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American Security Project
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security, energy, climate, nuclear, diplomacy, communications, weapons, defense, power
security, energy, climate, nuclear, diplomacy, communications, weapons, defense, power

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…we saw King Abdullah of Jordan order his military to bombard Daesh strongholds in the Levant.  This is especially important as the King rules Jordan with the consent of the tribes.  He was able to rally these proud tribal people to counter the existential threat that Daesh poses to their nation.

…over the last couple of days we have seen President El Sisi of Egypt launch air attacks on Daesh and related groups in neighboring Libya.  For many months now, the Egyptian government has raised concerns over the collapse of the Libyan state and the growth of terrorist groups throughout that country.

President Sisi has now asked the United States and the UN to support Egypt’s actions and the Libyan Government in Tobruk. At the same time, Italy, the former colonial-power of Libya located only a couple of hundred miles away, has asked for NATO support to stabilize Libya.

Now is the time to fully support this Arab leadership.

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Following today’s hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) on the “EPA’s Proposed Carbon Dioxide Emissions Rules from New, Modified, and Existing Power Plants” proposals to curb carbon pollution, former EPA Administrator in the George W. Bush Administration Christine Todd Whitman issued the following statement:

“For the sake of our national security, public health and environment, the stakes are too high for Washington’s partisanship to stand in the way of tackling climate change. This is why I was troubled that some members of the Senate Committee used today’s hearing to push a blatantly political agenda by attacking the EPA’s climate action plan. As I wrote in the New York Times with my Republican colleagues William Ruckelshaus, Lee Thomas, and William Reilly, “When confronted by a problem, deal with it.”

“The EPA’s Clean Power Plan, while in need of some revisions, goes a long way to provide states with the flexibility they need without jeopardizing the reliable energy we count on – including zero carbon energy sources like nuclear power. We need a serious effort towards curbing harmful pollutants as well as addressing the security threat posed by climate change. The overwhelming majority of Americans – from both parties – support the need for action, and it is time for Members in Congress to put aside the partisanship and forge a plan that achieves that goal.”

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Though the worst of the Ebola epidemic may indeed be behind West Africa, its aftermath, especially its heavy toll on the stability and economic viability of significant parts of those countries hardest hit by the virus, is likely just beginning. The impact of the virus across Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea has thrown entire civil and political ecosystems out of balance, ecosystems only recently recovering from long periods of instability and violence. What’s next for these nations will rely heavily on their capacity to preempt any future political and civil unrest once the world’s attention, and resources, turns elsewhere. With reports that the ongoing epidemic could lead to a widespread hunger crisis or another, equally catastrophic future, the time for the world’s leaders is now to be asking: what happens after Ebola?

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Last week the President signed the reauthorization of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) of 2002, it begs the question whether a siloed risk transfer approach is the most effective strategy for national risks borne by taxpayers.  TRIA was first designed to shore up the insurance industry, which suffered large property, casualty and life losses due to the terrorist attack on 9/11.  Additional losses were borne by the airline industry and many other sectors, which never anticipated such a large scale event.  Thus, without the Federal backstop, which is ultimately borne by taxpayers, risk appetite for these exposures would have dwindled, especially in light of the massive litigation that followed 9/11 and continues to this day.

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Introductory remarks were provided by ASP President Nelson Cunningham who underlined the theme of the event by asserting that American security is no longer dependent on military might alone, but through advantageous trade policy and economic development . This concept is a founding principle of the American Security Project as it seeks a bipartisan, broad based and innovative approach to ensuring American security. Assistant Secretary Rivkin also initiated his remarks by advocating his belief in the mission of the American Security Project and its efforts to couple national security with economic security.

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Fusion energy research holds the promise of clean, safe, and secure energy. It is not an exaggeration to say that developing fusion energy would revolutionize America’s energy security, climate policy, and global scientific leadership. However, despite decades of path-breaking scientific research, the U.S. is ceding its leadership and has no plans for how to develop a fusion power plant. In order to deliver on the promise of fusion energy, the U.S. must reorganize its fusion program and give it an explicit mission of producing energy.

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Libya: On the Brink

Since the removal of longtime leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, Libya has struggled to rebuild itself. Currently, warring factions are vying for control over the country following the dissolution of the country’s government.

This report analyzes the recent events that have placed Libya on its current path. In order to understand events on the ground, this report includes a breakdown of key Libyan parties and figures as well as an examination of the economic and energy dimensions of the conflict. The report then concludes with a look forward for Libya and recommendations for the U.S. and international community.

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CENTCOM hack – a big deal? Yes, but not in the way you think.

Today CENTCOM’s twitter and YouTube accounts were hacked by an ISIL affiliated group.  

CENTCOM (U.S. Central Command)  has operational command for the U.S. military over the Middle East (from Egypt to Afghanistan)  – so it overlooks the fight against ISIL and the conflict in Afghanistan, as well as working closely with countries all over the region.

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What if it happens here? It’s not “if” – it’s “when”

The terrible news from Paris this morning, were three well organized and trained terrorists attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine, and killed 12 people – including the editor, cartoonist and policemen – then fleeing into the streets of Paris, has raised the specter of targeted and localized terrorist attacks.

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On Thursday, December 4, 2014, ASP convened an expert-level roundtable to discuss recommendations for how to build a viable US fusion program.

Held under rules of “not-for-attribution” in order to encourage free and open debate, the roundtable discussed the current state of the US fusion research program, including both its historic strengths and the current problems. Participants agreed that a long-term, stable budget is needed, and that policymakers should exhibit a greater sense of urgency in the challenges that the US faces in the coming years over energy security, climate change, and global scientific leadership. A program to develop fusion as an energy program could address these challenges all together.

However, two of the biggest problems facing the US fusion program are not about budgets or funding: they are about the program’s mission and leadership. First, with the bulk of US fusion research housed in either the Department of Energy’s Office of Science or in the National Nuclear Security Administration, there is not a clear mission to develop fusion as an energy source; instead it is treated as a science experiment. Second, there is no clear individual who has the political authority as the leader of a fusion energy program.

In order to really develop a successful fusion energy program, the United States needs strong leadership and an energy driven mission. In the report, ASP recommends creating the position of “Deputy Under Secretary for Fusion Energy” within the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Energy. This person would be politically responsible for fusion in both the Office of Science and in the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and would report directly to the Under Secretary for Science and Energy.

You can read the “US Fusion Program Recommendations” in full below or through the link.

Special thanks to former ASP Intern Caroline von Wurden for her work in bringing this roundtable together and in writing the report. A video of her presentation from the event is embedded below the report.
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