National Security

FP's Situation Report: State, Pentagon clash over Syria intervention

USAID contractor announces a hunger strike in Havana; Another is arrested in Afg; Gun control an issue at the DoD; What do artists, bug splats and the drone war have in common?; and a bit more.

By Gordon Lubold with Nathaniel Sobel 

A hawkish State Department clashes with a more circumspect Pentagon over Syria policy, but both sides agree on the need for an expanded train-and-equip program for moderates. The WSJ's Adam Entous and Julian Barnes on Page One: "Frustrated by the stalemate in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry has been pushing for the U.S. military to be more aggressive in supporting the country's rebel forces. Opposition has come from the institution that would spearhead any such effort: the Pentagon.
"Mr. Kerry and United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power have advocated options that range from an American military intervention to weaken the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to using U.S. special operations forces to train and equip a large number of rebel fighters. Such moves would go far beyond the U.S.'s current engagement.
"In recent White House meetings, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have pushed back against military intervention, said senior officials. They say the risk is high of being dragged into an open-ended foreign entanglement. Both sides have agreed on the need to create an expanded program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels. But the Pentagon worries the Assad regime would halt cooperation on the removal of chemical weapons if the military training starts now. Officials said Mr. Kerry has now agreed to a delay.
"The disagreement between a hawkish State Department and a dovish Pentagon, the officials from both sides said, is the latest chapter in an agonizing three-year administration debate over Syria. Current and former State Department officials see the Pentagon's objections as a way of killing proposals without explicitly saying no. Pentagon officials say they are trying to prevent the U.S. from getting sucked into another messy Mideast conflict, a concern that also helps explain President Barack Obama's reluctance to engage more directly in Syria." More here.  

Hezbollah's deepening involvement in Syria is one of "the most important factors" in the conflict, argues ISW's Marisa Sullivan in a new report out this morning and provided early to Situation Report. Sullivan: "...Hezbollah fighters have operated openly and in significant numbers across the border alongside their Syrian and Iraqi counterparts. They have enabled the regime to regain control of rebel-held areas in central Syria and have improved the effectiveness of pro-regime forces. The impact of Hezbollah's involvement in Syria has been felt not just on the battlefield, where the regime now has momentum in many areas, but also in Lebanon where growing sectarian tensions have undermined security and stability. The war in Syria presents a significant threat to the strategic alliance of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. 

"The Syrian government, the vital conduit between Iran and Hezbollah, is in danger of being overthrown. Iran cannot afford to lose its most important foothold in the Levant, and Hezbollah cannot risk losing its access to critical Iranian and Syrian support. Syria's importance to Hezbollah, however, is not limited to its role as a conduit for financial and material support; the Assad regime has provided safe haven for Hezbollah training camps and weapons storage. It is through this relationship that Hezbollah has therefore entered the conflict as a key player." Read the whole report here.

The Syrian rebels are seen using missile launchers in new videos. FP's Shane Harris: "A new video posted on YouTube earlier this week appears to show a Syrian rebel fighter launching a U.S.-made anti-tank missile at what is said to be an enemy tank, raising new questions about whether Washington has begun to supply powerful weapons to groups trying to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. If the TOW missile system were supplied by the United States -- and analysts cautioned Monday that its pedigree was unclear -- it would signal a dramatic change in the Obama administration's policy towards arming Syrian rebels.

The U.S. government has been reluctant to supply heavy weapons such as anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles, which could be used to shoot down military or civilian aircraft, for fear they'll fall into the hands of religious extremists. The fighter in the video appears to be a member of Harakat Hazm, said two analysts, which is part of the Free Syrian Army, an umbrella group generally seen as more moderate than some of the Islamist fighters who are also trying to overthrow Assad." More here.

A take on the videos of TOW missiles from Jack Mulcaire on War on the Rocks, here.

Welcome to Tuesday's edition of Situation Report. If you'd like to sign up to receive Situation Report, send us a note at and we'll just stick you on. 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 and @njsobe4.

