Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Airline Rules out Technical Failure or Pilot Error in Crash
Neil MacFarquhar / The New York Times
Senior Officials at Metrojet, the charter airline company whose Airbus passenger plane crashed in Egypt over the weekend, killing all 224 people aboard, on Monday ruled out any technical failure or human error on the part of the airline in the catastrophe.

Maintaining the Edge in the Age of Everything
Ashton Carter / Defense News
Today I am in Malaysia, working with our partners throughout the Asia-Pacific region to build a shared regional architecture that is strong enough, capable enough, and connected enough to ensure that all Asia-Pacific peoples and nations have the opportunity to rise, to prosper, and to determine their own destiny.

Erdogan’s Party in Turkey Regains Parliamentary Majority
Tim Arango, Ceylan Yeginsu / The New York Times
In a stunning electoral comeback, the Islamist party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regained its majority in Parliament on Sunday, ensuring Mr. Erdogan’s continued dominance of Turkish politics after months of political turmoil and violence.

American Competitiveness

To Export or not to Export: Partisan Divide Over Ban on Foreign Sales of US Oil
Debbie Carlson / The Guardian
Oil is fueling another battle in Washington. As domestic crude oil production gushes to multi-year highs, the president and his Republican opponents are battling over whether to end the 40-year-old ban on exporting US crude.

U.S. Manufacturing Expansion Slows in October
Harriet Torry / The Wall Street Journal
U.S. manufacturers expanded at the slowest pace in more than two years in October, according to a report released Monday, as a weak global economy and strong dollar continued to hit the sector.

National Security & Strategy

After Vowing to End Two Wars, Obama May Leave Three Behind
Greg Jaffe / The Washington Post

President Obama’s decision to expand the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Syria is a reflection of the conflicting pressures on a commander in chief who doubts that military force alone can end the conflicts in those countries, but who also feels compelled to act in the face of a humanitarian catastrophe and a growing threat to the United States.

Iran says May Quit Syria Talks, in Worsening Spat with Saudi Rival
Yara Bayoumy, Bozorgmehr Sharafedin / Reuters
Iran said on Monday it would quit Syria peace talks if it found them unconstructive, citing the “negative role” of Saudi Arabia, in the latest twist in a spat between the regional rivals that bodes ill for efforts to ease turmoil across the Middle East.

As US-Egypt Tensions Thaw, M1A1 Abrams Tank Co-Production to Resume
Oscar Nkala / Defense News
The United States and Egyptian governments will soon resume the co-production of M1A1 Abrams tanks, weapon systems and accessories after signing a deal that formalized the collaboration between the Egyptian Tank Plant and US defense equipment manufacturer General Dynamics Land Systems.

The Pentagon Blew $43 Million on ‘The World’s Most Expensive Gas Station’
Avi Asher-Schapiro / Vice News
Somewhere in Sheberghan, a medium-sized Afghan city in the northern province of Jowzjan, lies a simple gas station with just a handful of pumps. The humble facility, which was supposed to provide cheap natural gas to local Afghan drivers, cost $43 million to build – and the US Department of Defense footed the bill.

Asymmetric Operations

Footage Shows Syrian Rebels Parading Caged Prisoners through the Streets
Vice News
Two days after airstrikes and shelling by Syrian regime forces killed at least 70 people in a suburb east of Damascus, a video has emerged that purportedly shows rebel fighters in the area holding members of President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite religious group in cages.

Islamic State Group Advances in Central Syria, Seizing Town
Sarah El Deeb / The Associated Press
The Islamic State militant group is advancing in central Syria, seizing control of a town that lies near a highway leading to the capital, Damascus, and attacking another, activists and the group said Sunday.

Al Qaeda Chief Urges Militant unity Against Russia in Syria
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri called on Muslim supporters to band together to confront the threat from the West and Russia in Syria and Iraq, the latest recording suggesting greater unity between al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Climate Security

China and France say Paris Climate Pact Should Have Five-Year Reviews
Tom Phillips / The Guardian
French president François Hollande claimed China and France had taken an “historic” step towards tackling climate change on Monday after the two countries agreed any deal reached in Paris next month should include checks on whether signatories are keeping their commitments to reduce emissions.

Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater Than Losses
Science Daily
A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

Obama’s Court Quagmire
Timothy Cama / The Hill
President Obama’s environmental agenda hangs in the balance as federal courts consider whether his administration overstepped its authority in drafting a host of regulations designed to combat pollution and climate change.

Energy Security

Half-Death: Nuclear Power Emits No Greenhouse Gases, yet it is Struggling in the Rich World
The Economist
PENNSYLVANIA has played a big role in the history of American energy. Coal has been mined there since the 1760s (Pennsylvania is sometimes called “the coal state”). In 1859 Edwin Drake drilled a rickety well that set off America’s first oil rush. More recently it has produced more natural gas than any other state except Texas, thanks to the vast Marcellus shale that runs beneath it. And though it barely advertises the fact, Pennsylvania is also America’s second-largest provider of nuclear energy—despite the near-disaster at Three Mile Island, a nuclear plant that suffered a partial meltdown of one of its reactors in 1979 (pictured, right), killing no one but scaring millions.

Senators Urge Obama Administration to Include Carbon Costs in Coal Program
Timothy Gardner / Reuters
Democratic U.S. senators on Monday urged the Obama administration to reform the federal coal mine program to include costs of the fuel’s carbon emissions and potentially raise royalties paid by companies that mine the fuel on public lands.

Nuclear Security

U.S., South Korea Defense Chiefs Vow No Tolerance for North Korea Provocation
Yeganeh Torbati, Jack Kim / Reuters
The U.S. and South Korean defense chiefs urged North Korea on Monday to immediately cease all activities related to its nuclear program and said they will have no tolerance for any military provocation by Pyongyang.

Ash Carter Assures South Korea on U.S. Support
Gordon Lubold / The Wall Street Journal
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter appeared in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea to assure Seoul that the U.S. stands ready to help defend it against any aggression from the North.

Iran Begins Deactivating Centrifuges under Nuclear Deal’s Terms
Thomas Erdbrink / The New York Times
Iran has started decommissioning the first of thousands of centrifuges used for enriching uranium as part of its commitments under the nuclear deal reached with global powers, the head of Iran’s nuclear energy program was quoted as saying during a visit to Japan on Monday.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

Israel’s Energy Choice
Spencer Shweky
A few weeks ago Genie Energy, an American energy company, announced that it had found significant quantities of oil and gas in Israel’s disputed Golan Heights territory. Since then, many have speculated that these new-found reserves may be large enough to eventually make Israel self-sufficient in energy. While this is an exciting prospect, the wisdom of drilling in what is nearly universally regarded as an occupied territory is debatable. Israel has other options, and it should take them.

Australian Defense Force Responds to Climate Change
Ngoc H. Le
On October 28 2015, the Australian Climate Security Panel at the Australian Defense Force Academy discussed the security threats of climate change. Australian Defense Forces are increasingly working with the U.S. and U.K. militaries on this issue.

Event Recap: Climate Change – FM Tony de Brum, Marshall Islands
Ricky Gandhi
On Wednesday, October 28, 2015, the American Security Project hosted an event featuring Minister Tony de Brum, Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands. He discussed the devastating effects climate change is already having on the islands, as well as the international cooperation needed to tackle this problem quickly and effectively.

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.

Upcoming Events

College of Charleston Event – Climate Change: Risks for National Security
November 09 @ 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Join ASP in Charleston, SC 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

Perspective – 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. This paper lays out why climate diplomacy is important and a strategy to deploy it.

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