Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads

Andrew Holland and Ricky Gandhi Featured in The Hill
Ricky Gandhi
ASP’s Andrew Holland and Ricky Gandhi recently published an op-ed editorial in The Hill in support of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. In it, they discuss the various provisions of the bill, as well as their implications on the nuclear energy sector.

San Bernardino attack: Obama vows to overcome terror threat


US President Barack Obama has made a rare Oval Office address after the San Bernardino shootings that left 14 dead.

Officials from around the world reach climate change draft agreement

Greg Botelho / CNN

Negotiators from 195 countries agreed Saturday on a blueprint deal aimed at reducing global carbon emissions and limiting global warming, a significant but far from conclusive step in the multinational effort to keep climate change in check.

Venezuela election: Maduro’s Socialists trounced


The opposition in Venezuela has won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, overturning nearly two decades of dominance by the Socialists of President Nicolas Maduro.


American Competitiveness

Electrolux Drops After GE Pulls $3.3 Billion Appliance Deal

Andrew Marc Noel / Bloomberg Business

Electrolux AB fell the most in more than four years after General Electric Co. abandoned plans to sell its appliance business to the Swedish manufacturer for about $3.3 billion because of opposition from U.S. antitrust regulators. “The worst possible outcome became a reality,” DNB Bank ASA analysts including Christer Magnergard wrote in a note published Monday. “Electrolux can no longer pursue what would have been the largest transaction in its history — a significant loss for the company.”

Goldman: All Those Strange Things Happening in Markets Could Help Keep Interest Rates Low

Tracy Alloway / Bloomberg Business

With ingredients so closely tied to funding costs in all-important markets such as the vast and shadowy repo market, it should be no surprise that all those weird occurrences in fixed-income and credit markets have been feeding through to the GSFCI, helping to tighten financial conditions ahead of the Federal Reserve’s all-important policy meeting this month.

Oil price to remain low in 2016, says Total boss

Richard Anderson / BBC

The oil price is unlikely to recover next year, according to the boss of the French energy giant, Total. The price of Brent crude is currently under $43 a barrel, down more than 60% since last summer, while US light crude is trading below $40 a barrel.


National Security Strategy

Homeland Security secretary unveils new terror alert system

Evan Perez, Wesley Bruer / CNN

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Monday his department will unveil a new national alert system in the coming days to reflect the “new phase” of the terror threat.

Largest destroyer built for Navy to sea for testing

David Sharp / The Associated Press

The largest destroyer ever built for the U.S. Navy headed out to sea for the first time Monday, departing from shipbuilder Bath Iron Works and carefully navigating the winding Kennebec River before reaching the open ocean where the ship will undergo sea trials.


Asymmetric Operations

UK jets strike ISIS oilfield as Typhoons fly their first missions

Vasco Cotovio, Yousuf Basil, Don Melvin / CNN

British fighter planes have carried out their first sorties against the ISIS terrorist group in Syria. But in Iraq, the government has a message for Turkish forces who say they are fighting ISIS, as well: Please get out.

NATO says won’t send ground troops to fight IS: report

Michael Shields, Robert Birsel / Reuters

NATO has ruled out sending ground troops to fight against Islamic State militants in Syria, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg told a Swiss newspaper, stressing the need to bolster local forces in the conflict.

Suicide bombers target Chad market

Aminu Abubakar / CNN

Three suicide bombers carried out coordinated attacks Saturday at a village market in Chad, killing 27 people and wounding about 80 others, security sources said.

The Isis papers: leaked documents show how Isis is building its state

Shiv Malik / The Guardian

A leaked internal Islamic State manual shows how the terrorist group has set about building a state in Iraq and Syria complete with government departments, a treasury and an economic programme for self-sufficiency, the Guardian can reveal.

Advisor to Iran’s top leader calls fate of Syria’s Assad a ‘red line’

Sam Wilkin, Simon Cameron-Moore / Reuters

A top advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader on Sunday said the future of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad could only be determined by the Syrian people and this was a “red line” for Tehran. Assad’s fate is a sticking point in talks between world powers aimed at finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria. Iran and Russia want him to stay in power until elections are held, while Western and Arab powers say he must go.

African jihadist group al-Murabitun joins ranks with al Qaeda

Greg Botelho / CNN

North African jihadist group al-Murabitun has declared its allegiance to al Qaeda, swelling the ranks of that terror group in its rivalry with ISIS for African adherents.


Climate Security

Without Government, the Marketplace Will Not Solve Climate Change

Naomi Oreskes / Scientific American

Will Nations ever come together to keep climate out of the severe danger zone? The question looms like a cloud over United Nations negotiations in Paris this month—the 21st such attempt to forge an international agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions. A big reason for failing to find common ground is American intransigence on the role of government. If nations are to succeed, the U.S. will have to give up on the idea that free markets alone can adequately address climate change and embrace a government-led plan of action.

