By Carlo Muñoz and Jeremy Herb - 05/21/13 10:49 PM EDT
Budget markups from the House Armed Services subcommittees on Tactical Air and Land Forces and Military Readiness will be released on Wednesday.
Seapower subcommittee Chairman Randy ForbesRandy ForbesHouse GOP defense policy bill conferees named Ex-special ops group blasts Clinton email decision GOP rep faces recount in close primary race MORE (R-Va.) is pushing for a overhaul of the Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan to reflect the fiscal realities facing the service.
The measure could put Forbes at odds with senior Navy officials who are trying to map out what their fleet will look like over the next three decades.
Thornberry's legislation would require notification of the kill/capture missions not only to the House and Senate defense panels, but also the defense subcommittees on the House and Senate Appropriations panels.
In the Personnel subcommittee, panel members are aiming to change the military’s post-trial review process, as well as several other measures in order to address the rise of sexual assault in the military.
The legislation was released by Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Joe WilsonJoe WilsonOvernight Healthcare: Mysterious new Zika case | Mental health bill in doubt | Teletraining to fight opioids Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Green Beret: Nice attack part of orchestrated 'terror campaign' MORE (R-S.C) and will be marked up by the panel on Wednesday.
Lawmakers have introduced roughly a dozen legislative proposals to tackle military sexual assault, which are going to be considered in the annual defense authorization bill.
The one surprise came out of the House defense panel's Strategic Forces subpanel, which ducked the issue of creating a new East Coast missile shield in their markup.
GOP subpanel members had been GOP subcommittee members were expected to request $250 million for the missile shield.
The funding the lawmakers are discussing would be a $150 million increase compared to the House’s 2013 authorization bill.
But the funding was noticeably absent from the subcommittee's final budget markup.
Special Ops team to testify: House defense panel members are pushing to get the U.S. special operations team that was ordered to stand down in Libya to testify before the committee's Oversight and Investigations subpanel.
"We are working with the Defense Department to see if that can happen," a staffer with the House Armed Services oversight and investigations subcommittee told The Hill on Tuesday.
The staffer declined to comment as to how soon that U.S. special operations team could come before the subcommittee, or if its members would testify publicly or brief members behind closed doors.
Their testimony, either public or classified, will focus on the events leading up to the U.S. military's response to last September's deadly raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi ended with the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
As news of the attack was reaching Tripoli, a team of American special operators was preparing to deploy to the attack site, Gregory Hicks, the former top U.S. diplomat in Benghazi, told Congress this month. Just as U.S. troops were about to depart for Benghazi, officials from Special Operations Command-Africa ordered the units to stand down, he said.
"They were furious," Hicks said during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee on May 5.
The DOD has repeatedly defended the military commander's decision to prevent U.S. special operations forces from going into Benghazi.
Senate panel votes to arm rebels: A bill to arm the Syrian opposition easily passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 15-3 in a bipartisan rebuke to President Obama’s Syria policy.
Tuesday’s committee vote was the first time Congress has voted to provide arms to vetted rebel groups, which a growing number of lawmakers say is necessary to help put an end to the two-year civil war.
“The time to act and turn the tide against Assad is now,” Foreign Relations Chairman Robert MenendezRobert MenendezGMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections Overnight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Menendez rails against Puerto Rico bill for 4 hours on floor MORE (D-N.J.) said at the markup.
The Obama administration resisted arming rebel groups over concerns about the weapons falling into the hands of Islamist militants. Administration officials have said they are reconsidering whether to arm the rebels but that no final decision has been made.
Hagel, Shinseki, Pelosi talk backlog Wednesday: Defense Secretary Chuck HagelChuck HagelThere's still time for another third-party option Hagel says NATO deployment could spark a new Cold War with Russia Overnight Defense: House panel unveils 5B defense spending bill MORE and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric ShinsekiEric ShinsekiVeterans group blasts VA secretary, despite words of regret Cruz: VA secretary 'should resign' VA secretary refuses to apologize for Disney comments MORE will talk about efforts to end the VA disability claims backlog with a group of senators on Wednesday.
The secretaries will speak to reporters following a roundtable that’s being organized by Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara MikulskiBarbara MikulskiSenate confirms first black female librarian of Congress Clinton pens tribute to feminist website The Toast Senate Appropriations speeds through spending bills MORE (D-Md.). Mikulski and nine other senators on the Appropriations Committee will meet with Hagel and Shinseki to get an update on efforts to end the claims backlog by 2015.
Also on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is joining a group of Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee to unveil a legislative package to help the VA reach its 2015 goal.
Mass. senators push Hagel to preserve Win-T: Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren hammers Trump at Latino event Trump tries to stoke liberal anger at Kaine pick Clinton VP pick could face liberal ire MORE (D.) and Mo Cowan (D) are asking Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel not to cut the Army’s Win-T telecommunications program in the Pentagon’s $9.6 billion reprogramming request.
The Pentagon has proposed reducing Win-T funding by $128 million in 2013 in its reprogramming, which would shift funds to cover higher than expected war costs and more.
The senators sent letters on Monday to Hagel and Army Secretary John McHugh warning that Win-T and the Army’s HMS radio program could not be cut further.
“We understand the significant pressure being placed on the budget of the Army due, in part, to the severe budget cuts imposed by sequestration,” the senators wrote. “Nonetheless, Win-T and HMS cannot sustain additional cuts — including cuts to reprogramming."
The Massachusetts delegation does not have much sway in the Senate when it comes to Pentagon reprogramming requests, because only the Armed Services and Defense Appropriations committees must sign off on them, and neither Warren nor Cowan are on those panels.
In Case You Missed It:
— House panel approves MILCON bill
— Dems slam Benghazi briefings as 'waste of time'
— Court orders Osama bin Laden photos stay classified
— Obama to split armed drone ops between Pentagon, CIA
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