Pompeo now leads the CIA; China angered by WH spokesman; A key NATO ally looks nervously east and west; Pact to enforce Syrian ceasefire; and just a bit more...

Mike Pompeo is the new director of the CIA, “with the Senate convening to approve his selection, 66 to 32, after a debate that stretched into the evening,” The New York Times reports. Earlier Monday, State Secretary nominee Rex Tillerson won the approval of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by a party-line tally of 11-10, sending his selection on to the full Senate, which is not expected to vote until next week, Reuters reports.  

SecDef Mattis spoke with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg by phone on Monday to discuss defense spending, terrorism and “the fundamental and enduring value of NATO for the security of both Europe and North America,” AP reported.

President Trump will make his first visit to the Pentagon Friday for Mattis’s swearing-in ceremony, Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday.

Inside the building, “Mattis is quickly taking charge of a Pentagon review to determine specific options to propose to President Donald Trump to accelerate the war against ISIS,” CNN reports this morning, adding, “Some initial ideas could be presented possibly as soon as this week, according to defense officials.”

Two talked-about options: “One is to ‘pull’ more information from the White House on how it wants to proceed. The other is to ‘push’ to Trump some existing options that Barack Obama never approved when he was in the White House [like arming Syrian Kurds directly, and deploying American troops to Syria for the battle to retake Raqqa]. These options have been developed with enough detail that the President could quickly sign new presidential authority orders to start the process rolling, although it could take weeks and months to see an impact on the battlefield.”

Adds CNN: “One key question will be whether Trump will change the Obama policy and agree that Syria's Bashar al-Assad should remain in power.” And that point was made no more clear during Monday’s briefing by Spicer when he said the U.S. was not against working with Russia in Syria, but he wouldn’t commit to cooperation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has been more or less hand-in-glove with Russia for months. More from CNN, here.

Mattis called Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan on Monday for his first call to a foreign counterpart.

In other Trump cabinet news, the FBI says it has found nothing illicit in National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador in late December. “Although Flynn’s contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were listened to, Flynn himself is not the active target of an investigation, U.S. officials said.” The Washington Post has that one, here.

Trump’s press secretary infuriated China on Monday, and Beijing’s foreign ministry struck back this morning, claiming “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters,” Reuters reports.

What Spicer said: "The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests” in the South China Sea. He was responding to a question about whether “Trump agreed with comments by his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson” who on Jan. 11 “said China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea,” Reuters reports. Said the spox: "It's a question of if those islands are in fact in international waters and not part of China proper, then yeah, we're going to make sure that we defend international territories from being taken over by one country."

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said this morning: "The United States is not a party to the South China Sea issue...We urge the United States to respect the facts, speak and act cautiously to avoid harming the peace and stability of the South China Sea."

Adds Reuters: “Spicer declined to elaborate when asked how the United States could enforce such a move against China, except to say: ‘I think, as we develop further, we'll have more information on it.’” Story here.

For what it’s worth: “On Tuesday leading Chinese newspaper the Global Times called for the country to expand its nuclear arsenal to ‘force the US to respect it,’” AFP reports.

President Trump also withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Monday, throwing the old Obama-era “Asia pivot” into uncertainty, Stars and Stripes reports from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.

Spicer also suggested that Trump “would be open to military cooperation with Russia to fight Islamic State, a move that would be a big policy change for the U.S. government, and one that would run afoul of current law.” The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act forbids most contact with the Russian military “until Russia has ceased its occupation of Ukrainian territory and its aggressive activities that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.” Los Angeles Times, here. And The Wall Street Journal has more, here.

From Defense One

A Key NATO Ally Looks Nervously at Putin—and Trump // Bradley Peniston: Norway is upping its readiness to ward off Russia, but what it really wants is for Washington to set a transatlantic security policy and stick to it.

Trump's Air Force Nominee Could Bring Strong Voice to Capitol Hill // Marcus Weisgerber: Who is Heather Wilson?

No Way to Honor Sacrifice // Andrew Exum, via The Atlantic: On Saturday, President Trump stood in front of the CIA's Memorial Wall and gave a speech that said more about himself than those the wall commemorated, or the agency they served.

The Knowns and Unknowns of Trump's Cyber Plan // Nextgov’s Joseph Marks: Questions surround how the new president will tackle cybersecurity.

Trump's First Budget Could Be A Unique Mix of Severe Cuts and Increased Spending // GovExec’s Kellie Lunney: New presidents typically unveil a broad budget plan in February, and a more detailed version in the spring.

Welcome to Tuesday edition of The D Brief by Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. Happy 14th birthday to the Department of Homeland Security. (Enjoy the D Brief? Send your friends this link: http://get.defenseone.com/d-brief/. And let us know your news: the-d-brief@defenseone.com.)

Emoluments Watch: President Trump has begun turning the operation of his businesses over to his sons, but retains the ownership that gives him unprecedented conflicts of interest around the globe. NPR reports, here, noting that the filings in several states may have started after a ProPublica report over the weekend noted no such progress.

Meanwhile, an ethics watchdog has sued Trump, alleging violations of the Constitution’s emoluments clause. NYT, here.

(ICYMI: Defense One is tracking Trump’s national-security conflicts-of-interest, here.)

Pakistan says it has test-fired a ballistic missile. Officials, who gave no date for the test, said the Ababeel missile can carry multiple nuclear warheads some 1,400 miles, evading radar along the way. AP reports.

Japan launches its first military communications satellite. Part of a planned high-bandwidth, three-sat constellation that will replace the civilian satellites now in use, Kirameki-2 is “aimed at stepping up Japan's emergency response capability in case of natural disaster, China's maritime activity from southern Japanese waters to the South China Sea, as well as missile threats from North Korea. The satellites are also planned for use for Japanese troops operating overseas as part of international peacekeeping operations, including those in South Sudan and off the Somali coast, Kyodo News reported.” AP, here.

Russia, Iran and Turkey say they will jointly enforce a Syrian ceasefire, Reuters reports from the Astana peace talks in Kazakhstan. AP tried to fill in the gaps, writing, “the three countries said they will use their ‘influence’ to strengthen the truce, without specifying how that would work. The statement signed by the three sponsors also says the agreement in Astana paves the way for political talks to be held in Geneva on Feb. 8, and welcomed the rebel groups' participation in the U.N. sponsored talks.”

Kazakhstan's foreign minister, Kairat Abdrakhmanov, read out a final statement at the conclusion of the talks, which “said the three nations will continue their joint efforts in fighting the extremist Islamic State group and the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria. They called on the opposition to separate themselves from an al-Qaida-affiliate in Syria, a sticky point that has previously been the reason for the failure of previous cease-fire. The rebel groups have formed close links with the group, known as Fatah al-Sham Front, on the ground. Tough fighters, Fatah al-Sham is excluded from the cease-fire according to the government, but the rebels say the truce should include all of Syria." More here.

Syria’s northwestern region saw renewed rebel-on-rebel violence Monday as “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham targeted FSA groups.” Reuters has that one, here.

In Iraq, Baghdad’s troops are still fighting ISIS in the eastern half of Mosul, despite a seemingly premature announcement Monday that the eastern half was clear of ISIS militants, AP reports.

While Trump seeks to ramp up the war on ISIS, outgoing U.S. Air Force Secretary Deborah James says intensifying the air campaign against ISIS will kill more innocent Iraqis and Syrians, U.S. News’ Paul Shinkman reports after speaking with James. Find that, here.

Finally today: Do you have thoughts on how large Trump’s defense budget will be? The Center for Strategic and International Studies wants your feedback in a crowd-sourced survey they’ve entitled “Trump’s Defense Budget: Place Your Bet!” They also want to know your ideas for what the Overseas Contingency Operations fund should be called. “Those with the most accurate predictions (and most clever names—PG-rated please!—for the war funding) get a free lunch with the CSIS experts!” they write. More here.