National Security

FP’s Situation Report: No apologies: Rice says U.S. not planning to apologize for mistakes; Exclusive: Stuxnet’s evil twin; Reid backs Gillibrand on sex assault; Marco Rubio, swimming upstream?; A little help here, Mr. Secretary?; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

Will negotiators be able to close a deal on a bilateral security agreement very soon? Unclear. Some reports show that a last-minute issue has been resolved after the U.S. agreed to put into writing assurances the Afghans demanded, including a pledge that U.S. troops will enter Afghan homes only in exceptional circumstances to save lives, as the WaPo's Karen DeYoung and Tim Craig report: "The assurances will include a pledge that U.S. troops will enter Afghan homes only in exceptional circumstances to save lives, as well as what has become a standard U.S. expression of regret for Afghan suffering and the loss of innocent lives in the 12-year-old war. The proposed letter is to be read to an assembly of more than 2,500 Afghan elders and officials, scheduled to start Thursday in Kabul, that will consider whether to endorse the long-term security agreement with the United States. Obama's final decision on signing the letter will depend on wording that is still under discussion. The president ‘is not averse to signing,' said a senior administration official, one of several who discussed the talks on the condition of anonymity. ‘One way or the other,' the official said, ‘it's going to be worked out in the next 24 hours.'" More of the WaPo piece here.

Susan Rice said on CNN re: Afghanistan and a letter of apology: there will be no such thing. CNN's Chelsea Carter and Elise Labott: "Reports the United States is on the verge of a security agreement with Afghanistan that includes a formal letter of apology for past mistakes by American troops are completely false, the National Security adviser told CNN on Tuesday. The statements came amid claims by Afghan officials that the Obama administration offered to write the letter as part of an effort to keep a small number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan well past the 2014 deadline to withdraw.No such letter has been drafted or delivered. There is not a need for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan,' National Security Adviser Susan Rice said on CNN..." The rest here.

Here's a potential list of who's attending the Loya Jirga in Afghanistan that is starting tomorrow, according to a list published in Afghan media that is probably a tad inaccurate: 351 members of the Afghan Lower House and the Senate; 155 members of the Provincial Council (representing 34 provinces); 34 provincial governors; 250 religious scholars; 65 women leaders; 533 tribal elders; 80 Nomad representatives; 140 civil society representatives; 40 disabled group representatives; 120 representatives of the Afghan Refugees in Pakistan; 60 representatives of Afghan Refugees in Iran; 30 representatives of the Afghan Refugees from other countries; 64 businessmen and industrialists; 80 political scientists/lawyers and journalists; 10 approved presidential candidates and 488 members of the past Loya Jirga.

Meanwhile, did you know that Stuxnet had a secret twin? No, maybe not. But David Langner tells the exclusive story on FP of the real program to sabotage Iran's nuclear facilities was way more sophisticated than anyone realized.  Langner: "Three years after it was discovered, Stuxnet, the first publicly disclosed cyberweapon, continues to baffle military strategists, computer security experts, political decision-makers, and the general public. A comfortable narrative has formed around the weapon: how it attacked the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz, how it was designed to be undiscoverable, how it escaped from Natanz against its creators' wishes. Major elements of that story are either incorrect or incomplete. That's because Stuxnet is not really one weapon, but two. The vast majority of the attention has been paid to Stuxnet's smaller and simpler attack routine -- the one that changes the speeds of the rotors in a centrifuge, which is used to enrich uranium. But the second and "forgotten" routine is about an order of magnitude more complex and stealthy. It qualifies as a nightmare for those who understand industrial control system security. And strangely, this more sophisticated attack came first. The simpler, more familiar routine followed only years later -- and was discovered in comparatively short order." Read the rest of this FP exclusive, here.