As USAID's Rajiv Shah goes to the Hill today, Alan Gross, in a Havana prison, announces he's on a hunger strike over his "shameful ordeal." Gross, a USAID subcontractor, has been imprisoned in Cuba for more than four years. This morning, Gross, through his attorneys, announced that he wants both the U.S. and Cuba to "resolve this shameful ordeal" so he can return home and says he's been on a hunger strike since last week. Gross, in a statement provided to media last night, embargoed for this morning: " I began a fast on April 3rd in protest of the treatment to which I am subjected by the governments of Cuba and the United States.  I am fasting to object to mistruths, deceptions, and inaction by both governments, not only regarding their shared responsibility for my arbitrary detention, but also because of the lack of any reasonable or valid effort to resolve this shameful ordeal. Once again, I am calling on President Obama to get personally involved in ending this stand-off so that I can return home to my wife and daughters."

The WaPo's Karen DeYoung: "... Gross was arrested in 2009 for distributing Internet and other communications materials in Cuba under a program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. He was sentenced to 15 years for crimes against the Cuban state and is said to be in poor health. His case moved back into the limelight last week following revelations about a separate USAID program to undermine Cuba's communist government with a Twitter-like network designed to build an audience among Cuban youth and push them toward anti-government dissent. While unclassified, administration officials have described the program as 'discreet.' The 'Cuban Twitter' program, discontinued in 2012, caused an uproar among U.S. lawmakers who charged they had never approved spending for it. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who heads the appropriations subcommittee in charge of the USAID budget, called the program 'dumb, dumb, dumb.'" WaPo story here.

In Afghanistan last week, a former DAI employee, a USAID contractor, was arrested for embezzling $539,000. Situation Report has learned that the employee, Abdul Khalil Qadery, was arrested by Afghan authorities after officials discovered he had allegedly stolen approximately $539,000 from the Afghan government's Agricultural Development Fund, which helps farmers across the country. DAI had been supporting a USAID-funded project as part of the ADF called the Agricultural Credit Enhancement Program, to which DAI was providing management assistance. Qadery, who is no longer employed by DAI, disappeared with the money last year after allegedly siphoning funds for the program to himself. He resurfaced in Mazar-i-Sharif, where he was arrested by Afghan authorities last week. The money was stolen from a private bank, according to Steven O'Connor, a spokesman for DAI, the large international development consulting firm who has worked with USAID for decades. A USAID official told Situation Report the money allegedly stolen by Qadery was repaid to the fund through a DAI insurance settlement.

Ukrainian police move against pro-Russian demonstrators. The WaPo's Kathy Lally: "Police began removing the pro-Russian demonstrators occupying eastern Ukrainian government buildings early Tuesday after a tense night of confrontation that officials here accused Moscow of provoking to seek a pretext for invasion. Protesters were cleared from the regional administration in Kharkiv, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said, although they remained entrenched Tuesday in similar government offices in Donetsk, where protesters erected a barricade of tires and barbed wire." More here.

Iran wants to get moving on a dealReuters' Parisa Hafezi and Fredrik Dahl in Vienna: "Iran said it hopes enough progress will be made with major powers this week to enable negotiators to start drafting by mid-May a final accord to settle a long-running dispute over its nuclear program. The Islamic Republic and six world powers will hold a new round of talks in Vienna on Tuesday and Wednesday intended to reach a comprehensive agreement by July 20 on how to resolve a decade-old standoff that has stirred fears of a Middle East war... So far, officials say, they have largely focused on what issues should form part of a long-term deal. ‘We will finish all discussions and issues this time to pave the ground for starting to draft the final draft in Ordibehesht (an Iranian month that begins in two weeks),' Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said upon arrival in Vienna. A U.S. official gave a similar timetable last week, voicing hope that the drafting of an agreement could begin in May." More here.

