Five things you need to know about U.S. national security
Credit (l to r): Getty Images, Getty Images, SITE, Getty Images, CNN
July 29th, 2012
06:00 AM ET

Five things you need to know about U.S. national security

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.

According to Olsen, there is an intense focus on Syria’s chemical weapons. FULL POST

More countries reduce Iran oil purchases ahead of US sanctions
June 11th, 2012
06:54 PM ET

More countries reduce Iran oil purchases ahead of US sanctions

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.


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Filed under: Clinton • economy • Energy • Europe • IAEA • IAEA • Iran • Nuclear • State Department
OPINION: America's Achilles' heel
March 8th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

OPINION: America's Achilles' heel

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

For Navy, Obama's energy plan is about strategy more than money
USS Makin Island at sea. Its hybrid drive has already saved the navy more than $2 million. (US Navy Photo)
January 25th, 2012
05:02 PM ET

For Navy, Obama's energy plan is about strategy more than money

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.

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Filed under: Energy • Navy • Obama
'Energy Independence' – Can the U.S. kiss the Middle East goodbye?
The Tawke oil field and plant that is linked with the Jihan Turkish pipeline in Zakho, Iraq
November 16th, 2011
05:28 PM ET

'Energy Independence' – Can the U.S. kiss the Middle East goodbye?

By Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty

"Energy independence."

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.