Welcome to Wednesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to sign up for Situation Report, send us a note at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll just stick you on. And if you like what you see, tell a friend. Register free for Situation Report and other FP products here. As always, if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease, because if you see something, you gotta say something -- to Situation Report. One more thing: please follow us @glubold. Yahoo e-mail people: we are working on the problem that is delaying delivery of Situation Report each day. Bear with us - and thank you.

Al-Qaida take credit for bombing in Beirut and Iran blames the Zionists. FP's David Kenner in Beirut: "...Increasingly, Iran and its allies publicly portray Israel and their Sunni rivals as two sides of the same coin -- describing them as sharing the same goals and even acting in concert against Tehran. This trend, which gained momentum with Iran's involvement in the Syrian war, has become a dominant aspect of pro-Iranian groups' rhetoric in recent weeks. In his speech to commemorate the Shiite holy period of Ashura, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said that it was ‘regrettable' that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had emerged as "the spokesman for some Arab countries.'" The rest of his report here.   Has the Pentagon grown relatively silent on Iran during negotiations? FP's Yochi Dreazen: "With American and Iranian negotiators streaming into Geneva for the next round of nuclear talks, there's been no shortage of official rhetoric coming from Washington. The Obama administration argues that the deal wrests real concessions from the Iranians in exchange for only modest sanctions relief. The State Department says an agreement would freeze Iran's nuclear program while buying time to hash out a permanent deal. And the Pentagon -- well, the Pentagon has stayed relatively silent. Which is kind of odd, since the man in charge of the Defense Department is one of Washington's better-known advocates for talks with Tehran.

"Secretary of State John Kerry has been the administration's point person on Iran, as he was during September's Syria crisis. He dominated recent joint appearances on Capitol Hill with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, answering questions more forcefully, and with more specificity, than his colleague. Hagel, like his predecessors, has said that all options are on the table when it comes to Iran. But during a recent round of public appearances, Hagel has largely deferred to Kerry when the subject of Iran has come up. ‘The president has said, Secretary Kerry has said, a bad deal is worse than no deal,' Hagel told the Reagan Defense Forum over the weekend. ‘As we all know, this is Secretary Kerry's area of responsibility,' he said during an October joint appearance with the Secretary of State in Tokyo." More here.

An historic selfie: the first female Marines to complete infantry training, taken by Pfc. Harlee "Rambo" Bradford, here.

The Army's PR push for "average looking women." From Politico's own Kate Brannen, who wrote yesterday that her jaw dropped when she received an internal Army e-mail: "The Army should use photos of "average-looking women" when it needs to illustrate stories about female soldiers, a specialist recommends - images of women who are too pretty undermine the communications strategy about introducing them into combat roles. That's the gist of an internal Army e-mail an Army source shared with POLITICO. ‘In general, ugly women are perceived as competent while pretty women are perceived as having used their looks to get ahead,' wrote Col. Lynette Arnhart, who is leading a team of analysts studying how best to integrate women into combat roles that have previously been closed off to them. She sent her message to give guidance to Army spokesmen and spokeswomen about how they should tell the press and public about the Army's integration of women." Read the rest here.

Gillibrand now has 50 public supporters for her plan to fundamentally change the military's UCMJ. Politico's Darren Samuehlsohn: "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's endorsement of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's military sexual assault proposal gives the New York Democrat a 50th public supporter on her controversial change to Pentagon policy. But she still remains well shy of the 60 votes she needs to secure a win on the Senate floor for her amendment that would remove the chain of command from prosecuting sexual assaults and other major military crimes. With the debate just days, or hours away, two closely watched players - Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the White House - declined to weigh in on the Gillibrand proposal. Reid detailed his decision to reporters on Tuesday following the Senate Democrats' weekly closed-door luncheon, saying he wasn't satisfied with the sexual assault provisions produced in Sen. Carl Levin's Armed Services Committee. The Nevada Democrat had met in recent days with Pentagon officials and also military members who are victims of sexual assault." Read the rest here.

