Center for Strategic Communication

Key Reads


Bowe Bergdahl to Face Court-Martial on Desertion Charges
Richard A. Oppel Jr. / The New York Times
A top Army commander on Monday ordered that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl face a court-martial on charges of desertion and endangering troops stemming from his decision to leave his outpost in 2009, a move that prompted a huge manhunt in the wilds of eastern Afghanistan and landed him in nearly five years of harsh Taliban captivity.


Muslim Nations Form Coalition to Fight Terror, Call Islamic Extremism ‘Disease’
Ed Payne / CNN
Calling Islamic extremism a disease, Saudi Arabia has announced the formation of a coalition of 34 predominately Muslim nations to fight terrorism.



American Competitiveness


Japan’s $1.1 Trillion Pension Fund Boosts Infrastructure Section
Chris Cooper / Bloomberg
Japan’s 135 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) Government Pension Investment Fund is building up its alternative investment department after raising bets on infrastructure projects more than 10-fold to secure higher returns than low-yielding bonds.


Global Stocks Rise Ahead of Federal Reserve Decision
Riva Gold, Saumya Vaishampayan / The Wall Street Journal
Stocks rose in Europe and the U.S. Tuesday, rebounding from recent losses just one day before the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates for the first time since 2006.



National Security Strategy


Syria Conflict: Kerry Seeks to Narrow Divisions with Russia
US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Moscow for talks on ways to bridge gaps over possible Syria peace talks. Ahead of his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Mr Kerry said he hoped to find common ground.



Asymmetric Operations


Germany Arrests Islamic Extremist Suspected of Aiding Terrorist Groups
Melissa Eddy / The New York Times
The German authorities on Tuesday detained one of the country’s most active Islamic extremists, who once tried to open a school supported by a network called “Invitation to Paradise,” on four counts of supporting a terrorist organization, federal prosecutors said.


Yemen Peace Talks Under Way as Ceasefire Begins
Yemen’s warring parties have begun UN-backed peace talks in Switzerland, as a seven-day ceasefire came into effect. The UN says the talks between the government, the Houthi rebel movement and its allies aimed to find a “durable settlement” to the months-long crisis.


Plumber Sues Ford Dealer after Truck with Company Logo was Used by Extremists in Syria
Yanan Wang / The Washington Post
The photo indicated that the truck no longer carried porcelain and iron parts; emerging from its cargo bed were a black-cloaked figure and an antiaircraft gun. According to the tweet, the truck was being used by Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (the “Muhajireen Brigade”), an extremist group fighting the Syrian government.



Climate Security


The One Word that Almost Sank the Climate Talks
Andrew Restuccia / Politico
After years of preparation and two weeks of tireless negotiations, after all the speeches and backroom compromising, one misplaced word brought the momentum toward a historic global deal on climate change to a halt Saturday — for at least a few hours.


Climate Change Deal: Five Reasons to be Glad, Five to be Gloomy
John Vidal / The Guardian
There is now a glimmer of hope for developing countries that climate change will be addressed and that a fossil-free world is achievable. Short- and long-term targets to decarbonize are now enshrined in law, countries have made individual commitments, there is more awareness of the problem, and governments have all agreed to act.



Energy Security


Paris COP21 and the Urgent Need for More Nuclear Energy
James Conca / Forbes
The COP21 climate meeting in Paris has ended with mixed feelings. It certainly was historic in that the world agreed that climate change is a huge issue that needs to be addressed. 196 countries signed an agreement to do something about it – particularly to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2°C (3.6°F) by century’s end. That alone marks a change in the global mindset about this global issue.


Natural Gas Sinks to 14-Year Low
Timothy Puko / The Wall Street Journal
Natural-gas prices plunged to a 14-year low, as the warmest start to winter on record in the U.S. saps demand for the heating fuel and deals another blow to struggling energy companies.



Nuclear Security


IAEA to Close Iranian Nuclear Weapons Probe
VOA News
The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog is expected Tuesday to officially close its more than decade-old investigation into allegations that Iran once worked to develop nuclear weapons.



On Our Flashpoint Blog


Event Recap: Department of Defense Action on Climate Change
Ricky Gandhi
On Friday, December 11, the American Security Project hosted the Department of Defense Action on Climate Change event. It featured a distinguished panel discussing the Department of Defense Climate Adaptation Roadmap and the results of ASP’s National Climate Security Tour.


ASP’s Consensus Member David Titley (Ret.) Featured in Washington Examiner
Ricky Gandhi
ASP’s Consensus Member, Dr. David W. Titley, Rear Admiral USN (Ret.), recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner discussing the implications climate change has on national security. This concern has resonated among defense officials for quite some time now, he notes, starting with the Bush Administration in 2003.


US LNG Exports are Good for America and the World
Spencer Shweky
This week the U.S. House of Representatives takes up ‘The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act.’ If passed, its supporters claim it would re-stock the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, modernize America’s energy infrastructure, and streamline the approval process for LNG export projects. Lawmakers may also vote on a repeal of the 40 year old ban on crude oil exports.


Paris Update: Climate Adaptation Builds Global Security
Andrew Holland
As the Paris COP climate negotiations continue, Secretary of State Kerry has announced an increased American pledge for adaptation aid to $800 million per year by 2020. As ASP’s CEO wrote in “Strengthening national security through climate resiliency,” funding for adaptation aid is cost-effective because it will address the risks presented by climate change before American troops have to be deployed.



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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