Hagel tours China's newest aircraft carrierThe WSJ's Dion Nissenbaum in China, traveling with Hagel: "China's military opened its doors on Monday to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, offering America's top defense official a rare look at its new aircraft carrier. The two-hour visit was the first China has granted to a foreign official seeking a close view of the Liaoning, a refurbished Ukrainian ship that is the centerpiece of the county's naval ambitions.

"The U.S. ambassador to China, former Sen. Max Baucus, and top Pentagon officials joined Mr. Hagel on the tour during the defense secretary's first visit to China since taking command at the Pentagon a year ago. The visit provided American officials with a rare opportunity to assess the capabilities of the Liaoning and Chinese military development. Chinese officials compared their carrier development to the beginning of the American carrier fleet in the early 1900s, U.S. officials said. ‘They know they have a long way to go in naval aviation,' said one defense official traveling with Mr. Hagel. The official praised China for allowing Mr. Hagel to visit the ship as a milestone in military openness." More here.

What does Seal Team Six need $11 million for? A new "human performance center." Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio this morning: "The elite Navy SEAL team may have killed Osama Bin Laden and inspired Hollywood, but it could use an extra $11.1 million for a 'Human Performance Center.' The request is among $400 million in unfunded priorities that the U.S. Special Operations Command submitted to Congress on April 1 as part of a $36 billion wish list from the military services and combat commands. Admiral William McRaven, who directed the May 2011 Bin Laden raid in Pakistan and now heads the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, wrote that the new facility would be built at Dam Neck, Virginia, where the elite unit formally known as Devgru, or the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, is based." More here.

The place it's hardest for veterans to get a job? On Capitol Hill. Military Times' Leo Shane III: "What's the worst federal agency for hiring veterans? Try Congress. Despite numerous efforts by lawmakers in recent years to spur veterans employment in the private sector, few congressional offices have followed suit. A new survey estimates that fewer than 180 veterans are employed as Capitol Hill staff, a mere 3 percent of the 6,000-plus employees there. For comparison, in fiscal 2012 nearly half of all Defense Department employees were veterans. One in three Veterans Affairs and Transportation Department workers were veterans that year, and the Education Department - one of the lowest veteran hiring rates among federal agencies - had just under 10 percent. Now, a network of veterans working in Congress is hoping to change that. HillVets, formed less than a year ago to connect and assist former military personnel working in the legislative branch, this month announced plans to double the number of veterans in those jobs by the start of the next legislative session, in January 2016." More here.

Who's Where When today: Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, Chief of the National Guard Bureau Army Gen. Frank Grass and U.S. Army Reserve Command Commanding General/Chief of the Army Reserve Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on "Army Active and Reserve force mix in review of the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2015 and the Future Years Defense Program" at 9:30 a.m., in room SD-G50, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

In a new report, CSIS's Maren Leed and Ariel Robinson examine the current state of the soldier/squad system and how it might be best advanced in the face of constrained budgets, here.

The administration's nominee for the Pentagon's No. 2 post thinks strategy before weapons. For the Daily Beast, Bill Sweetman: "...What makes [Bob] Work an unusual nominee at his level is that he arrives with a record of thinking about strategy, in the sense of matching goals to resources. In his time at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), before his four years as deputy Navy secretary, and his tenure as head of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), Work led and supported studies that came to specific conclusions about new opportunities and challenges for the U.S. and its allies. One area where his views could have an early effect is on the battle over the Navy's next-generation drone, the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike (UCLASS), should look like. It pits the advocates of a stealthy and offensive aircraft against those who support something that poses less of a threat, whether to well-defended adversaries or their own pet programs. More here.

Fort Hood Sparks Gun Control Fight Between Republicans and Pentagon. FP's John Hudson: "Hawkish Republicans and the senior leadership of the Pentagon typically see eye-to-eye on most things, but the deadly shooting at Fort Hood last week has exposed a rift on a highly-charged issue: Gun control. After U.S. Army Specialist Ivan Antonio Lopez killed three troops and wounded 16 others last week, Republicans on Capitol Hill began calling for new legislation to allow servicemembers to carry concealed weapons on U.S. bases. The measures are strongly opposed by the Pentagon, which says they would be costly and do nothing to improve security at bases." Full story here.