As the list of options for destroying Syria's chemical weapons shrinks, the U.S. is looking out at sea. Reuters' Anthony Deutch and Michelle Nichols: "Syria's chemical weapons could be processed and destroyed out at sea, say sources familiar with discussions at the international body in charge of eliminating the toxic arsenal. Four days after Albania rejected a U.S. request that it host a weapons decommissioning plant, Western diplomats and an official of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at The Hague told Reuters the OPCW was studying whether it might carry out the work at sea, on a ship or offshore rig. Confirming the discussion, the OPCW official stressed there had been no decision: ‘The only thing known at this time is that this is technically feasible,' the official said on Tuesday." Read the rest here.

Attackers from the Shabab militant group assaulted a police station north of Mogadishu, leaving 28 dead; the NYT, here.

Meet the rebel commander that Assad, Russia and the U.S. all fear, by the WSJ's Alan Cullison, here.

At a time when the package of military benefits are under review, Marco Rubio is proposing a bigger pay raise for the troops. Military Times' Rick Maze: "Senate debate on the $625.6 billion defense budget for 2014 could include a discussion about whether there is enough money for a slightly bigger military raise. The basic bill includes the 1 percent raise proposed by the Obama administration and supported by defense and service leaders. But Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has filed an amendment that would bump the raise to 1.8 percent. That is the same amount included in the House version of the defense bill and would match average private-sector wage growth last year, following a long-standing federal pay formula... Administration and military leaders have defended a smaller military raise as a necessity in a time of tight budgets. In its statement of administration policy, the White House praises the Senate for supporting the 1 percent raise. Rubio, however, doesn't buy it. Rubio in a statement: "The men and women of our military make huge sacrifices for our nation and have earned the chance to be compensated accordingly... passing this amendment will have a direct positive impact on our military volunteers and their families." Read Maze's bit here.

A little help here, Mr. Secretary? A Marine officer under fire in the infamous Marine urination saga is asking Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to review the case. Marine Corps Times' Hope Hodge Seck: A Marine officer facing the end of his military career over an inappropriate war-zone video has asked Navy Secretary Ray Mabus to review the decision, saying it was unfairly influenced by a top general's alleged desire to see him punished. Following an administrative hearing in October, a panel of senior Marine officers recommended Capt. James Clement should be separated from the service with an honorable discharge for allegedly failing to supervise a group of scout snipers who in 2011 made a video that showed them urinating on dead insurgents in Afghanistan. Clement's defense counsel, John Dowd, wants Mabus and attorneys from outside the Marine Corps to review the case, which was overshadowed by claims that Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos and others close to him sought to influence its outcome." More here.

Want to know how the FBI keeps tabs on foreign diplomats? Former spook Matthew Aid tells us how, and it has everything to do with spy copters, lasers and "break-in teams." Writing on FP, Aid:  "Between 2006 and 2009, surveillance helicopters conducted daily flights over northwest Washington, D.C., taking high-resolution photographs of the new Chinese Embassy being constructed on Van Ness Street. The aircraft belonged to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which wanted to determine where the embassy's communications center was being located. But the Chinese construction crews hid their work on this part of the building by pulling tarpaulins over the site as it was being constructed. The FBI also monitored the movements and activities of the Chinese construction workers building the embassy, who were staying at a Days Inn on Connecticut Avenue just north of the construction site, in the hopes of possibly recruiting one or two of them. According to one Chinese diplomat, his fellow officials detected individuals who they assumed to be FBI agents covertly monitoring the construction materials and equipment being used to build the embassy, which were stored on the University of the District of Columbia's soccer field across the street from where the Chinese Embassy currently stands. The diplomat added that Chinese security officials assumed that the FBI agents were trying to determine whether it was possible to plant eavesdropping devices inside the construction materials stored at the site."

