Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Pentagon to send 100 more troops to Iraq

Andrew Tilghman and Leo Shane III / Military Times

The U.S. military will send up to 100 additional troops to Iraq in the form of an “expeditionary targeting force” that will conduct direct raids on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, defense officials said Wednesday.

Military will open all combat jobs to women, Defense secretary announces

Tom Vanden Brook / USA Today

All combat jobs, including infantry units, will be open to women beginning next year, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Thursday.

Britain launches airstrikes hours after Parliament backs ISIS bombings

Ben Brumfield and Carol Jordan / CNN

British fighter jets have taken part in their first airstrikes in Syria, hours after UK lawmakers voted in favor of bombing ISIS strongholds there.


American Competitiveness

Fed’s Yellen: US economy close to full employment

Fred Imbert / CNBC

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that economic data since October is consistent with the central bank’s expectations of an improved job market.

JPMorgan, BofA, Citigroup Among Eight U.S. Banks Cut by S&P

Noah Buhayar and Donal Griffin / BloombergBusiness

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. are among eight large U.S. banks that had their credit grades cut by one level by Standard & Poor’s on the prospect that the U.S. government is less likely to provide aid in a crisis.


National Security Strategy

Kendall: ‘Disproportionate’ Cuts Planned to Modernization, R&D

Aaron Mehta / Defense News

The Pentagon expects to make “disproportionate” cuts to modernization and research and development funding in its fiscal 2017 budget request, while personnel and readiness remain stable, according to the department’s top acquisition official — cuts which may well include a slowdown in F-35 production.

Report: Plan to close Guantanamo Bay deemed too costly

Doug Criss / CNN

Since before he was elected, President Obama pledged to shut down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Now a newspaper report says Obama’s plans have hit a new hurdle — it may be too expensive to close.

Chinese government has arrested hackers it says breached OPM database

Ellen Nakashima / The Washington Post

The Chinese government recently arrested a handful of hackers it says were connected to the breach of Office of Personnel Management’s database this year, a mammoth break-in that exposed the records of more than 22 million current and former federal employees.


Asymmetric Operations

CIA runs shadow war with Afghan militia implicated in civilian killings

Sudarsan Raghavan / The Washington Post

Months after the Obama administration declared combat operations over in Afghanistan, the CIA continues to run a shadow war in the eastern part of the country, overseeing an Afghan proxy called the Khost Protection Force, according to local officials, former commanders of that militia and Western advisers.

ISIS Promise of Statehood Falling Far Short, Ex-Residents Say

Ben Hubbard / The New York Times

The Islamic State claims to be more than a militant group, selling itself as a government for the world’s Muslims that provides a range of services in the territory it controls. But that statehood project is now in distress, perhaps more so than at any other time since the Islamic State began seizing territory in Iraq and Syria, according to a range of interviews with people who have recently fled.

Why Is The U.S. Reluctant To Bomb ISIS Oil Fields?

Ryan Opsal /

There has been some revealing new information coming out recently regarding the strategy against ISIS. One aspect many find troubling is the apparent failure of U.S. and coalition forces to sufficiently target and destroy oil infrastructure located in ISIS territory, which accounts for a significant portion of the terror group’s annual income.

No plan on where to detain all Islamic State fighters captured by US commandos

Tara Copp / Stars and Stripes

The United States will send another 100 special operators to Syria and Iraq with the explicit mission to kill or capture Islamic State leaders. However, there is no plan for where to detain all the militants taken alive.

Islamic State’s US Recruits So Diverse They ‘Defy Analysis’

William Gallo / VOA

Their average age is 26. Eighty-six percent are male. Most use Twitter and other social media to find and spread propaganda. But other than that, there are frustratingly few traits in common among individuals in the United States who support the Islamic State group, according to a new study.

Iraqi politicians, militias warn Abadi against U.S. force deployment

Ahmed Rasheed / Reuters

Iraq’s ruling alliance and powerful Shi’ite militias say Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi would be digging his own political grave and undermining the fight against Islamic State if he permits the deployment of a new U.S. special operations force in the country.

