Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


South China Sea: Beijing ‘Not Frightened to Fight a War’ After US Move
Tom Phillips / The Guardian
Twenty-four hours after Washington challenged Beijing’s territorial claims in the region by deploying a warship to waters around the disputed Spratly archipelago, the notoriously nationalistic Global Times accused the Pentagon of provoking China.


Iran Accepts Invitation to Join U.S. and Russia in Talks on Syria’s Future
Sewell Chan / The New York Times
Iran has accepted an invitation to join talks with the United States and Russia this week on a possible political resolution to the Syrian civil war, state news media reported on Wednesday.  The talks would be Secretary of State John Kerry’s first formal negotiations with Tehran on issues beyond the nuclear accord reached in July.



American Competitiveness


Private Investment in Infrastructure – American Style
Joel Moser / Forbes
Wall Street took notice and the idea of infrastructure investment in the United States became a “thing” as billions of dollars were capitalized in investment funds before the market tried to figure out what private American infrastructure investment would actually look like, many presuming that the global PPP model would become the established norm.


Early Look at U.S. Trade in September Signals Big Decline in Deficit
Jeffry Bartash / MarketWatch
An early look at U.S. trade patterns in September signals a big drop in the nation’s trade deficit. The trade gap in goods – services are excluded – fell nearly 13% to $58.6 billion in September, the government said Wednesday. The seasonally adjusted deficit in goods had shot up to a revised $67.2 billion in August from $59.1 billion in July.



National Security & Strategy


Senate Passes Controversial Cybersecurity Bill CISA 74 to 21
Sam Thielman / The Guardian
The US Senate overwhelmingly passed a controversial cybersecurity bill critics say will allow the government to collect sensitive personal data unchecked, over the objections of civil liberties groups and many of the biggest names in the tech sector.


Northrop Grumman Wins Air Force’s Long Range Strike Bomber Contract
Lara Seligman, Andrew Clevenger, Aaron Mehta / DefenseNews
After US financial markets closed Tuesday evening, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Air Force leadership announced that Northrop beat out the team of Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the contract, which is expected to top $55 billion over the life of the program. It’s the largest military aircraft contract since Lockheed Martin won the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) more than a decade ago.



Asymmetric Operations


Ashton Carter: U.S. to Begin ‘Direct Action on the Ground’ in Iraq, Syria
Jim Miklaszewski, Courtney Kube / NBC News
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Tuesday that the U.S. will begin “direct action on the ground” against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria, aiming to intensify pressure on the militants as progress against them remains elusive.


Turkey Fires at U.S.-Allied Kurds in Syria, Prime Minister Says
Erin Cunningham, Andrew Roth / The Washington Post
The comments by Ahmet Davutoglu were the first time that Turkey has confirmed the use of force against ethnic Kurdish militias in neighboring Syria. The Turkish government — which is facing a Kurdish insurgency of its own at home — fears that these militias could carve out a breakaway Kurdish enclave along the ­Turkey-Syria border amid Syria’s chaotic civil war.


Afghanistan-Pakistan Quake: Taliban Seize Darqad District
A police spokesman in Takhar province, which includes Darqad, confirmed it had fallen and said heavy fighting was continuing in two other districts.  Although the Taliban has said its fighters have been ordered to help victims, there are worries insecurity is hampering the relief effort.



Climate Security


Persian Gulf Heat: It May Become Too Hot for Humans to Survive, Study Warns
Brandon Miller / CNN
Climate change could leave major cities in a key part of the Middle East, the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, unfit for humans to survive.



Energy Security


From Texas to the World
Jeff Colgan / Foreign Affairs
On October 7, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to repeal a 40-year-old ban on exports of domestic crude oil to foreign countries. Two Senate subcommittees also support the repeal, and the full Senate will likely vote shortly.


Natural Gas Needs Bone-Chilling Winter to Avoid 1990s-Era Prices
Christine Buurma / BloombergBusiness
The average price for natural gas in the U.S. this year is now the lowest since Bill Clinton was president. And a forecast for a warm winter ahead means there’s no end in sight to the slump.



Nuclear Security


Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons May Not Deter Indian Retaliation, But Destruction Mutual
Praveen Swami / The Indian Express

Even as India has sharpened its sword though, Islamabad has also strengthened its shield — growing its nuclear arsenal and letting its willingness to use these weapons be known. Hans Kristensen and Robert Norris estimated earlier this year that Pakistan’s arsenal has expanded to between 110 and 130 warheads — exceeding levels the US estimated it would reach in 2020.



On Our Flashpoint Blog


Todd Stern Testifies on Impacts of Paris Negotiations
Ricky Gandhi
Todd D. Stern, the Special Envoy on Climate Change at the State Department and President Obama’s chief climate negotiator, testified on the economic and environmental impacts of the recent climate negotiations set to be finalized in Paris this December.


Start-Ups Aim to Achieve Fusion Energy
Ricky Gandhi
The New York Times ran an article discussing the role of start-up in researching nuclear fusion, which provides a tremendous amount of clean energy with no negative emissions.  ASP BCAS member General Fusion’s work on magnetized target fusion using lead and lithium was the subject of much of the article’s focus.


Private Investors Back Nuclear Fusion Energy
Ricky Gandhi
This week’s TIME cover story discusses fusion energy, which presents a clean and renewable source of power.  ASP BCAS member General fusion’s work on magnetized target fusion using lead and lithium was the subject of much of the article’s focus.


Gen. Stephen Cheney and Christie 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.”



Upcoming Events


College of Charleston Event – Climate Change: Risks for National Security
November 09 @ 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Join ASP in Charleston, NC for a discussion with senior flag officers as they discuss the steps the US military has taken and future implications for our national security.



ASP Recently Published


Climate Diplomacy: A Strategy for American Leadership
American Security Project
In December, 2015, the world will gather in Paris in an attempt to finally address the challenge of climate change. The stakes are high: failure would only make addressing climate change more costly and difficult and could have repercussions on broader national security goals. But “Climate Diplomacy” is not just about a single conference in Paris: it must be a bipartisan, long-standing priority for the U.S. government.

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