"...All told, there are almost 600 foreign government embassies, consulates, missions, or representative offices in the United States, all of which are watched to one degree or another by the counterintelligence officers of the FBI. Only eight countries do not maintain any diplomatic presence in the United States whatsoever, the most important of which is nuclear-armed North Korea. Every one of these embassies and consulates is watched by the FBI's legion of counterintelligence officers to one degree or another. But some countries' receive the vast majority of the FBI's attention, such as Russia, China, Libya, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Venezuela. The Cuban and Iranian interests section in Washington -- and their missions to the United Nations in New York -- of course receive special attention as well." Read the rest here.

The Reserve Officers Association publishes the ROA's SmartBrief each day that includes stories "tailored to provide all the information needed to balance Reserve life in and out of uniform" for "essential news which affects them, their families and their military careers." It's free and you can sign up here.

The Air Force is trying to figure out a successor to the A-10 Warthog attack plane. War is Boring's Dave Majumdar: "Short on cash and determined to prioritize new stealth warplanes, the U.S. Air Force is busily trying to rid itself of all 350 of its slow- and low-flying A-10 Warthog attack planes-this despite the heavily-armed twin-engine jet's impressive combat record stretching back to the 1991 Gulf War. But the flying branch still needs to support American troops on the ground-the Warthog's raison d'etre. With that in mind, around 20 highly experienced A-10 pilots and engineers are working on unofficial specifications for a successor to the Warthog. The group started off with using the original A-X program requirements that resulted in the Warthog starting nearly 50 years ago. Even though technology has advanced since the 1960s, the fundamentals of what is required for the close air support mission have not changed." Read the rest here.

 

National Security

FP’s Situation Report: Cooked books and “plugs” at DOD; Upheaval across the ME; Is Kerry going his own way?; Are Graham’s holds loosening?; Mullen: troops didn’t die in vain; A Marine artist dies; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

Plugging: The Pentagon routinely fudges its numbers through the use of "plugs" - false numbers - according to a Reuters investigation of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Reuters' Scot Paltrow: "...At the DFAS offices that handle accounting for the Army, Navy, Air Force and other defense agencies, fudging the accounts with false entries is standard operating procedure, Reuters has found. And plugging isn't confined to DFAS (pronounced DEE-fass). Former military service officials say record-keeping at the operational level throughout the services is rife with made-up numbers to cover lost or missing information. A review of multiple reports from oversight agencies in recent years shows that the Pentagon also has systematically ignored warnings about its accounting practices. ‘These types of adjustments, made without supporting documentation can mask much larger problems in the original accounting data,' the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said in a December 2011 report."

Bottom line: "Plugs also are symptomatic of one very large problem: the Pentagon's chronic failure to keep track of its money - how much it has, how much it pays out and how much is wasted or stolen."

"In its investigation, Reuters has found that the Pentagon is largely incapable of keeping track of its vast stores of weapons, ammunition and other supplies; thus it continues to spend money on new supplies it doesn't need and on storing others long out of date. It has amassed a backlog of more than half a trillion dollars in unaudited contracts with outside vendors; how much of that money paid for actual goods and services delivered isn't known. And it repeatedly falls prey to fraud and theft that can go undiscovered for years, often eventually detected by external law enforcement agencies.

"The consequences aren't only financial; bad bookkeeping can affect the nation's defense. In one example of many, the Army lost track of $5.8 billion of supplies between 2003 and 2011 as it shuffled equipment between reserve and regular units. Affected units ‘may experience equipment shortages that could hinder their ability to train soldiers and respond to emergencies,' the Pentagon inspector general said in a September 2012 report.

And there's this: "Because of its persistent inability to tally its accounts, the Pentagon is the only federal agency that has not complied with a law that requires annual audits of all government departments. That means that the $8.5 trillion in taxpayer money doled out by Congress to the Pentagon since 1996, the first year it was supposed to be audited, has never been accounted for. That sum exceeds the value of China's economic output last year." Read the rest here.