Suspected U.S. Air Strike Targets Islamist Militants in Somalia

Mohamed Sheikh Nor / BloombergBusiness

The Somali army said the U.S. carried out an air strike on a southern Somalia town where a resident said Islamist-militant fighters from the al-Shabaab group are active.


Climate Security

The Latest: New Draft Emerges at Paris Climate Talks

The Associated Press

Negotiators have produced a new draft of a climate agreement that’s supposed to set the world on a path toward cleaner energy and reduce the carbon pollution blamed for global warming.

UN on wrong track with plans to limit global warming to 2C, says top scientist

The Guardian

One of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists has told the UN that its present attempt to limit emissions is “half-arsed and half-baked” and risks handing the next generation a climate system that is out of their control.

The Marshall Islands Are Disappearing

Coral Davenport / The New York Times

The debate over loss and damage has been intense because the final language of the Paris accord could require developed countries, first and foremost the United States, to give billions of dollars to vulnerable countries like the Marshall Islands. Senior Republicans in Congress are already preparing for a fight, they say on behalf of the American taxpayer.


Energy Security

House approves oil export, KXL add-ons to massive bill

Hannah Hess and Hannah Northey / E&E Daily

Despite deep partisan divides that surfaced on the House floor, the chamber last night moved forward on a far-reaching energy package that now includes language to lift a decades-old ban on exporting oil and to speed cross-border reviews of projects like Keystone XL.


Public Diplomacy

Panel casts doubt on U.S. propaganda efforts against ISIS
Greg Miller / Washington Post

The State Department is considering scaling back its direct involvement in online campaigns to discredit the Islamic State after a review by outside experts cast new doubt on the U.S. government’s ability to serve as a credible voice against the terrorist group’s propaganda, current and former U.S. officials said.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane: Possible Consequences for the Turkey – Russia Relationship

Steffen Westerburger

A week ago Turkish warplanes shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter plane that according to Turkey had violated its airspace on multiple occasions. After having warned the plane without success, the Turks decided to engage. Subsequently, the plane was downed with an air-to-air-missile. The two pilots successfully ejected from their plane, and one of them was then killed by Turkmen rebels while still parachuting down. These actions can have serious consequences in the relationship between Moscow and Ankara, and can further complicate the broader conflict in Syria and the Middle East.

Business Council for American Security President and CEO of Risk Cooperative Dante Disparte on Understanding Social Risk Insurance

Steffen Westerburger

Traditional insurance coverage acts as a passive mechanism to protect against an unlikely but extreme financial loss. Particularly in emerging markets where historical loss information is limited, insurance underwriting requires multinational corporations to view risk through a different lens.

Chuck Hagel: Climate Change Is a National Security Problem
American Security Project
ASP Board Member Secretary Chuck Hagel, writes in an Op-Ed in Time Magazine about the the UNFCCC climate negotiations in Paris. He emphasized that “Climate change is a national security problem.”

American Security Project’s Most Recent Perspective Paper on Resource Extraction Cited by E&E News and Bloomberg BNA
Spencer Shweky
Both E&E News and Bloomberg BNA recently published articles on an American Security Project Perspective Paper entitled Alleviating the Resource Curse. The Paper is principally concerned with how best to design new Dodd-Frank regulations on transparency in resource extraction.


Upcoming Events

Department of Defense Action on Climate Change
December 11 @ 12:00pm – 1:30pm
On Friday, December 11, ASP will host Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety & Occupational Health. Two members of ASP’s Board of Directors, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) and BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) will also report on what they have learned as a part of ASP’s national climate security tour, and how important the DoD’s efforts on climate change are for national climate preparedness.

Hill Briefing: Understanding What’s Next in Fusion Energy
December 15 @ 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Leading experts in fusion from the public and private sector will discuss the new developments that have been featured over the last several months in major media outlets like Time Magazine, the New York Times, Science, and Nature. ASP is the leading think tank detailing a plan for the future of fusion.



ASP Recently Published
Perspective – Alleviating the Resource Curse
American Security Project
The goal is to increase transparency and provide the public with greater access to information related to the payments that U.S.-listed companies make to foreign governments to extract oil, gas, and mineral resources. The rulemaking has been delayed by lawsuits and SEC inaction. But now the SEC has an opportunity to put in place a policy for disclosure that is accessible and effective.

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