OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Panetta, Clinton push ‘Law of the Sea’ Treaty

But the treaty received a stamp of approval from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday ahead of the hearing. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said Tuesday that the treaty “ought to pass” and that he thought there was the necessary two-thirds support in the Senate to get it ratified.

Defense markup moving along: The Senate Armed Services Committee is moving to its full committee markup Wednesday after the subcommittees held their mark-ups on Tuesday. One of the subcommittee’s markups was open to the public — Sen. Clarie McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) Readiness subcommittee — while the rest were closed. There were no documents handed out about the markup in the subcommittee Tuesday, but McCaskill did say it cut operations and maintenance funds by $200 million.

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Levin said that he expected the overall bill would roughly align with President Obama’s defense budget request, which was about $4 billion above the spending caps set by the Budget Control Act and $3.7 billion lower than the bill that passed the House last week.

No changes on detainees: Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said that he did not anticipate making any changes to the detainee language from last year’s bill, an issue that was one of the most contentious during the House markup.

“We did not change the law in last year’s bill on this subject at all,” Levin told reporters Tuesday.

But Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who was among the most vocal opponents of the indefinite detention language in last year’s bill, is planning to mount another charge. An aide to Udall said the senator will press the issue in committee as well as on the floor.

Fleet week in New York: Springtime in New York City wouldn't be complete without the annual Navy spectacle known as Fleet Week. The Navy's highly anticipated port call into Manhattan comes with the usual pomp and circumstance, but this time around, defense giant Boeing is getting into the swing of things. Company officials will hold a media flight of its V-22 Osprey for reporters on Thursday, followed by a roundtable with program officials. The timing of the Boeing trip comes after a failed House effort to kill the program.

Service officials claim the airplane-helicopter hybrid has moved past its controversial beginnings and is a viable military aircraft. But a recent Osprey crash in April did renew some doubts on Capitol Hill about the aircraft's readiness.

Iran nuclear talks, take two: The second-round of Iranian nuclear talks get under way Wednesday in Baghdad, where the P5+1 group (the five permanent United Nations Security Council members plus Germany) will sit down with Iran. The talks are occurring two days after the Senate passed — after some false starts — additional economic sanctions against Iran. Many say that the tough sanctions from both the United States and European Union have helped bring Iran back to the negotiating table. There were reports from Baghdad Tuesday that Iran had granted greater access to the International Atomic Energy Agency after its head, Yukiya Amano, visited Tehran.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

— Afghan and Pakistan leaders will discuss supply lines.
— The Pentagon says it’s worried about counterfeit parts.
— Sen. Levin says detainee language won’t be changing.
— The Rohrabacher-Karzai feud continues.
— Ambassador Crocker is planning to leave Afghanistan.


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