National Security Brief: 10,000 U.S. Troops May Stay In Afghanistan Post-2014

— The Wall Street Journal reports: Top Obama administration officials want to keep around 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when formal combat ends in 2014, cementing a limited, long-term American military presence in the country if Kabul agrees. Another plan calls for a American counterterrorism force of no more than 1,000 troops.

— Syrian rebels are making significant advances against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, having captured five important military bases near the capital Damascus in the last week, including an important military air base and air defense base on Sunday.

— Demonstration’s against Egyptian President Muhammed Morsi’s recent power grab is causing cracks within the Islamist leader’s cabinet as his justice minister called for the government to back down and three of his senior advisers have resigned because of it.

— Obama administration officials accelerated work on developing rules for targeted killings of terrorists by unmanned drones so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures. “[T]he president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized,” the New York Times reported on Saturday, adding, “a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency.”

— Bradley Manning’s attorneys plan to argue for their client’s release this week arguing that he was punished before his case had been heard — grounds, they say, to dismiss all charges against him.

— The Chinese military has for the first time, successfully landed a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier.