What We Are Reading

What We Are Reading

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Malaysian Flight MH17 Downed by Russian-Made Missile: Prosecutors

Toby Sterling and Anthony Deutsch / Reuters

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a missile fired from a launcher brought into Ukraine from Russia and located in a village held by pro-Russian rebels, international prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Two Aleppo Hospitals Bombed Out of Service in ‘Catastrophic’ Airstrikes

Kareem Shaheen / The Guardian

The two largest hospitals in besieged eastern Aleppo have been put out of service in airstrikes overnight and on Wednesday morning, the latest in a devastating week-long bombing campaign that has claimed hundreds of lives.

U.S. sending 615 new forces to Iraq

Aaron Mehta, Andrew Tilghman, Valerie Insinna / Military Times

The Pentagon is sending 615 additional US troops to Iraq to help bolster local forces as they prepare to invade the Islamic State group’s stronghold in Mosul.


American Competitiveness


Wells Fargo Claws Back Millions From CEO After Scandal

Emily Glazer / The Wall Street Journal

Wells Fargo & Co. Chairman and Chief Executive John Stumpf will forfeit $41 million for the bank’s burgeoning sales scandal, marking one of the biggest rebukes to the head of a major U.S. financial institution.

Yellen Calls for Regulatory Relief for Small Banks

Ryan Tracy / The Wall Street Journal

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said Wednesday regulators need to do more to alleviate the regulatory burden on small lenders, a signal the central bank may soon propose easing rules for community banks.


Asymmetric Operations


After an Apparently Errant Strike in Syria, Confusion and Competing Claims

Missy Ryan and Heba Habib / The Washington Post

The attack aircraft — American A-10s, Australian F-18 Hornets and Danish F-16s — converged over eastern Syria in the late afternoon. Their target: several clusters of Islamic State militants, dug in among rocky hills overlooking a strategic airfield.

U.S. Air Strike Reportedly Kills 13 Afghan Civilians

Al Jazeera

At least 13 civilians have been killed in a US air strike targeting ISIL that hit a residential house in eastern Nangarhar province, an Afghan official says. Esmatullah Shinwari, a Nangarhar politician, said on Wednesday that a crowd had gathered at the house in Achin district to welcome home a tribal leader returning from the Hajj.

Five Arrested on Suspicion of Forming European Islamic State Cell

Paul Day / Reuters

Spanish, German and Belgian authorities have arrested five people suspected of forming an “active and dangerous” Islamic State cell and promoting Islamist militancy in the three countries, Spain’s interior ministry said on Wednesday.


Energy Security


U.S. Stocks Turn Lower as Biotech Shares Slide

Riva Gold / The Wall Street Journal

Stocks bounced around the flat-line Wednesday, as declines in biotechnology stocks offset gains in the energy sector. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 24 points, or 0.1%, to 18204. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2%.

Russia Smashes Post-Soviet Oil Supply Record as OPEC Weighs Curb

Stephen Bierman, Julian Lee and Dina Khrennikova / Bloomberg

Russia, the world’s largest energy exporter, is on course to pump a post-Soviet record amount of oil in September, adding as much as 400,000 barrels a day to the country’s production. The output surge comes as OPEC nations meet in Algeria, with discussions to curb a global surplus at the top of their agenda.

Saudi Stocks Tumble as Fading Oil Deal Adds to Budget Pessimism

Filipe Pacheco / Bloomberg

Saudi Arabian stocks lost the most in the world for a second straight day amid waning hopes for an oil-production deal that may buoy up the nation’s finances. Contracts used to bet whether the kingdom will allow a weakening of its currency rose.


Climate Security


Our Kids Learn Their ABCs in School. But Why Not Climate Change?

Mike Honda and Edward J Markey / The Guardian

In much the same way we teach our children the ABCs as a foundation for a lifetime of learning, we must encourage a national discussion, especially with our youth, about how we can reduce our carbon footprint and serve as stewards of our environment.

Grass Food Crops Facing Climate Change Challenge

Mark Kinver / BBC

A study has highlighted the risk posed by projected climate change on the world’s ability to grow enough food. A US team of researchers found that forecasted shifts in climate by 2070 would occur too quickly for species of grass to adapt to the new conditions.

Appeals Court Hears Challenge to Obama’s Climate Change Rules

Coral Davenport / The New York Times

The nation’s second-most powerful court grappled Tuesday with the intractable and potentially catastrophic problem of climate change, weighing whether constitutional questions surrounding President Obama’s climate change regulations should trump the moral obligations of upholding a plan to curb global warming.