Climate Change Brews Perfect Storm of Food Woes

Niina Heikkinen / Scientific American

Climate change is on track to cause a lot of problems for the world’s farmers, and the worst hit will be those who are the least able to recover.

Though rising global temperatures are expected to negatively affect agricultural production and food security in regions all over the world, poor farmers and those living in the tropics will be most affected. But if countries take steps to adapt to environmental changes, much of the food security risk could be offset, according to a new joint report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.

Global fossil-fuel emissions could decline in 2015, study finds

Annual global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels could drop slightly in 2015, according to a report from the Global Carbon Project led by a Stanford University researcher. This surprising result contrasts with the rapid growth in emissions before 2014, underlining the need for action to stabilize and permanently lower global CO2 emissions, the researchers conclude.


Public Diplomacy

High-level India-Pakistan talks held in Bangkok


India and Pakistan have held high-level talks, four months after an earlier postponement. Sunday’s meeting in the Thai capital, Bangkok, was described as “candid, cordial and constructive”.


Energy Security

India looks to balance emissions reductions with bringing electricity to the poor

James Bennett / ABC News

Around 300 million Indians still have no electricity whatsoever and hundreds of millions more make do with power for a several hours (if they’re lucky) each day. India wants to change that. The government has promised every one of its citizens uninterrupted electricity within just seven years.


Nuclear Security

Poland considering asking for access to nuclear weapons under NATO program

Associated Press

Poland’s deputy defence minister has said the ministry is considering asking for access to nuclear weapons through a Nato program in which non-nuclear states borrow the arms from the US.

Russia expects Iran nuclear deal to be implemented in January

Shadia Nasralla / Reuters

Russia’s envoy to the U.N. nuclear agency said on Monday he expected a historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers to be implemented in January, leading to sanctions being lifted on Tehran.

North Korea test site activity could be bluff, nuclear ban monitor says

James Pearson / Reuters

A report by 38 North, a North Korea project at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, said satellite images showed construction of a test tunnel at Punggye-ri, on North Korea’s east coast where it conducted its three previous nuclear tests. “I’m tempted to believe that the fourth tunnel is just a bluff to put pressure on the international community to resume discussion with them,” Lassina Zerbo, head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), told Reuters.


On Our Flashpoint Blog

Andrew Holland and Ricky Gandhi Featured in The Hill

Ricky Gandhi

ASP’s Andrew Holland and Ricky Gandhi recently published an op-ed editorial in The Hill in support of the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act. In it, they discuss the various provisions of the bill, as well as their implications on the nuclear energy sector.


Nuclear Pakistan

Sam Hickey

Pakistan’s nuclear calculus has been the subject of much scrutiny because its government is unstable, its population is volatile, and its nuclear weapons program is the fastest expanding on Earth. Pakistani officials have maintained that their nuclear program’s only utility is countering the nuclear and conventional military threat posed by India, but Pakistan’s nuclear program is not lagging dangerously behind India. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) estimates that Pakistan has a stockpile of 110 to 130 nuclear warheads while India sports a stockpile of 110 to 120 nuclear warheads; Pakistan may have already surpassed India in its nuclear warhead buildup.


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

Business Council for American Security President and CEO of Risk Cooperative Dante Disparte together with James Sisco wrote the following article which was also published online at Risk Management Magazine.


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 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.


Low Turnout at Polls Challenges Legitimacy of Egyptian Government

Anil Powers

A little over a month ago, for the first time in four years, Egypt held parliamentary elections.  Since a popular revolution toppled President Mubarak in 2011, political participation in Egypt had risen immensely.  Yet on October 18, 2015, few turned out to vote, leaving the lines at polls short or nonexistent.  In spite of the government’s insistence that these elections were part of Egypt’s democratic transition, the low turnout indicates an erosion of political participation that has challenged the legitimacy of the nascent government.


Upcoming Events


Department of Defense Action on Climate Change – Insights from the Pentagon and a Two Year National Tour

December 11 @ 12:00pm – 1:30pm

One year ago, the Department of Defense released its landmark Climate Adaptation Roadmap, which outlined the steps that all areas of the DoD must take to prepare for a changing climate. On Friday, December 11, ASP will host Maureen Sullivan, Director of Environmental Management in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Installations & Environment), responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Department’s climate change adaptation efforts. She will give an update on DoD efforts around Climate Change.

ASP Recently Published

Perspective – Alleviating the Resource Curse

American Security Project

Very soon, the Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to announce new proposed regulations under Section 1504 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act. 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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