– The Department of Defense will submit a five-year budget to Congress accounting for $250 billion or more of the about $450 billion the department is expected to cut within ten years, according to comments by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
– Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, a top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said Pakistan remains a central obstacle to ending the insurgency in Afghanistan, citing Pakistani “collaboration, or at a minimum looking the other way, when insurgents conducted rocket or mortar fire,” sometimes even literally within eye-shot of Pakistani forces.
– In a new step in Turkey’s campaign to undermine Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Turkish military is providing shelter for an armed Syrian opposition group, allowing them to orchestrate attacks across the border.
– A group of mostly Republican senators — including Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — is asking Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) for a full hearing on President Obama’s decision to withdrawal all U.S. troops from Iraq.
– A U.S. drone base in Ethiopia recently became operational, according to U.S. officials, another sign of the increasingly robust U.S. covert operations presence in the Horn of Africa — including bases in Djibouti and a C.I.A. station in Mogadishu, Somalia — and an even wider global program, with drone attacks launched in at least six countries.
– Republican senators are pushing a provision in a 2012 military authorization bill requiring al-Qaeda suspects, who are not American citizens, to be held in military custody even if arrested in the U.S.
– NATO announced it will end its air campaign over Libya next Monday following a U.N. Security Council decision to lift the no-fly zone and end military operations to protect civilians.
– Somalia expert Ken Menkhaus argues in a new paper for the Enough Project that international community’s focus on the political transition in Somalia is misplaced and should instead be geared toward helping those in need. “That the yardstick used to assess the TFG’s legitimacy and viability is progress in drafting constitutions and establishing committees rather than protecting the lives of its own citizens,” Menkhaus writes.