OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Senate gets back to work after holiday break

C'mon down: A Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee hearing titled "Other Witnesses" could mean any number of things. But with a witness list of 24 people, you can guarantee that it's going to be a long day on Capitol Hill. The hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, will have representatives running the gamut, from the Air Force Sergeants Association to the American Psychological Association. With that kind of group, we here at DEFCON aren't quite sure where the discussion will take place during the hearing. But sources say it will focus on available DOD-financed study and research dollars in the pending fiscal 2013 defense bill. Sources also tell us it's one of Appropriations Defense subpanel Chairman Daniel Inouye's (D-Hawaii) favorite hearings of the year. We shall see. 

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Jobs for vets: Jumping off President Obama’s speech last Friday pushing for a new veterans jobs program, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is holding a hearing Tuesday to look at government contractors and the hiring of military veterans. The subcommittee McCaskill chairs, the Homeland Security Contracting Oversight subcommittee, found that much of the data government contractors provide on hiring veterans was incomplete or incorrect. Officials from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, VetsJobs and several others will be testifying.

NATO’s energy security: The Atlantic Council is holding a panel discussion about NATO’s role in energy security, looking back at the NATO Summit in Chicago. The speakers include Michael Ruhle, head of the Energy Security Section of NATO's Emerging Security Challenges Division; Wess Mitchell, president of the Center for European Policy Analysis; and Robert Cekuta, principal deputy assistant secretary of State. And while we're on the subject of energy and security...

Our man in Iran: An insider to Tehran’s nuclear program from 2003-2007 has told his tale in a book that’s set to be released on Tuesday. Seyed Hossein Mousavian served as Iran’s chief nuclear spokesman and as an adviser to the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council before he was arrested and accused of espionage by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Mousavian was later cleared, and he is now an associate research scholar at Princeton University living in the United States. In his book, The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir, Mousavian analyzes Tehran’s nuclear negotiations with the West and provides his solution for the current impasse over Iran’s nuclear program. He will discuss his book Tuesday morning at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Keep it brief: Iran, energy security, jobs for vets — all these issues could be fair game on Tuesday when Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Media Operations Capt. John Kirby holds a media briefing at the Pentagon. The DOD spokesman will likely field questions on Defense Secretary's recent trip to the Pacific for the Shangri-La defense talks in Singapore. Then again, Kirby could weigh in on Monday's U.S. drone strike against terrorist targets in Pakistan, which was the third unmanned airstrike in as many days. Media attending the briefing might want a little more explanation on what Defense Secretary Leon Panetta meant when he said last Thursday that postponing a vote on automatic defense cuts until the lame-duck session was "unacceptable."

Whatever comes up, we at DEFCON will get it to you first.


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