Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Defense Secretary Ash Carter says Russia, China Potentially Threaten Global Order
Robert Burns / The Associated Press
Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Saturday accused Russia of endangering world order, citing its incursions in Ukraine and loose talk about nuclear weapons, and said the U.S. defense establishment is searching for creative ways to deter Russian aggression and protect U.S. allies.

Iran’s President Suggests Link Between Hard-Line Media and Arrests
Ashton Carter / Defense News
Iran’s president publicly criticized its hardline media on Sunday, hinting that some outlets are connected to the security forces responsible for a wave of recent arrests in the country aimed at crippling Western influence.

Sierra Leone Declared Free of Ebola Transmissions
Dionne Searcey, Sheri Fink / The New York Times
After a nerve-racking countdown, Sierra Leone celebrated a national milestone on Saturday that government officials hoped would help the country finally leave behind a grim chapter in its history: It was officially declared free of Ebola transmissions.

American Competitiveness

Bonus Pay on Wall Street is Likely to Fall, a Report Says
Nathaniel Popper / The New York Times
Even as they emerge from the post-financial-crisis haze, bankers are  seeing few signs that their institutions – and their bonuses – will stage a full recovery anytime soon.

Wall St. Opens Lower on Global Demand Worries
U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as concerns about weakening global demand increased following lackluster trade data from China and after the OECD cut its 2015 global growth forecast.

National Security & Strategy

U.S. Military Officials Aim to Bolster Troop Presence in Europe
Julian E. Barnes, Gordon Lubold / The Wall Street Journal
Senior U.S. military leaders have proposed sending more forces into Europe on a rotating basis to build up the American presence and are stepping up training exercises to counter potential Russian interference with troop transfers in the event of a crisis with Moscow.

Pentagon Plan to Close Gitmo Expected in Coming Week
Lolita C. Baldor, Kathleen Hennessey / The Associated Press
The Pentagon’s plan outlining the long-stalled effort to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center, expected in the coming week, includes details suggesting that the Centennial Correctional Facility in Colorado is one suitable site to send detainees whom officials believe should never be released, administration officials said.

Russia to Provide Iran with S-300 Air Defence Missiles
Russia has signed a contract to supply Iran with sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles. The contract got the go-ahead after international sanctions on Iran were lifted earlier this year, following a deal over its nuclear programme.

Asymmetric Operations

Weapons Inspectors Say Non-State Fighters in Syria Used Mustard Gas
Hugh Naylor / The Washington Post
Inspectors have conclusively identified mustard gas as the toxic agent used in an attack by insurgents in northern Syria this summer, according to a statement released Friday by an international chemical-weapons watchdog.

Activists say IS Group Releases 37 Syrian Christian Captives
The Associated Press
Activists say Islamic State militants have released 37 Syrian Christians, mostly women, who were among more than 200 people from the Assyrian minority group abducted in February.

Iraq Calls for GCC, Iran and Iraq to Sign Counterterror Pact
Awad Mustafa / Defense News
Speaking at the International Institute of Strategic Studies’ Manama Dialogue, Iraq’s minister of defense called for a counter-terrorism agreement to be signed between the Gulf states, Iraq and Iran.

U.S. to Ramp Up Airstrikes Against Islamic State in Syria, Iraq
Robert Wall / The Wall Street Journal
The pace of U.S. airstrikes targeting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is set to increase after a period of several weeks in which attacks slowed, said a senior U.S. military official in the Middle East.

Pentagon Chief: More US Troops Possible in Syria
Agence France-Presse
More US troops could “absolutely” be deployed to Syria if Washington identifies more “capable local forces” as partners in the fight against the Islamic State jihadist group, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in an interview aired Sunday.

Climate Security

Earth’s Climate Entering new ‘Permanent Reality’ as CO2 Hits New High
Adam Vaughan / The Guardian
The Earth’s climate will enter a new “permanent reality” from next year when concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are likely to pass a historic milestone, the head of the UN’s weather agency has warned.

Human-caused Climate Change Increased the Severity of Many Extreme Events in 2014
Science Daily
Human activities, such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use, influenced specific extreme weather and climate events in 2014, including tropical cyclones in the central Pacific, heavy rainfall in Europe, drought in East Africa, and stifling heat waves in Australia, Asia, and South America, according to a new report released today. The report, “Explaining Extreme Events of 2014 from a Climate Perspective” published by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, addresses the natural and human causes of individual extreme events from around the world in 2014, including Antarctica. NOAA scientists served as three of the five lead editors on the report.

Energy Security

Clean Energy is the Key to a Successful Climate Deal in Paris, says Top Scientist
Damian Carrington / The Guardian
Catastrophic global warming can be avoided with a deal at a crunch UN climate change summit in Paris this December because “ultimately nothing can compete with renewables”, according to one of the world’s most influential climate scientists.

Nuclear Security

Peak Plutonium-238? U.S. Starts Making Nuclear Fuel for Deep Space Missions
William Pentland / Forbes
In the next two or three years, the U.S. Department of Energy will begin producing small quantities of a material known as plutonium-238 at refurbished federal nuclear facilities in Idaho and Tennessee.

The Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare
The New York Times
With as many as 120 warheads, Pakistan could in a decade become the world’s third-ranked nuclear power, behind the United States and Russia, but ahead of China, France and Britain. Its arsenal is growing faster than any other country’s, and it has become even more lethal in recent years with the addition of small tactical nuclear weapons that can hit India and longer-range missiles that can reach farther.

On Our Flashpoint Blog

Improving the Relationship Between the U.S. and Iran with Ambassador Thomas Pickering
Sam Hickey
On Monday November 2, 2015, Ambassador Thomas Pickering visited American University to address Improving the Relationship Between the U.S. and Iran. Ambassador Pickering has served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Russia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Jordan and El Salvador. He has also served as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs and as Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger

GMOs Play a key Role in Climate and national Security
Ricky Gandhi
Climate change has had notable impacts on our environment and national security, serving as a “threat multiplier,” according to the Department of Defense. The argument goes that climate change can exacerbate existing conflict by making already-scarce resources ever scarcer, such as land and water.

Reality, Risk and potential: Managing Today’s Conflicts
Sam Hickey
On Monday, October 26th at the Council on Foreign Relation’s, Foreign Affairs and the International Crisis Group (ICG) in New York hosted an event on “Reality, Risk, and Potential: Managing Today’s Conflicts.” The event featured panels of experts consisting of think tank fellows, academics, journalists, and business professionals.

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.

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.

Hill Briefing: Opportunities in International Climate Cooperation
November 10 @ 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Please join us in 121 Canon HOB for a discussion of the latest updates and developments in international climate policy as nations prepare for international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), set to take place in Paris, France from November 30 – December 11, 2015.

TPP: Implications of the Trans-pacific Partnership for Global and Regional Stability
November 19 @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Final negotiations on TPP concluded on October 5th, 2015 and the long-awaited trade deal now begins a 90-day waiting period before being brought for discussion and vote by the United States Congress.

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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