By Chris Lawrence
Top U.S. military commanders could soon be heading to new jobs with steep challenges.
President Barack Obama has nominated Gen. John Allen to become the next Supreme Allied Commander Europe, in which he would oversee NATO military operations.
Taking Allen's place in Afghanistan would be Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, who would see the war through some of its final fighting seasons.
"If confirmed by the Senate, he will lead our forces through key milestones in our effort that will allow us to bring the war to a close responsibly, as Afghanistan takes full responsibility for its security," Obama said in a statement.
By Mallory Simon and Jason Hanna
Some publicly known details of the September 11 killings of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, have changed in the weeks since the attack.
U.S. officials initially said the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and a nearby U.S. annex came as protesters outside the consulate rallied against an online video that unflatteringly portrays Islam's Prophet Mohammed. That explanation seems to have shifted as investigations progressed.
The following is the latest information that CNN has gleaned about the attack, and some unanswered questions.
At a contentious congressional hearing Wednesday, two State Department officials defended the Obama administration's handling of the terrorist attack in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
Speaking before the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee, Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy responded to insinuations that the State Department was responsible for a lack of preparedness ahead of the Benghazi consulate attack.
"We regularly assess risk and resource allocation, a process involving the considered judgments of experienced professionals on the ground and in Washington, using the best available information," Kennedy said.
The assault on the U.S. compound was "an unprecedented attack by dozens of heavily armed men," Kennedy said.
His colleague, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs Charlene Lamb, added that the state department "had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time," drawing a sharp rebuke from committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California.
"To start off by saying you had the correct number, and our ambassador and three other individuals are dead, and people are in the hospital recovering because it only took moments to breach that facility somehow doesn't seem to ring true to the American people," Issa said.
By Pam Benson
Looming across-the-board cuts to the intelligence community budget will be devastating if Congress fails to act according to the nation's top intelligence officer.
"If sequestration is allowed to happen, it will be disastrous for intelligence," Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a group of intelligence officers and contractors gathered at a conference in Orland on Tuesday.
Clapper said every major intelligence program is "in jeopardy of being wounded" because the budget deal Congress passed last year does not allow the intelligence community any flexibility to prioritize needs.
"The current arrangement pre supposes that everything we do in intelligence is of equal import and we all know that's not the case,' Clapper said.
The cuts would be approximately 10% and would impact programs as well as personnel.