It took Specialist Ivan Lopez eight minutes to fire at least 35 rounds, injure 16 and kill three. The Army released a detailed account of how the shooting at Fort Hood unfolded. The NYT's Manny Fernandez and Alan Blinder: "...Lopez, 34, stayed on the move throughout the rampage, driving in his own vehicle to three buildings - including his transportation unit's headquarters and another office where he worked - shooting and killing a soldier in each. As he drove from building to building, he also fired at soldiers on the street and in a passing car, wounding several, before he was confronted by a police officer, put his gun to his head and took his own life, the official said.

"Specialist Lopez's assault started at about 4 p.m. inside the administrative office of his unit, the 49th Transportation Battalion, said Chris Grey, a spokesman for the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, the lead agency investigating the shooting. Investigators have not yet established a clear motive, but the catalyst appeared to be an argument Specialist Lopez had with soldiers from his unit about his request for a leave of absence to attend to family matters. In that argument, he expressed anger over the processing of the request, officials said. One of the soldiers in that meeting, Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook, described the specialist as "irate."

The Pentagon's reliance on Europe is ‘wishful thinking.' RAND's Michael Shurkin and Chris Pernin for Defense One: "The Pentagon's latest four-year strategy guide, called the 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review, or QDR, is for the most part an admirably sober proposal for meeting current and anticipated defense requirements in light of growing fiscal austerity. The bottom line is that the U.S. military must do more with less, perhaps even a lot less. One area where it lapses into a bit of wishful thinking, however, is with the expressed desire that the United States better coordinate with its European allies toward the shared objective of strengthening NATO military capability. This is one area that deserves another look." More here.

Making "bug splats" into art: artists assault on drone warfare. FP's Elias Groll: "In 2012, the journalist Michael Hastings revealed to the wider world that American drone operators had adopted a morbid term to describe those killed by one of their missiles: "bug splats." The term, Hastings explained, had become popular "since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed."

That phrase seems to sum-up the problems that have plagued the American drone war, which has left thousands of civilians dead and has been beset by criticism that the use of such weapons has inaugurated a new era of impersonal, video game-like warfare.

"An art collective is now trying to turn the term 'bug splats' on its head with a provocative new installation in a remote area of Pakistan that features a giant portrait of a survivor of an American drone strike that killed much of her family. The collective, whose members live in the United States, France, and Pakistan, printed the image on the kind of vinyl tarp found in most Pakistani villages and unfurled it about two weeks ago, though they won't say where." More here.

National Security

FP's Situation Report: On FP, the disturbing story of the U.N.'s failed peacekeeping mission in Darfur

A runoff likely in Afg., but election a signal of smoother relations; Hagel to send destroyers to Asia; LT says: "your soldiers will amaze you;" and a bit more. 

By Gordon Lubold with Nathaniel Sobel

An FP investigation: How the U.N. mission in Darfur failed - and why.  After the Darfur genocide, the U.N. sent in 20,000 peacekeepers with a single mission - to protect the region's civilians. But an FP investigation by FP's Colum Lynch details why they failed and what the U.N. knew about it. The three-part series begins with a March 2013 incident in which refugees under the nominal protection of the peacekeepers were kidnapped by armed rebels before being robbed and beaten.

The U.N. officials said they did all they could to protect them. The victims said, though, said they were handed over without a fight. Several said they even saw the U.N. soldiers flashing "thumbs up" signs to the kidnappers as the buses drove off. The U.N. personnel peacekeepers, one of the bus drivers told investigators, "did nothing." FP's Colum Lynch's piece on the Darfur Debacle; this one is called "They Just Stood Watching," and this is Part One:  

"At 6:20 p.m. on March 24, 2013, a convoy of United Nations and African Union peacekeepers escorting three buses of displaced residents of Darfur to a peace conference was stopped by a group of uniformed men in a pair of Toyota Land Cruisers. Mistaking the heavily armed men for government soldiers, the convoy commander, Lt. Paulinus Ifeanyi Nnadi, stepped out of his armored vehicle to talk them into allowing the vehicles through. As he walked toward the SUVs, five gun trucks filled with armed rebel fighters opposed to the talks roared out of the bush.

"The rebels boarded the buses and ordered the drivers to follow them away from the main road. The captives were driven to a rebel stronghold where insurgents opposed to the peace talks stole their cell phones, bags, clothes, watches, and cash. They were then separated into groups of men and women and put into small cells where, according to several victims, they were beaten. Six days later, the rebels released their captives to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Nnadi, the peacekeeper's commander, later told U.N. investigators that his forces had attempted to prevent the abductors from heading off with the civilians. The victims and bus drivers, though, said they were handed over without a fight. Several said they even saw the U.N. soldiers flashing "thumbs up" signs to the kidnappers as the buses drove off. The U.N. personnel peacekeepers, one of the bus drivers told investigators, 'did nothing.'

"The mass March 24 kidnapping -- the details of which have never been publicly disclosed by the U.N. -- marked a humiliating setback for troops from the African Union/United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), a beleaguered, U.N.-funded force that was established specifically to protect Darfur's citizens from a renewal of the genocide that had raged in the region years earlier, leaving more than 200,000 dead. The peacekeepers, though, have been bullied by government security forces and rebels, stymied by American and Western neglect, and left without the weapons necessary to fight in a region where more peacekeepers have been killed than in any other U.N. mission in the world. The violence that once consumed Darfur, meanwhile, has returned with a vengeance, resulting in civilian casualties and the large-scale flight of terrified men, women, and children.

"Drawing on a massive trove of highly confidential UNAMID documents -- including thousands of pages of emails, police reports, internal investigations and diplomatic cables -- Foreign Policy will over the next three days publish a series of articles that shed light on how Darfur's combatants, particularly the Sudanese government, have effectively neutered the U.N. peacekeeping mission, undermining its capacity to fulfill its primary duty to protect nearly 2 million civilians displaced by Sudan's genocide. During the past year alone, more than 500,000 terrified men, women, and children have poured into the region's already overcrowded refugee camps." Read the rest of Colum's incredible tale here.

Welcome to Monday's edition of Situation Report, version 2.0. If you'd like to sign up to receive Situation Report, send us a note at and we'll just stick you on. 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: Do please follow us @glubold and @njsobe4.


After the vote, Dunford urges Kabul to allow a foreign force to remain. The FT's Michael Peel in Kabul: "NATO's commander in Afghanistan on Sunday hit back at fears that the drawdown of his troops could lead to the collapse into civil war that followed the end of Soviet occupation more than 20 years ago. General Joseph Dunford said the peaceful voting in heavily populated areas for Saturday's presidential election had shown that Afghan soldiers were capable of securing the country.

"However, he also urged the government to sign a deal to allow a small foreign force to stay. While many Afghans went to the polls with optimism in their country's first democratic transfer of power, the long-flagged withdrawal of almost all NATO forces has also sparked anxiety. This has undermined the economy and raised memories of past conflict. ‘We are not leaving, we are transitioning - there's a big difference,' Gen Dunford said in an interview at the widespread fortified compound of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in central Kabul. ‘I don't view what we are doing as withdrawing, so I reject the analogy with the Soviet days.'" More here.

John Allen says the U.S. must commit to a post-2014 force: "Very shortly now the U.S. and the international community ought to be unambiguously committing ourselves to a post-2014 presence in this country," Allen said told CFR's Gayle Lemmon, writing on Defense One. He called the vote "an enormous accomplishment by the Afghan people." Read the rest here.

Page One: Afghan elections likely point to a run off.  The WSJ's Yaroslav Trofimov and Margherita Stancati in Kabul: "Former World Bank executive Ashraf Ghani and opposition leader Abdullah Abdullah appeared to be the two front-runners in Afghanistan's presidential election, sidelining a candidate viewed as President Hamid Karzai's favorite, according to partial results tallied by news organizations and one candidate.
"A victory for Mr. Ghani or Mr. Abdullah could significantly reduce the influence of Mr. Karzai, who has ruled Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S. invasion and paved the way for a long-term security deal with the U.S. that Mr. Karzai has not agreed to sign, a refusal that has infuriated Washington.
"Messrs. Ghani and Abdullah both say they will sign the bilateral security agreement, which is needed to maintain American aid and a limited U.S. military presence in Afghanistan once the international coalition's current mandate expires in December." More here.

Seven million voted in a country in which 15 million were registered, but the turnout was significant. The Atlantic's Uri Friedman: " estimated 7 million Afghans headed to the polls to choose from a roster of presidential candidates whose average age is 63. This in a country where 68 percent of the population is under the age of 25-where seven in 10 people were 12 or younger when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. Arguably the most important storyline in this weekend's election-which marks the first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan's modern history-is the participation of Afghan youth, who will play an outsize role in shaping the country's future as U.S. troops withdraw." Full story here.

If you don't know anything about the military - or even if you do - you should read this bit by a lieutenant in Afghanistan on the War Council blog.   Army 1st Lt. Scott Ginther on "What I Wish I Knew," here. #17: Your Soldiers will do amazing things: "Far more often than your Soldiers doing stupid things, you will be blown away at how talented they are.  I have the following Soldiers in my platoon: a former blacksmith and rodeo clown, a NASCAR pit crewman, two carpenters, a private who is a multi-millionaire and drives and Audi R8, a Sugar Bowl-winning, University of West Virginia offensive lineman and a SSG who graduated college at 17 years old and taught physics at Tulane before the age of 26."

Sea Air Space Expo begins at the Gaylord National in Washington, D.C. today. Deets here.

Pro-Russian protestors seize government buildings in eastern Ukraine. LA Times' Sergei Loiko: "Pro-Russia demonstrators on Sunday seized at least three government buildings in industrial cities of eastern Ukraine, which has been plagued by demonstrations in favor of stronger ties to Moscow. Early in the day several hundred demonstrators carrying Russian flags pushed through a police cordon in front of the regional administration building in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, the UNIAN news agency reported. There were no officials or employees at work in the building and the police refrained from using force to stop the protesters, the report said. The demonstrators demanded a referendum in the region aimed at joining Russia and called for the release of former riot police officers arrested in Kiev last week. The officers are being held on suspicion of shooting protesters in the Ukrainian capital during violent clashes in February that led to the overthrow of pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovich." More here.

A possible break in the search for 370 could come just in time. The WaPo's Chico Harlan: "An Australian navy vessel searching for a missing Malaysian passenger jet has picked up deep-sea acoustic signals 'consistent' with those emitted by an airplane's black box, the leader of the multinational search operation said Monday. Though officials cautioned that they had not yet confirmed the plane's location, the signals mark the most promising lead in a month-long search. If the acoustic noises ultimately lead searchers to the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the timing of this breakthrough is extraordinarily fortunate: The batteries powering the plane's emergency beacons will likely run out within hours or days. Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said at a press conference in Perth - the noises are "probably the best information we've had" so far." The rest here.

Asia Pivoting: A day before landing in China, Hagel announces the deployment of two Navy destroyers to Japan. Reuters' Phil Stewart and Nobuhiro Kubo: "The United States moved on Sunday to reassure Tokyo over its mounting security concerns, saying it would send more missile defense ships to Japan following North Korean launches and use a high level trip to warn China against abusing its ‘great power.' Japan has watched with alarm in recent weeks as North Korea carried out a series of missile launches, including firing two medium-range missiles capable of hitting the U.S. ally. Tokyo has also voiced growing anxiety over China's military buildup and increasingly assertive behavior in a territorial dispute over East China Sea islands. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that two Navy destroyers equipped with missile defense systems would be deployed to Japan by 2017. It was a response, he said, to provocations from the North, which has also threatened to carry out a ‘new form' of nuclear test." More here.

