National Security

FP’s Situation Report: Congress may be nearing a budget deal; Are gamers terrorists?; Kerry sells Iran pact to the Hill today; Mabus broadens corruption review; Was Chuck Hagel right?; FP.com is new! And a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold

Is Congress nearing a deal on the defense spending bill? Defense News' Paul McLeary: "A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers from both houses of Congress has come together to bash out a compromise $607 billion defense funding bill - which includes $527 billion in base funding and $80 billion for the war in Afghanistan - which they will try to pass before current funds run out on Jan. 1. With the House of Representatives preparing to wrap up business for the year on Dec. 13 and the Senate a week later, Congress is in danger of breaking its 51-year string of passing national security bills on time. To get that done, a bipartisan group convened last week to hammer out a National Defense Authorization Act that includes 79 amendments aimed at everything from sexual assault to building infrastructure in Afghanistan to funding for new platforms, like nuclear aircraft carriers and a long-range bomber. There also are provisions for Pentagon-run anti-narcotics programs, assisting the Jordanian armed forces in securing their border with Syria, and cash aimed at the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons stocks." More here.

Ray Mabus wants to look at all Navy contracts in the wake of the one with Fat Leonard. NYT's Christopher Drew and Danielle Ivory: "Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has expanded an internal review of the Navy's ship-supply contracts, in a new sign that overbilling practices discovered in the Pacific could be occurring worldwide. In a memorandum released Monday, the secretary ordered a high-ranking Navy official to examine how the service awards hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business around the globe. Mr. Mabus also asked auditors to look at how the Navy could better police contractors providing food, tugboats and port security for its vessels.

Mr. Mabus's action comes after the service suspended two of its biggest supply contractors. Both are under investigation by the Justice Department for inflating their billings by millions of dollars through various schemes, and the Navy has had to scramble to find replacements in some regions." Navy memo here. NYT story here. 

Page One: Spies infiltrate online gaming to collect data on terrorism. The NYT's Mark Mazzetti and Justin Elliott: "Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents. Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

"The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players, according to the documents, disclosed by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden. Because militants often rely on features common to video games - fake identities, voice and text chats, a way to conduct financial transactions - American and British intelligence agencies worried that they might be operating there, according to the papers." Read the rest here. Making Mandela Proud: Obama and Cuba's Raul Castro shook hands at Mandela's giant funeral in Soweto, here.

Why is Ted Cruz in Soweto? FP's John Hudson explains here.

Welcome to Tuesday's "snowfall is expected to be disruptive" edition of Situation Report where our bottom line when it comes to all that will always be: bring it. If you'd like to sign up to receive 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.  And 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, we hope you'll say something -- to Situation Report. And one more thing: please follow us @glubold.

Kerry takes his show to the Hill today to sell the landmark nuclear pact with Iran. FP's Yochi Dreazen: "...It won't be easy. President Obama and his top aides have spent weeks making the public case for the agreement in speeches, TV interviews and addresses to influential think tanks. Kerry's appearance before the House Foreign Relations Committee will mark the first time a senior administration official faces lawmakers who have been harshly critical of the pact since it was announced in Geneva on November 24th  - and who are now looking for ways of rewriting it. The White House says that the pact freezes or rolls back the key elements of Iran's nuclear effort in exchange for roughly $7 billion in temporary relief from the punishing Western sanctions on Iran. Congressional critics, including the leadership of the House committee that will question Kerry today, argue that the deal allows Iran gives Iran a significant economic boost without requiring Tehran to halt uranium enrichment or dismantle all of the key components of its nuclear infrastructure... In a strange bedfellows alliance, both the administration and the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani argue that any new punitive measures would scuttle the current deal and end the negotiations towards a final pact before they even really got underway." Go to foreignpolicy.com for this story this morning.

Hagel urges Pakistani PM Sharif to reopen the supply routes for Afg. WSJ's Julian Barnes, traveling with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel: "...For his part, Mr. Sharif pushed Mr. Hagel on the issues of drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas, counterterrorism operations which Pakistan wants ended. Washington is keen to get the often difficult relationship with Pakistan back on track and American officials repeatedly insisted that despite the difficult issues on the table the talks were amicable. Defense officials said Mr. Hagel didn't threaten to cut off aid, but instead explained to Pakistanis that it would be politically difficult to reimburse them for military expenses if Islamabad can't reopen the highway linking Kabul to the port of Karachi." More here.

