* On Friday the UK’s House of Commons voted 524-43 in favor of joining a military coalition against ISIS. This includes authorizing strikes in Iraq, but explicitly excludes strikes in Syria which would have to be subject to a separate vote. On Saturday 2 Tornado GR4s proceeded [UK MOD] to fly over Iraq where they collected intelligence but didn’t find targets to strike. Less than 2 months ago Prime Minister David Cameron was ruling out military action. British Forces News video.
* At the 60 Minutes Sunday TV show President Obama admitted that the US government had underestimated ISIS. Or rather, “they” in the intelligence community did, to quote the President more accurately. Through 2013 the White House didn’t want to know, or help much as late as early 2014. The official narrative all along was that “Al Qaeda is on the run” despite ample evidence to the contrary, so finding someone else to blame for the current fallout is not entirely surprising.
* US Defense Secretary Hagel told reporters that the Pentagon is working with Congressional committees to increase the OCO budget (i.e. war spending) in order so sustain operations against ISIS, costed at $7M-$10M a day.
* The Guardian: Isis reconciles with al-Qaida group as Syria air strikes continue.
* Afghan translators are still stranded [Magic Valley] in visa bureaucracy while the Taliban threat is worsening.
* Pakistan’s military claims [Deutsche Welle] that its offensive against the Taliban in North Waziristan, underway since June, has led to the death of more than 1,000 militants. Chris Alexander, Canada’s current Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and ambassador to Afghanistan a decade ago, continues to believe [Khaama Press] that the Taliban have support within Pakistan’s government.
* JSF PEO Christopher Bogdan is finding [WSJ] that his office has to hedge for currency swings. A strengthening US dollar makes the aircraft more expensive to foreign buyers, and it’s more difficult for foreign subcontractors to meet cost-cutting goals. But you if read DID you already knew that.
* David Boey, formerly a defense journalist at Singapore’s Straits Times, notes the savvy use by the Royal Malaysian Navy of old civilians vessels [Jane’s] and oil rigs [Malay Mail] to improve their anti-piracy capabilities on a budget.
* China’s anti-corruption drive/purge among its civilian and military officials continues according to privately-owned China Daily.
* China’s East China Navy Fleet conducts a training exercise in the South China Sea, with pictures on state-owned Xinhua.
* As India’s Prime Minister Modi is meeting President Obama today, the video below with Tanvi Madan from the Brookings Institution gives a good sense of how Modi’s recent meetings with China and Japan’s leaders played out: