CONFLICTING STORIES ABOUT KUNDUZ HOSPITAL. Stories aren’t lining up about what really precipitated the U.S. airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz over the weekend, killing 22. The Washington Post reports the Pentagon said it was ordered to protect U.S. forces in the area. But the top commander in Afghanistan said that the strike occurred because Afghan troops who had come under fire requested it. Doctors Without Borders is holding the United States squarely responsible, but the lack of clarity in the explanation is raising more questions about just why the strike occurred, whether it was a mistake, and whether there will be any repercussions for the deadly attack.

CHECKING CHINA’S CLOUT. The New York Times reports that the United States sees the new Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact concluded Monday as its best chance to counter the heft of China, the region’s undisputed economic superpower which has also started to flex its muscles in other areas, such as its island-building spree in the South China Sea. The TPP can’t necessarily hold back China’s growth and development — which continues despite a recent economic slowdown and uncertainty about whether China will head into some form of protracted slowdown. But the TPP could give the United States a foothold to keep some skin in the game. If Congress approves it, that is.

BACKING OFF THE CUTTING EDGE? Defense One has a report about how the Pentagon’s acquisition team’s recent efforts to rein in costs have meant the United States is no longer as technologically heads and shoulders above the competition as it once was. That could give rivals, such as Russia and China, a window to catch up. And while the arms of those countries haven’t yet surpassed the technological prowess of the United States, officials are worried that relaxing the push to be the most advanced will have adverse consequences down the line.