Speaking of the WSJ: "Chuck Hagel was Right," writes WSJ columnist Bret Stephens, from the right: "...The Obama administration's policy on Iran's nuclearization is containment, not prevention. The secretary of defense let that one slip at his confirmation hearings in January, and the media played it as a stumble by an intellectually overmatched nominee. But it wasn't a stumble. It was a gaffe-an accidental, embarrassing act of Washington truth telling-by a guy who doesn't do insincerity nearly as well as his boss. This much was apparent from the revealing performance Barack Obama delivered last week at the Brookings Institution, where he was interviewed by Israeli-American entertainment mogul Haim Saban on the subject of the Iranian nuclear deal." More here.

And one more from the Journal: an op-ed from former Navy Secretary John Lehman, who points out that more than half of the DoD's active-duty servicemen and women serve in offices on staffs: "...There is one great numerical advantage the U.S. has against potential adversaries, however. That is the size of our defense bureaucracy. While the fighting forces have steadily shrunk by more than half since the early 1990s, the civilian and uniformed bureaucracy has more than doubled. According to the latest figures, there are currently more than 1,500,000 full-time civilian employees in the Defense Department-800,000 civil servants and 700,000 contract employees. Today, more than half of our active-duty servicemen and women serve in offices on staffs. The number of various Joint Task Force staffs, for instance, has grown since 1987 from seven to more than 250, according to the Defense Business Board.

"...The way forward for Republicans is not to default to their traditional solution, which is simply to fight sequester cuts and increase the defense budget. Instead, Republicans should concentrate on slashing and restructuring our dysfunctional and bloated defense bureaucracy. With strong defense chairmen on House and Senate committees already sympathetic to the overhead issue, and a willing secretary of defense, this Congress can do it. That will place the blame for the consequences of sequester and the earlier $500 billion Obama cuts squarely where it belongs, on the president and the Democrats." Read the rest here.

Noting: All of this makes Hagel's announcement last week that he would cut 200 people - over five years - was, as a cut to headquarters, a bit underwhelming to a lot of observers looking for true shrinkage at the Pentagon.

Smaller IS better: Tom Ricks says make the military better by making it smaller. Preparedness is about adaptability, not readiness in the conventional sense. Ricks: "Want a better U.S. military? Make it smaller. The bigger the military, the more time it must spend taking care of itself and maintaining its structure as it is, instead of changing with the times. And changing is what the U.S. military must begin to do as it recovers from the past decade's two wars." Read more here.

In the weeds: why are $486 American-paid-for planes sitting in the grass on the side of the tarmac in Afghanistan? Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio with this exclusive: Sixteen broken-down transport planes that cost U.S. taxpayers at least $486 million are languishing among the weeds, wooden cargo boxes and old tires at Kabul International Airport, waiting to be destroyed without ever being delivered to the Afghan Air Force. The special inspector general for Afghanistan is investigating why the refurbished G222 turboprop aircraft from Finmeccanica SpA's Alenia Aermacchi North America unit no longer can be flown after logging only 200 of 4,500 hours of U.S.-led training flights and missions required from January to September 2012 under a U.S Air Force contract because of persistent maintenance issues... Asked about the planes after they were photographed at the airport in Afghanistan by a Bloomberg News reporter, Sopko said he also saw them ‘sitting in the weeds' during a recent visit." More here.

And as long as we're talking defense industry, there's this: EADS to cut 5,800 jobs under a restructuring plan, here.

New-and-Improved: FP's new website, bolder, smoother and mas fun. And our favorite from the FP press release: "visually-arresting content." FP unveiled its redesigned and expanded website yesterday, "built to satisfy the needs of its three million monthly readers worldwide." From the boss: "Our expanded and modernized website presents FP's readers with a dramatically expanded array of editorial features and tools to help them get the information they want with the least amount of effort," said David Rothkopf, CEO and Editor-at-Large of The FP Group. "Our new site ensures that our readers have access to precisely the content that is of greatest interest to each of them while supporting our advertisers goals of identifying and reaching the audiences they seek in a beautiful, state-of-the-art web environment." The metrics on foreignpolicy.com: 200 million annual pageviews, 3.5 million online monthly readers and 600,000 newsletter subscribers. And so many of them are you! Situation Report is happy to report that we have 52,680 readers every day. We thank you for that and try always to meet your fascinating, enthusiastic and varied expectations. Check out our site - dubya dubya dubya dot foreignpolicy-dot-com (foreignpolicy.com) and enjoy.

When bootstrapping doesn't work: John Podesta is joining the Obama White House in need of some help from the outside. The NYT's Jackie Calmes: Mr. Podesta, who has agreed to serve as counselor for a year, led Mr. Obama's presidential transition in 2008 and has been an outside adviser since then. He also has occasionally criticized the administration, if gently, from his perch as the founder and former president of the Center for American Progress, a center-left public policy research group that has provided personnel and policy ideas to the administration. Word that Mr. Podesta would for the first time join Mr. Obama's official staff, from people familiar with the discussions, comes as the president is seeking to recover public support and credibility after the flawed introduction in October of the insurance marketplaces that are a key part of his signature Affordable Care Act."

And: "Mr. Podesta, who was Mr. Clinton's chief of staff during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment of Mr. Clinton, also has been at the center of foreign policy and national security debates. In 2009, he accompanied Mr. Clinton to North Korea for negotiations that won the release of two American journalists who had been jailed on spy charges." Read the rest here.

Police are moving on the protesters in Ukraine. BBC: "Ukrainian police have begun moving against protesters in central Kiev, with some protest camps in front of government buildings dismantled. An opposition party said security forces had raided its headquarters. Officials gave protesters until Tuesday to leave. No clashes were reported. Opposition leaders urged supporters to defend Independence Square, the main protest site. The stand-off follows weeks of unrest after a U-turn on a free-trade deal with the EU. The BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Kiev says there are far more police in the city centre than on Sunday, when hundreds of thousands of people came out onto the streets." More here.

The WaPo's Max Fisher uses a map to show you everything you need to know about the protests in Kiev, here.

Former Romney forpol aide Rich Williamson dies at 64. The Daily Beast's Josh Rogin: The DC foreign policy community reacted with shock and sadness Monday to the unexpected death of Rich Williamson, a long time American diplomat and Republican foreign policy operative, who died Sunday due to complications from a cerebral hemorrhage at age 64. Williamson most recently served as a top foreign policy advisor to Mitt Romney and helped shape the 2012 GOP nominee's policies on international affairs. But Williamson's resume also included stints as a diplomat, political candidate, academic, lawyer, human rights activist, and key figure in the foreign policy staffs of leading Republican politicians including Sen. John McCain. Williamson also worked on two presidential campaigns for Ronald Reagan and was a junior staffer in the Reagan White House."

Former U.S. Rep to UNGA Robert O'Brien on Williamson: "The first thing you think about Rich was that they guy was an ardent believer in American exceptionalism. He was also a partisan Republican. He believed in the party... As tough as Rich was, he always did it with a smile, enjoyed the game, and respected his adversaries." The rest of Rogin's bit here.

The Foreign Policy-U.S. Institute of Peace PeaceGame kicked off yesterday, but what's a peacegame look like? FP's Dana Stuster: In policy planning, there's a lot of effort involved when planning for conflict. Research papers and briefings, certainly, but also "war games" -- simulations of conflicts with experts on the various parties to the conflict acting out their roles. If Group A invades and takes this military base, how does Group B respond (or Group C, D, or E)? What if policymakers put as much thought into thinking through diplomatic scenarios as they do war scenarios? That was the question posed by PeaceGame, a simulation of diplomatic efforts around the Syrian civil war organized by the U.S. Institute of Peace and Foreign Policy Monday. The discussion brought together 45 experts, including former ambassadors and State Department officials, academics, and Arab activists, all together representing 19 groups influencing the war. It's the first of what is planned as a series of similar events. The next one is scheduled for Spring 2014 in the United Arab Emirates. If you're trying to envision what it was like, imagine a high-level roleplaying game -- something akin to Model United Nations or Dungeons & Dragons (with FP CEO David Rothkopf as dungeonmaster). But the level of expertise was something else entirely. Former Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley and Casimir Yost, recently returned from the National Intelligence Council, represented the United States. Read the rest here.

 

 

National Security

FP’s Situation Report: Inside the fight between the WH and Eric Holder; Who brought nearly an ounce of weed into the Pentagon?; Out of cash: Kabul’s “Pentagon” needs more U.S. dollars; A budget deal today?; Hagel in Pakistan; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold 

Inside the fight between the White House and Eric Holder over the nation's top national security lawyer. FP's Shane Harris with this exclusive last night: "In September, President Obama nominated John Carlin, a career federal prosecutor, to run the Justice Department's National Security Division, a senior post whose occupant plays a key role in authorizing secret surveillance operations and managing national security investigations. It was a controversial pick. Not only did some of Carlin's peers think he wasn't the most qualified candidate. Attorney General Eric Holder -- the man who was supposed to be Carlin's boss -- hadn't supported him. Several former officials told Foreign Policy that the attorney general ‘strenuously' objected to nominating Carlin.

But Carlin had the backing of two senior officials in the White House, who had made it known that he was their preferred choice. In the end, their candidate won out, prompting several former law enforcement and national security officials to decry the nomination as an act of undue political influence over law enforcement decisions.

'I think it is extraordinary and unusual to have someone forced upon an attorney general over his objections,' said one former law enforcement official. 'The independence of the Justice Department from the White House is institutionally important.' Decisions on which cases to prosecute and how to manage criminal investigations are supposed to be made free of political considerations. Holder had his own list of candidates, which included another career prosecutor who had been his adviser on national security issues and had years more experience than Carlin working on terrorism and espionage cases, officials said. Holder didn't know Carlin well and hadn't worked closely with him.

Ultimately, the decision on whom to nominate for the position is the president's alone. And Holder has since embraced Carlin -- at least in public. But the rocky path to Carlin's nomination, described in interviews with a dozen current and former Justice Department and administration officials, reveals a tense personal and political struggle over one of the most important national security positions in the government." Read the rest of this tale here.

It's getting uglier in Kiev. WSJ's James Marson: "Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians took to the streets here for a second weekend, blockading government buildings and demanding that President Viktor Yanukovych fire his cabinet and reject plans to form a closer alliance with Russia. After speeches in the central Kiev square that pro-European protesters have occupied for the past week, crowds fanned out peacefully across downtown, crying ‘Glory to Ukraine!' and ‘Get the gang out!' Activists advanced in columns from the square and set up new barricades on roads leading to government buildings, saying they would prevent Mr. Yanukovych's administration from working until he cedes to their demands. Protesters, angered by Mr. Yanukovych's visit Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, tore down a statue of Vladimir Lenin, a potent symbol of Moscow's historical dominance over this former Soviet republic... With protests entering a third week, the opposition is struggling to convert popular anger into political gains that could bond this country of 46 million into closer relations with Europe. Opposition leaders lack constitutional means to force the government from power before a presidential election in 2015, and face divisions among protesters, many of whom deeply distrust anyone associated with Ukraine's corrupted political system." More here.

Chuck Hagel, after a visit to Afghanistan, is in Pakistan. Dawn: "Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel departed from Pakistan after a brief visit during which he held talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the country's new army chief General Raheel Sharif on Monday. In the first visit by a US defence secretary in nearly four years, Hagel flew from Kabul to Islamabad as Washington seeks to defuse tensions over controversial US drone strikes and Islamabad's role in Afghanistan. Ties between Washington and Islamabad have been seriously strained over US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal belt as well as Afghan Taliban sanctuaries inside Pakistan's borders. After greeting Prime Minister Sharif at the start of their talks, Hagel said Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan had a ‘lot of common and mutual interests" and that he looked forward to discussing regional issues.'" More here.

Welcome to Monday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to sign up to receive 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.  And 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, we hope you'll say something -- to Situation Report. And one more thing: please follow us @glubold.

