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National Security Brief: Rebels Brace For Syrian Gov’t Offensive

— Syria’s government sent significant reinforcements toward its most-populous city of Aleppo yesterday “in what some observers said could shape up to be a pivotal battle in the 18-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.”

— Senate Republicans John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte are hitting the road to key battleground states warning about the looming military spending sequester.

— Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, said the surge of U.S. Marines in southwestern Afghanistan has broken the Taliban’s grip on the area, allowing coalition forces to begin turning over security to Afghans.

— A top Mitt Romney adviser accused National Security Adviser Tom Donilon of leaking classified intelligence to the New York Times.

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— Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the U.S. military is experiencing a suicide “epidemic,” with as many as 206 service members having taken their own lives this year.