen. Stephen Cheney and Christine Whitman on Why We Should Export Nuclear Energy

Ricky Gandhi

ASP CEO BGen. Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) and ASP Board Chairperson and Board member of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASE) Gov. Christine Whitman discussed the importance of exporting nuclear power in Fortune. Russia, and increasingly China, they argue, “view nuclear technology exports as a strategic tool to solidify long-term relations and influence and provide attractive financing for their nuclear energy business.” Without changes to U.S. policy, these two nations will dominate the international nuclear energy market.

Holland Featured at “Insights from a National Dialogue on Climate Change, Energy, and Security”

Ngoc H. Le

October 21, 2015 – Andrew Holland, Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at the American Security Project, joined “Insights from a National Dialogue on Climate Change, Energy, and Security” conference as a featured speaker co- sponsored by  CNA , the EU Delegation to the United States, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation, and the Energy Foundation in the Wilson Center, Washington, D.C to talk about climate security in the United States today.

Susan Rice Speaks at Stanford About Climate Change
Ricky Gandhi
On Monday, October 12, former ASP board member and current national security advisor Susan Rice spoke to a Stanford crowd about the ill effects of climate change and our global response to it. She began by noting our failure to adequately respond, and the consequences that ensued.

Who Wields Iranian Sanctions Authority?
Sam Hickey
On December 28, 1977, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) was signed into law, which allows a president to intervene in any U.S. business transactions with a foreign entity if a state of emergency is declared.

Iran’s Close Relationship with Syria Hinders Negotiations with the US
Anil Powers
There appears to be no end in sight for the war in Syria.  As ISIS continues its campaign of terror in the region, Russia and Iran increase their military support of the Assad regime, intensifying a conflict that has already affected millions of people.  With no formal peace talks in the works, the United States is reaching out to Iran to negotiate a political solution, one in which the Assad regime is removed from power.  But the most critical obstacle to this is Iran’s unwillingness to part ways with President Bashar al-Assad.


Upcoming Events

Challenging Climate Change: Practical Solutions from Business, National Security and Faith Perspectives

October 27 @ 12pm – 1:30pm

The Friends Committee on National Legislation, The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, RepublicEN and the American Security Project invite you to a briefing that highlights solutions to mitigate climate change and adapt to its consequences (such as sea level rise and drought) which are already being implemented by members of the business, national security and faith communities.

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.
College of Charleston Event – Climate Change: Risks for National Security

November 09 @ 4:00pm – 5:30pm

Climate change is already a major concern for US military planners. Meanwhile, American politicians continue to ignore the issue of this growing threat. Join ASP at the College of Charleston on Monday, November 9th, as we discuss this important issue.

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