There's a problem with the LCS' comms package. Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio breaks this: "The U.S. Navy's Littoral Combat Ship lacks the robust communications systems needed to transmit critical data to support facilities ashore, according to an unreleased congressional audit, the latest in a succession of troubles for the $34 billion shipbuilding program. The lightly manned vessel relies on ship-to-shore communications to help crews monitor the ship's condition, perform repairs and order medical supplies, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in its latest review of the LCS. The audit found that the communications systems lack the necessary reliability, speed and bandwidth. The communications deficiencies add to criticism of the vessel, which is intended to be small, speedy, and adaptable for patrolling shallow waters close to shore in areas such as the Persian Gulf and South China Sea." More here.

Mac Thornberry sees "50 years of frustration" when it comes to acquisition reform - and Congress doesn't get a pass, either. Breaking Defense's Sydney Freedberg reporting on Thornberry's visit to CSIS in Washington: "For ‘at least 50 years of frustration,' the Vice-Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said this morning, people have kept trying to fix the Pentagon's procurement problems, but the problems keep on getting worse. It's time to stop layering one band-aid atop another and look at the system as a (dysfunctional) whole, said [Thornberry] - and part of that dysfunction comes from Congress itself."

Thornberry doesn't want new layers of oversight and mandates. "What we've done so far has not worked out so well," Thornberry said at CSIS. "We're not going to make things better by piling on new mandates, new oversight offices, new micromanagement."

Instead Thornberry "wants to sit down with the Defense Department and defense contractors to winnow through the accumulated regulations ‘line by line,' and ‘go through, thin those out, and try to simplify and rationalize.' More of Freedberg's story here.

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to sign up for Situation Report, send us a note at gordon.lubold@foreignpolicy.com and we'll just stick you on. And if you like what you see, tell a friend. Register free for Situation Report and other FP products here. As always, if you have a report you want teased, a piece of news, or a good tidbit, send it to us early for maximum tease, because if you see something, you gotta say something -- to Situation Report. One more thing: please follow us @glubold.

Block-by-block: the fight for Syria's streets in Lebanon's northern capital. FP's Ty McCormick and Sophia Jones: "...Resentment in Lebanon's northern capital runs deep: Alawites, marginalized under Ottoman rule, enjoyed special privileges during the French mandate period, but entered a long era of political oblivion with the independence of the Lebanese state in 1943. Numbering less than 120,000 -- the majority of whom live in or around Jabal Mohsen -- the sect represents a tiny minority in Lebanon and has maintained strong ties to neighboring Syria, where Alawites have ruled since 1970. Residents of Bab al-Tebbaneh and Jabal Mohsen fought against each other in Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, with the Alawite stronghold backing the Syrian regime. Today, the fighting persists largely because there isn't anything else to do in what are two of the most impoverished communities in Lebanon. The arrival of civil war in Syria hit this region hard, depressing cross-border trade, crippling tourism, and leaving many young men without work -- and vulnerable to recruitment by leaders of the so-called ‘axes' in Tripoli's internecine war." Read the rest here.

Why Hezbollah loves the U.S.-Iran nuke deal, by FP's David Kenner, here.

23 killed in a blast near the Iranian embassy in Beirut this morning. The WSJ: "Two blasts that struck near the Iranian Embassy in Beirut on Tuesday killed 23 people, among them an Iranian diplomat, in what Iranian and Lebanese officials described as a direct assault on the embassy. The attack broke three months of relative calm in an area of southern Beirut, much of it a stronghold of the Shiite group Hezbollah, that was the target of a series of rocket and car bombs this summer. The targeting of an embassy would mark an escalation in the sporadic violence that has rocked Lebanon since the war in neighboring Syria has bled over the border and drawn Hezbollah into the fight." More here. 

