NEW ARMY SECRETARY The Senate confirmed Eric Fanning as the country’s first openly gay Army secretary after a senator lifted his Guantanamo-related hold on Fanning’s nomination. Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts had blocked Fanning as a protest move against the administration’s plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo and move detainees to the U.S. mainland — potentially to be housed at Fort Leavenworth. But Roberts said he received assurances that the administration had run out of time to go around Congress to try to get this done before Obama leaves office.

SENATE STEPS UP TO SAUDIS Saudi Arabia has warned that it would be forced to offload U.S. investments if Congress passed a bill to give Sept. 11 victims the chance to sue the kingdom over its alleged support for terrorism. But neither that nor the threat of a White House veto deterred senators from passing the bill Tuesday. The matter now heads to the House, where leaders have not signaled that they are eager to take it up. Should it get through, the White House would likely veto the measure over concerns that it would be detrimental to standards of foreign sovereign immunity the U.S. should maintain.

NO MORE MONEY TO LAY DOWN AFGHAN ARMS Two hundred dollars a month — that’s how much it took to make certain Islamist fighters  lay down their arms, enter a safe house and renounce the radical life. But the program that used foreign aid to take 11,000 militants out of commission is running out of cash — and Afghan officials are worried that the consequences could be a return to a life of extremism.

The program had been going for six years before an unofficial suspension a few months ago  to reassess goals. It isn’t clear how effectively the program has worked in the long term, whether people who come to the program are really turning over all of their weapons, or if payments of a few hundred bucks a pop are really enough to overcome the radicalizing influence coming from outside the country.