I'll show you mine if you show me... Cyberdefense is at the top of the agenda on Hagel's visit to China but reciprocation isn't yet there. The NYT's David Sanger: "In the months before Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's arrival in Beijing on Monday, the Obama administration quietly held an extraordinary briefing for the Chinese military leadership on a subject officials have rarely discussed in public: the Pentagon's emerging doctrine for defending against cyberattacks against the United States - and for using its cybertechnology against adversaries, including the Chinese. The idea was to allay Chinese concerns about plans to more than triple the number of American cyberwarriors to 6,000 by the end of 2016, a force that will include new teams the Pentagon plans to deploy to each military combatant command around the world.

"But the hope was to prompt the Chinese to give Washington a similar briefing about the many People's Liberation Army units that are believed to be behind the escalating attacks on American corporations and government networks. So far, the Chinese have not reciprocated - a point Mr. Hagel plans to make in a speech at the P.L.A.'s National Defense University on Tuesday." Full story here.

Milley has been getting good reviews for his steady hand at Fort Hood: he's seen as candid and forthright. And he's no stranger to combat. The WaPo's Greg Jaffe on Page One: "... Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley wrapped his arms around the woman and tried to console her in the hallway outside the hospital room. 'I've been in a lot of combat zones,' he said. 'I've seen a lot of wounded and injured soldiers. He's going to be okay.' Milley had returned to Fort Hood late last month, after a one-year tour of Afghanistan and a short leave. Eleven days later, Spec. Ivan Lopez opened fire on troops in his transportation unit and a surrounding two-block area, killing three soldiers and wounding 16 before he took his own life. As Milley visited the hospital Saturday, he was still wearing his Afghanistan combat boots, which had his blood type and the last four digits of his Social Security number written in marker on the ankle." More here.

Five years after the first Fort Hood shooting, the Army faces questions about why it couldn't prevent a second. FP's Lubold: "The Pentagon insists the changes put in place after the 2009 massacre at Fort Hood prevented this week's mass shooting there from being much worse. But its not yet clear that's true, and senior Army generals will face intensive scrutiny in the days and weeks ahead about whether they could have done more to keep Spec. Ivan Lopez from killing three fellow soldiers and wounding 16 more. In the aftermath of the Fort Hood shooting five years ago, a commission established by then-Defense Secretary Bob Gates created a laundry list of recommendations designed to better identify troubled soldiers, create systems to more quickly alert the soldiers and family members living at a base about an ongoing attack, and accelerate the speech at which medical care is provided to the wounded. Pentagon officials say that most of those changes that had been put in place at Fort Hood before Lopez, a 34-year-old Iraq veteran with a history of depression, allegedly walked into two different locations on the sprawling Texas base and opened fire." More here.

The Obamas will attend the memorial service at Fort Hood on Wednesday, more here. 

These images are not of American troops in Afghanistan: they are Mexican soldiers in Mexico. But heroin is surging north out of Mexico and spreading into the U.S. See the pics and read that one here.

Hayden is out on a limb, and it's getting ugly over the Senate torture report. The HuffPo's Emily Swanson: "Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, may be too ‘emotional' to have produced a fair report on the CIA's use of torture, former CIA Director Michael Hayden said Sunday. Speaking on ‘Fox News Sunday' about a Senate Intelligence Committee report which criticizes the CIA program as excessive and ineffective at fighting terrorism, Hayden said Feinstein ‘wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.' ‘That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator, but I don't think it leads you to an objective report,' Hayden said." More here.

ICYMI: The CIA ain't going quietly on the drone war. Michael Sheehan, formerly at the Pentagon: "Some might want to get the C.I.A. out of the killing business, but that's not happening anytime soon." Read the NYT's Mark Mazzetti's story on Sunday's Page One, here.