There were three prominent killings in the Middle East. The bombing in Beirut also took the life of an Iranian attaché: The Independent: "...Iranian Ambassador Ghazanfar Roknabadi identified the dead diplomat as Sheikh Ibrahim Ansari. Speaking to Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV, he said Ansari took his post in Lebanon a month ago and was overseeing all regional cultural activities." More on that here. And Syrian rebel commander Abdulkader al-Saleh was killed. The NYT's Anne Barnard, Karam Shoumali and C.J. Chivers: "...He was a Syrian rebel commander who led homegrown fighters like himself and had a prescient view of the conflict: a Syrian insurgency with nowhere else to turn, he said nearly a year ago, would tilt toward foreign fighters and Al Qaeda. The commander, Abdulkader al-Saleh, 33, was a recognized and accessible leader in a fragmented insurgency that has few. He managed to gather ragtag local militias into the Tawhid Brigades, for a time one of the most organized and effective rebel battle groups, and to bridge the gap between relatively secular army defectors and Islamist fighters. But when he died Thursday of wounds from an airstrike in Aleppo, he and Tawhid were months into a slow decline from the peak of their influence." More on that here.

And in Egypt, gunmen shot and killed a national security officer in Cairo. The AP: "A statement from the ministry said gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Lt. Col. Mohammed Mabrouk of the national security agency, killing him on the spot near his home in the eastern Cairo suburb of Nasr City. Mabrouk worked in the agency's branch in charge of monitoring Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, a security official familiar with Mabrouk's work said." More here.

Is John Kerry going his own way on Egypt? The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin: Before Secretary of State John Kerry's recent trip to Cairo, National Security Adviser Susan Rice told him to make strong statements in public and private about the trial of deposed President Mohamed Morsi. On his own, Kerry decided to disregard the White House's instructions. The tension between the national security adviser and the secretary of state spilled over into public view in the past week, when Rice laid out her critical appraisal of the Egyptian government, which contradicted Kerry's assessment that Egypt was ‘on the path to democracy.' The now public rift has been simmering behind the scenes for months and illustrates the strikingly divergent Egypt policies the White House and the State Department are pursuing. The turf battles and internal confusion are hampering the administration's approach to Egypt, say lawmakers, experts, and officials inside both governments. An administration official tells Rogin: "John Kerry doesn't agree with Susan Rice on big portions of our Egypt policy, and he made a deliberate and conscious decision not to mention Morsi in his Cairo meetings... Susan Rice wasn't happy about it." Read the rest here.

In Libya, militias blamed for the worst unrest since Tripoli fell have abandoned the city as Libyan army units took up positions around the city. Reuters' Ghaith Shennib and Patrick Markey: "...The withdrawal of one powerful set of fighters, though, may leave Libya's fragile government to face more competition among the militia groups that remain in the city. Western powers, worried about anarchy in a major oil producer and further insecurity in the region, are promising more expertise to build up Libya's army. The country is being closely watched by its North Africa neighbors, worried about violence spilling across porous borders, especially with al Qaeda militants sheltering in southern deserts where Tripoli has less influence." More here.

No one died in vain in Gettysburg, or anywhere else, Mike Mullen writes in the WaPo today. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen: "Even now, long after I have taken off the uniform, grieving mothers, fathers, sons and daughters approach me and ask, ‘Was it worth it? Did his death mean anything?' I tell them it did. I tell them it mattered. How could it be otherwise? How could it be that in a democracy - a free society - men and women may risk their lives to defend that freedom and lose those lives in vain? It cannot be so. Regardless of the terms of the treaty, the surrender, the withdrawal, the defeat or the victory, no American who sheds blood to preserve that which his ancestors fought to establish can ever be said to have made that sacrifice without meaning."

What makes him think that? Mullen, citing Walt Whitman, a nurse during the Civil War, continues: "More than 6,500 Americans have ‘yielded up' their young lives since these new wars began. Hundreds of thousands of others have returned home forever changed. Their families, too, have suffered yet endured. As we remember the carnage and the courage of the Civil War, let us likewise honor a new generation of soldiers. As we mourn the dead or spur the wounded to recovery, let us be willing to believe that in due time the meaning of these fresh sacrifices will appear to the soul - theirs and ours. Let us take comfort in the knowledge that, whatever the outcome in Iraq and Afghanistan, the precious blood these young people shed for that future shall not - cannot - have been shed in vain." More here.

