Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


San Bernardino Shooting Investigation: Past Plot and Recent Loan are Latest Clues
Greg Botelho, Catherine E. Shoichet, Pamela Brown / CNN
Investigators believe shooter Syed Rizwan Farook may have been plotting an earlier attack in California with someone else, two U.S. officials told CNN on Tuesday. One of the officials said the two conspired in 2012 and a specific target was considered.


Russia Hits Targets in Syria from Mediterranean Submarine
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Kalibr cruise missiles from the Rostov-on-Don submarine were fired at so-called Islamic State (IS) militants, at two “terrorist positions” in Raqqa.


Reports: Third Paris Concert Hall Bomber Identified
Jane Onyanga-Omara / USA Today
An unnamed French official said the man, who blew himself up at the Bataclan concert venue, was a French national who went to Syria in 2013, the Associated Press reported. Le Parisien newspaper named him as Foued Mohamed-Aggad, 23, from Strasbourg in northeastern France.



American Competitiveness


Yahoo to Keep Alibaba Stake but Spin off Core Businesses
Vindu Goel / The New York Times
Yahoo said on Wednesday that it had dropped a plan to spin off its $31 billion stake in Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company. Instead, the company will spin off all of its other assets, including its stake in Yahoo Japan, into a new company.


Dow Chemical and DuPont Are Said to Be in Merger Talks
Leslie Picker, Michael J. de la Merced / The New York Times
Dow Chemical and DuPont, two of the biggest and oldest companies in the American chemical industry, are in talks to merge in what would be one of the largest transactions in a year full of huge deals, people briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.



National Security Strategy


Singapore-US Agreement to Boost Defense Cooperation
Wendell Minnick / DefenseNews
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Singapore Minister for Defense Ng Eng Hen signed a joint enhanced defense cooperation agreement (DCA) Monday at the Pentagon that will provide a framework for an expanded defense relationship.



Asymmetric Operations


Tensions Rise as al-Shabaab Foreign Fighters Consider Supporting ISIS
The Guardian
The defections of two fighters – an American and a US resident – from Somalia’s Islamic extremist rebels highlight tensions within al-Shabaab over whether it should remain affiliated to al-Qaida or switch allegiance to the Islamic State group, according to an al-Shabaab commander.


Afghan Airport Remains Shut after Taliban Launches Brazen Attack
Sayed Salahuddin / The Washington Post
The civilian airport in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar remained closed Wednesday a day after Taliban insurgents staged an audacious attack there, resulting in the deaths of at least three dozen of people, officials said.


Amnesty Report: ISIS Armed with U.S. Weapons
Zachary Cohen / CNN
A new report from a prominent human rights group has found that ISIS has built a substantial arsenal, including U.S.-made weapons obtained from the Iraqi army and Syrian opposition groups.



Climate Security


U.S. Proposes Raising Spending on Climate-Change Adaptation
Coral Davenport / The New York Times
In an effort to help smooth the passage of a sweeping new climate accord here this week, Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Wednesday a proposal to double its grant-based public finance for climate-change adaptation by 2020 to $860 million, from $430 million.


Scientists Just Discovered a Surprising New Factor that Could Make Global Warming Worse
Chelsea Harvey / The Washington Post
In a surprising new study, scientists say they’ve pinned down the climate factor most strongly tied to variations in terrestrial carbon storage — that is, the ability of plants and other features of the Earth’s surface to take up carbon, thus preventing it from going into the atmosphere.


Bill Gates Takes on Climate Change with Nudges and a Powerful Rolodex
Coral Davenport, Nick Wingfield / The New York Times
For years, Mr. Gates had prodded governments to increase spending on research and development of clean technologies. He had sunk $1 billion of his own fortune into start-ups working on new kinds of batteries and nuclear reactors.


Some Climate Change Impacts May Appear Sooner than Expected
John Toon /
Some impacts of global climate change will appear much sooner than others – with only moderate increases in global temperature. While rising sea levels may one day threaten the commuter tunnels and subway lines of New York City, it will have effects much sooner in other parts of the world.



Energy Security


Nuclear Energy Struggles to Find its Voice at COP21 Conference
Joseph Bamat / France24
“It’s difficult to understand how France will make drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions without taking nuclear into consideration,” he told FRANCE 24, reminding that France massively developed its atomic energy infrastructure in the 1970s to reduce dependence on fossil-fuel imports. “It’s incredible that we are not even asking ourselves the question,” he added.


Oil Output Declines Significant in 2016: Petrie
Tom DiChristopher / CNBC
One of the biggest factors in oil markets next year will be the impact of capital spending cuts on crude production, the chairman of energy-focused investment banking firm Petrie Partners said Wednesday.



Nuclear Security


Iran, U.S. Seek Deal to Send Enriched Uranium to Kazakhstan
Laurence Norman, Jay Solomon / The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. is helping Iran with an arrangement to send part of its nuclear fuel stockpile to the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, a step that would ease swift sanctions relief for Tehran, according to people involved in the discussions.



On Our Flashpoint Blog


Global Military Leaders Call for Action on Climate along with COP 21
Ngoc H. Le
On Monday, 7 December 2015, in Paris, a group of military leaders from around the world launched the “GMACCC Call for Action 2015” at COP 21. The Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) members emphasized the need to adapt to climate stress, with the military as a key contributor to climate preparedness.


BCAS Member Fortinet: Fast and Secure Tour 2015
Anil Powers
Join Business Council for American Security member Fortinet at their Reston, VA offices December 7 – 11 for their 2015 “Fast and Secure Tour 2015,” lead by the 18-wheeled FortiExpress.


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
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.



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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