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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, January 28, 2013 at 4:09 PM

A major story in the Washington Post over the weekend if you didn’t catch it: Ellen Nakashima on the DOD’s ramping up of Cyber Command staffing, increasing by more than four-fold the size of the command. Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times writes on the details as well.

And Ben already linked to Charlie Savage’s story in the New York Times about Brigadier General Mark Martins’ strategy in the 9/11 case, but here it is anyways.

Colum Lynch and Abigail Hauslohner update us on the efforts to free the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving life in prison for his role in the 1993 WTC bombing and plot to attack the UN headquarters building.

The latest on the investigation into the siege of an Algerian gas plant from the Wall Street Journal: investigators are considering whether employees of the plant may have played a role in the attack, given the technical knowledge that the attackers seemed to have about the plant.

Margherita Stancati of the Wall Street Journal reports on a series of attacks in Afghanistan this weekend. Militants targeted dozens of Afghan officials and killed at least 23 of them.

And another report making the case that Afghan’s army and police are not ready to take full responsibility for the security of the country, comes out of the Center for Civilians in Conflict. Here’s Kevin Sieff of the Post on that.

French troops in Mali have successfully surrounded and sealed off Timbuktu, which for the ten monthshas been ruled by Al Qaeda forces. Here’s Sam Schechner and Drew Hinshaw of the Journal on that critical step forward, as well as Al Jazeera. And over the weekend, Ernesto Londono detailed the U.S. support efforts in Mali in the Washington Post, and Reuters reported on French President Hollande’s comments that once it has helped defeat the Islamists in northern Mali, securing the rest of the country would be up to Malian and African forces.

In other Africa news, AFRICOM will be setting up a drone base somewhere in northwest Africa to launch surveillance drones from. Here’s Eric Schmitt of the Times.

Over in Libya, the British embassy in Tripoli said it has heard reports of a threat against it and Westerners in Benghazi more generally. Here’s the Reuters story with the details.

Joel Schectman discusses in the Wall Street Journal the results of a survey conducted amongst bank IT managers on cybersecurity threats. Sixty-four percent of respondents faced DDoS attacks in the last year.

We at Brookings attended an excellent event with Retired General Stanley McChrystal this morning, Gen. McChrystal also spoke on Sunday about the recent decision by the DoD to allow women in combat. Asked whether women might be eligible for special operations forces (the SEALS, the Rangers, etc.), he said:

I think you’ll see them probably in all of those units…You already see them serving in functions around those units: intelligence, pilots and whatnot. There are positions that are much better for females, there are things you can do in special operations with females that are more difficult to do with just males. So I think it will come.

Jeremy Herb of The Hill recounts the interview here.

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