Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump's sudden orders to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan — and Defense Secretary James Mattis' subsequent resignation — have left even the most high-ranking U.S. military officials questioning what they should be telling their troops on the ground, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“I don’t think anybody really knows exactly what’s going to happen. I’ve read the same stuff in the newspaper you did, I have a little more knowledge than that, but not a whole lot more.”
— Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps.

The big picture: Military commanders have reportedly received "no timelines, hard numbers or orders" from the Pentagon — “Nothing formal, just tweets,” said Navy Secretary Richard Spencer. One official told the Journal that the resignation of Mattis was "more devastating" than the withdrawal, while another said that the defense secretary's exit in late February would allow for "adequate continuity." This was, of course, before Trump revealed Sunday that Mattis would be forced out by Jan. 1.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccinesWisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b---ards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown as cases surge — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections

USA Today breaks tradition by endorsing Joe Biden

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

USA Today, one of the largest newspapers by circulation in America, gave Joe Biden its first-ever presidential endorsement on Tuesday.

The big picture: A slew of media companies are endorsing a candidate this year for the first time ever, citing the unprecedented nature of this election.

1 hour ago - Technology

Exclusive: AP to call elections for Alexa and other Big Tech channels

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Many of the world's biggest tech and telecom companies, like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and AT&T, are licensing the Associated Press' election results to power their voice, video and search products, executives tell Axios.

How it works: Because tech firms need to answer millions of unique voice commands and search queries in real time, the results will be coded through an API — an interface that a computer program can read — designed to handle "not enough results in yet" and "too close to call" cases.