High times: What was this Army civilian thinking? The person must have been high. The Pentagon's police force conducted a dragnet last month for employees entering the building. They found a number of unauthorized items and at least one illegal one, allegedly: close to an ounce of marijuana on an Army civilian just trying to enter the building to get to work. The Pentagon Force Protection Agency on Nov. 19 conducted what it called an "enhanced screening" of all the Pentagon's employees at three of the building's major entrances as part of a routine security check. Pentagon police found four "prohibited" knives, pepper spray and what was only described as "drug paraphernalia." In other such screenings, they have found employees with "expandable batons," a defense official said.

But police also found an unnamed individual who allegedly was holding at least 25 grams of marijuana, just shy of an ounce. Despite the fact that possession of an illegal substance like marijuana is prohibited at the Pentagon and there were no clear national security issues at play, officials declined to provide any further details of the case. A Pentagon official cited the Privacy Act of 1974 which defense officials interpret as preventing the Defense Department from having to disclose the age or name of the person charged. Nor would defense officials comment on the amount of marijuana allegedly found. But a source familiar with the matter indicated that the amount was 25 grams or more. Read the rest of our little story here.

Sens. Levin and Inhofe and Rep. Buck McKeon are scheduled to speak late this afternoon on a budget deal. Situation Report was told last night that Levin, Inhofe and McKeon will hold a presser to announce details of a comprehensive FY 14 [National Defense Authorization Act] and "propose a way forward to passage." The legislation will not be a slimmed down bill as some have reported, "but a full NDAA" we're told.

There appears to be a budget deal in the House and in the Senate but it's unclear if it will pass. Defense News' John Bennett: "...Defense and congressional sources seemed confident a budget conference committee led by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., would reach an accord by Dec. 6. But as one day faded into the next, it became clear that striking even a "small" two-year spending deal that both parties could support would prove as difficult as every other attempt to fashion a spending and deficit measure since President Barack Obama took office and conservative tea party Republicans joined the House. ‘They might have a deal," said Gordon Adams, who ran national defense budgeting for the Clinton administration, ‘but whether or not it can pass is a very different question - and a very interesting one.'

"One defense industry lobbyist with knowledge of the Ryan-Murray talks laid out a scenario under which Democratic and Republican leaders could force the 2014 budget resolution and accompanying two-year spending plan through both chambers. ‘In the House, it would need Democratic support. The conservative Republicans aren't going to vote for it. But it can pass,' the lobbyist said. ‘In the Senate, I think you get the defense folks: McCain, Graham, Ayotte and some others,' the lobbyist added, referring to GOP Senate Armed Services Committee members Sen. John McCain of Arizona, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. Analysts agreed the road is smoother in the Senate. But the House is the wild card." More here.

On Syria, Foreign Policy and the U.S. Institute of Peace team up today. From an FP press release: "Six weeks before representatives of Syria's warring factions are set to meet in Geneva, leading foreign policy thinkers will convene in Washington to game out ‘the best possible peace for Syria.' Today, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and The FP Group (FP) announced the participants in their inaugural PeaceGame, set for [today and tomorrow] at USIP headquarters. The event is "fully on the record" open to credentialed press. FP's David Rothkopf and USIP's Kristin Lord: "What if we approached the achievement of peace with the same kind of time, energy, resources, and realism with which we approach preparing for wars?... What if we viewed peace not as the cessation of hostilities, a coda to the serious work of projecting force, but rather as the achievement of the political, economic, social, environmental, cultural, and other factors that lead to stability, organic growth, and conflict resolution -- within rather than apart from a system of laws?"

PeaceGame participants: Peter Ackerman, Henri Barkey, Hans Binnendijk, Esther Brimmer, Daniel Brumberg, Ambassador Maura Connelly, PJ Crowley, Paula Dobriansky, Andrew Exum, Nelson Ford, Ambassador Edward "Skip" Gnehm, Karen House, Lise Howard, Steven Heydemann, Ambassador James Jeffrey, Murhaf Jouejati, Ambassador Ted Kattouf, Mark Katz, Steven Koltai, Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer, George Lopez, Kristin Lord, Colum Lynch, Firas Maksad, Robert Malley, Sharon Morris, Robert Mosbacher, Jr., Ambassador George Moose, Mouaz Moustafa, Manal Omar, Carina Perelli, Kenneth Pollack, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, David Rothkopf, Paul Saunders, Mark Schneider, Jeremy Shapiro, Randa Slim, Julianne Smith, Andrew Tabler, Ambassador William B. Taylor, James Traub, Mona Yacoubian, Judith Yaphe, Casimir Yost.

For press, RSVP for the PeaceGame here at interviews@usip.org or by calling 202.429.3869; The agenda for today and tomorrow, here.

Watch the livestream  here.

The U.S.-funded "Pentagon" in Kabul - a symbol of American generosity - has cost $107 million spent and counting and it's not complete. The WaPo's Tim Craig in Kabul: "...The American government has already spent about $107 million - double the initial estimate - on the five-story Defense Ministry headquarters, which will include state-of-the-art bunkers and the second-largest auditorium in Kabul. But now, four years after the groundbreaking, construction crews have had to effectively halt their work. The reason: The U.S. government has run out of money for the project. For years, audits and inspector general's reports have documented waste and mismanagement in American aid projects in Afghanistan. But the Defense Ministry building is a dramatic example of how poor oversight continues to plague the massive U.S. investment here. ‘Nobody was watching it like they should, and it's just been an open checkbook,' said an American official involved in the management of the project, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the news media. ‘We failed, big time.'... The American-led military coalition is appealing to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to authorize an additional $24 million for the Afghan defense headquarters, already one of the costliest U.S-financed buildings in the country." Read the rest here.

This U.S. Marine Colonel was pretty sure he was getting involved in Syria's civil war. FP's Dan Lamothe: "When a U.S. Marine Corps task force sent nearly all of its 2,400 personnel ashore in Jordan in June, Marine officials said it had nothing to do with the horrific civil war in neighboring Syria. Turns out, that's half right: While the Marines were in Jordan for long-planned training exercise with the Jordanian military, their commander on the ground expected to be call on to intervene in the crisis by assisting the tens of thousands of refugees who had flooded across the border into Jordan. Col. Matthew St. Clair, the commander of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, acknowledged that point during an appearance Thursday at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, a think tank in Arlington, Va. The colonel admitted it was a surprise his Marines were not called on to assist the refugees -- just one more sign of how close the United States was earlier this year to intervening in the Syrian civil war."

Marine Col. Matthew St. Clair: "I thought that exercise would turn into something else, but it did not." The rest of the story, here.

Speaking of Marines, Amos will visit Carnegie tomorrow. Commandant Gen. Jim Amos will talk future of the Marine Corps and how the nation and its military "might best prioritize its missions and capacities" at Carnegie tomorrow with moderator Sarah Chayes. "General Amos will outline his vision of the post-2014 security environment, consider how to extract, preserve, and apply what has been learned in Iraq and Afghanistan, and discuss the renewed emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region." Event deets here.

Also: the former Marine-turned-gay waitress in New Jersey lost her job after creating an anti-gay hoax. CNN: "A New Jersey waitress was out of a job on Saturday, weeks after her story of being denied a tip because of her sexual orientation brought an outpouring of sympathy and donations. Dayna Morales' employment was terminated after an internal investigation into allegations that she made up the story, Gallop Asian Bistro manager Bobby Vanderhoof told CNN... Morales, 22, a former Marine, first complained about the alleged incident on a "Have a Gay Day" Facebook page, posting a photo of a receipt that read, "I'm sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life." More here.

Ante up in the Asia Pacific: South Korea says I see your ADIZ and now I'll raise you one. The NYT's Choe Sang-Hun reporting from Seoul: "Defying both China and Japan, South Korea announced on Sunday that it was expanding its air patrol zone for the first time in 62 years to include airspace over the East China Sea that is also claimed by Beijing and Tokyo. South Korea's expanded ‘air defense identification zone' was the latest sign of a broadening discord among the Northeast Asian neighbors, who are already locked in territorial and historical disputes. With South Korea's newly expanded zone, the air defense zones of all three countries now overlap over a submerged reef called Ieodo in South Korea and Suyan Rock in China. The reef is controlled by South Korea, which maintains a maritime research station there, but China also claims it. The seabed around the reef is believed to be rich in natural gas and minerals deposits." More here.