National Security and Strategy


Head of Justice Department’s National Security Division to Step Down

Ellen Nakashima / The Washington Post

John P. Carlin, the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, is stepping down next month. His departure, announced Tuesday, comes as the division marks the 10th anniversary of its creation in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to integrate the efforts of lawyers working intelligence investigations and prosecutors pursuing terrorism cases.

U.S. Surpasses Syrian Refugee Goal Set by Obama, Expects More Next Year

Carol Morello / The Washington Post

The United States has admitted 12,500 refugees from war-ravaged Syria over the past year, surpassing President Obama’s target, and expects to admit even more next year, a State Department official said Tuesday.


Nuclear Security


Iran Warns Enduring Sanctions Threatening Nuclear Deal

Al Jazeera

The head of Iran’s atomic energy agency has warned that his country’s landmark nuclear deal with five world powers could be jeopardized by foot-dragging on a pledge of sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran’s commitment to curb atomic activities.


National Security and Space


Billionaire Elon Musk outlines plans for humans to colonize Mars

Irene Klotz / Reuters

SpaceX is developing a massive rocket and capsule to transport large numbers of people and cargo to Mars with the ultimate goal of colonizing the planet, company chief and tech billionaire Elon Musk said on Tuesday.


Cuba Engagement


Obama to Nominate Top Diplomat in Havana as Ambassador

Carol Morello / The Washington Post

President Obama said Tuesday that he will nominate Jeffrey ­DeLaurentis to be the first U.S. ambassador to Cuba in more than half a century. DeLaurentis is the top diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, which opened last year after relations were normalized, ending a freeze of 54 years.


US-Russia Relationship


U.S. Believes Hackers Are Shielded by Russia to Hide Its Role in Cyber Intrusions

Damian Paletta / The Wall Street Journal  

Officials are increasingly confident that the Russian government is intensifying a campaign to steal U.S. computer records and leak damaging information to the American public.


On Our Flashpoint Blog


“What’s Next?” with Nathan Gilliland

Maggie Feldman-Piltch

On this week’s episode of “What’s Next?” Maggie Feldman-Piltch is joined by Nathan Gilliland, CEO of General Fusion. The episode focuses the role nuclear energy can and should play in global energy security.

Strategy for the U.S-Russia Relationship

American Security Project

As tensions between the United States and Russia build, the stakes continue to rise and opportunities for positive cooperation become increasingly precious. The collapse of the ceasefire in Syria and the events preceding it underscore it is time for a new American strategy towards Russia.

ASP Board Member Christine Todd Whitman Featured in TIME on Clean Power Plan

Anour Esa

ASP Board Member and former EPA-Administrator Christine Todd Whitman has just published an op-ed on the EPA Clean Power Plan in TIME. In the article, Whitman discusses the passing of The Clean Air Act under former President George W. Bush, and the significance of bipartisan cooperation in passing the act.

White House Takes Steps to Address the National Security Impacts of Climate Change

Andrew Holland

This week, President Obama signed a new Presidential Memorandum directing that the impacts of climate change must be considered in the development of all national security-related doctrine, policies, or plans.

Putin’s Decisive Victory in the 2016 Duma Elections

Nick Bohmann

On Sunday, Russians headed to the polls to vote on their Duma (Parliament representation. The ruling United Russia party, backed by President Vladimir Putin won a crushing victory, gaining 54% of the vote, up from 49% in the previous Duma elections of 2011.

“What’s Next?” with Andrew Holland

Maggie Feldman-Piltch

On this week’s episode of “What’s Next?” Maggie Feldman-Piltch interviews ASP Director of Studies Andrew Holland about the climate-security nexus.

DNI Releases Report on Implications of Climate Change on National Security

Anour Esa

The National Intelligence Council, part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has just released a new White Paper titled “Implications for U.S. national security of Anticipated Climate Change.” The report analyzes the potential effects of climate change on national security in the coming 20 years.


Upcoming Events


ASP and Lloyd’s – Cities in the Crosshairs: The Case for Investing in Resilience

October 13 @ 12:00pm-4:30pm

Join ASP and Lloyd’s on Oct. 13 for a dynamic conversation featuring private and public sector leaders on our complex and interconnected risk landscape. Due to limited space guests will need to request an RSVP by emailing:


ASP Recently Published


Resilience in the Face of Rising Seas

Lieselotte Siegenthaler

In order to effectively combat rise, regional adaptation methods must be established and more funding made available.


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