By Dan Merica
This weekend marks the conclusion of this year’s Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, an event that brought together some of the key players in the world of defense and national security policy.
Here the five moments that the Security Clearance Blog’s team will be talking about on the flight back to Washington:
1. The United States is keeping close tabs on Syria’s weapons, al Qaeda’s influence
As war rages on in Syria, the United States intelligence community is closely monitoring the situation, National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen told CNN’s Intelligence Correspondent Suzanne Kelly.
By Pam Benson
An additional six countries and Taiwan have significantly reduced their imports of Iranian crude oil and will not face tough sanctions from the United States, according to a statement released Monday by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
India, Malaysia, South Korea, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan now join 11 other countries that have met requirements set by U.S. law to reduce oil purchases from Iran to avoid a cutoff in access to the U.S. financial system.
Japan and 10 countries from the European Union secured waivers from U.S. sanctions in March.
"By reducing Iran's oil sales, we are sending a decisive message to Iran's leaders: until they take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community, they will continue to face increasing isolation and pressure," Clinton said in a statement.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mike Breen is Vice President of Truman National Security Project and a former US Army Captain. Breen is a national security expert and the founding director for the Iraqi Refugee Assistant Project.
From Mike Breen, Special to CNN
As a young Lieutenant on my first combat tour, I served on an isolated fighting camp south of Baghdad in an area known as the “Triangle of Death.” My unit was entirely dependent on daily fuel convoys to power our generators and fuel our vehicles. Recognizing this, Iraqi insurgents consistently ambushed the convoys while my infantry company fought to protect them. That meant almost daily firefights which we jokingly called “fighting for our supper.” FULL POST
By CNN Pentagon Producer Larry Shaughnessy
A key part of President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech was a promise to support clean energy, with the clear implication that it would save money.
"I'm proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world's largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year," Obama said Tuesday night. "Of course, the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy."
But the Navy's alternative energy program isn't necessarily about saving money, although it should do that, too.
By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty
It's a phrase bandied about by liberals and conservatives alike: Produce enough oil, gas and other energy commodities right here in the United States - or with our friends in Canada and Mexico – and you can kiss producers in the volatile Middle East goodbye.
But is that possible? Or just a pipe dream?
The State Department's special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs, Ambassador Carlos Pascual, told reporters Wednesday: "We always have to remember we're operating in global markets.