Lindsey Graham's hold on Obama noms seems to be loosening. The Cable's John Hudson: "Last week, the South Carolina Republican renewed his pledge to place a hold on President Obama's appointments with the exception of two State Department employees. He maintained that he wanted to interview more Benghazi witnesses to ask them about what they saw the night of the attack and would continue to place holds on nominees. However, he appears to have quietly released holds on four more Obama nominees..." More here.

The Pentagon doesn't agree that pressure is mounting on Hagel to replace his sexual assault chief, Gary Patton. After a piece we shared yesterday from military.com, a Pentagon official pointed out that there has been only one letter from POGO (the Project of Government Oversight) and three people's complaints that have led to investigations by the DOD Inspector General. That investigation has not been made public and Patton's case sits on the Secretary of the Army's desk for his final disposition. A defense official familiar with the case told Situation Report: "The DoD IG has conducted an intensive, 18-month-long investigation, including multiple witness interviews and hundreds of pages of documents.  In addition, Maj. Gen. Patton testified before Congress on this subject in September 2012. These investigations have not impeded MG Patton's ability to effectively lead the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office for the past 16+ months, revise and direct the Department's SAPR Strategy, and implement more than a dozen significant changes to the sexual assault prevention and response program, including dramatically increasing victims' rights and enhancing legal support available to them."

Bob Work, who could become the next DepSecDef, and Richard Fontaine, both of CNAS, in the inaugural post on their new CNAS blog, "The Agenda" on how America's security depends on fixing the house at home. Their BLUF: "The President and the Congress have before them a number of tasks in the coming months, ranging from tackling immigration reform to passing a farm bill. Important issues, all of them.  Yet no less pressing is the need to bridge the gaps in the politics of national security, to return to common sense defense and foreign affairs budgeting, to see more partnership between the White House and Congress and to articulate for the American people a sense of the country's international role and how it connects to affairs at home. Now is the time to get started, before our political fractures threaten America's security, dishearten our allies and friends, and diminish our standing in the world." Read the rest here.

US Institute of Peace's Kristin Lord and the Center for the National Interest's Paul Saunders, in a piece for CNN.com on America's ideals and values inextricably tied to its power. Their BLUF: "Restoring the power of the American example will be no easy task - balancing immediate national security concerns, like transnational terrorism and cyber threats, with America's overarching reputation and values, is simply hard to do.  But it might prove easier if American leaders remember that these values are fundamental to American power." Read their rest here.

ICYMI: Blackwater's Erik Prince blames the U.S. for his troubles. The WSJ's Dion Nissenbaum, here.

A judge says an Army artillery officer linked by DNA to a string of sexual assaults on young girls be allowed to blame his twin brother for attacks in two states. AP: "District Judge David Shakes ruled Friday it would be "inappropriate" to bar 1st Lt. Aaron Lucas' attorneys from presenting his identical twin as an alternate suspect given the siblings' shared DNA, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette." More here.

Artist Tom Waterhouse, who painted many a Marine motif after the Marines "found their Rockwell," dies. From an Obit on Dignity Memorial: "...Three tours of duty as a combat artist in Vietnam resulted in hundreds of on-the-spot drawings that were later turned into one large volume called Delta to DMZ. In 1973, at the age of 49, Waterhouse was brought back to active duty at the rank of major to create a series of 14 paintings of the Marines in the Revolution in celebration of the bicentennial. It was supposed to be a 9 month commission but the Marines had found "their Rockwell" and they kept him on until his retired on 19 February, 1991, the 46th anniversary of the landing on Iwo. By that time he had completed over 160 major works for the USMC, and had painted every campaign in the history of the Corps from its inception through Operation Iraqi Freedom." His obit, here. His Wiki page, here.