Week ahead: Pentagon brass defends budgets

Congress is set for another packed week as lawmakers prepare to grill Pentagon officials about the administration's fiscal 2017 budget request.

The Pentagon has proposed a $582.7 billion budget, but defense hawks assert that figure should be higher. Threats from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an aggressive Russia and an increasingly nuclear-minded North Korea, among others, warrant more money, they argue.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has already taken the hot seat, telling the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee the budget request meets the Pentagon's needs.

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In the coming week, top brass from the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines will take turns defending their requests to the subcommittee.

The Navy and Marines are up first Tuesday, followed by the Air Force on Wednesday and the Army on Thursday.

Navy and Marine officials will also testify before the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. And Marine Corps leaders will appear before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Air Force leaders will also testify about the budget before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday and the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Lawmakers won't limit their questions to the budget alone -- they'll also take the opportunity to press Pentagon leaders on any number of hot-button defense issues, such as the administration's recently announced plan to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba or the continuing fight against ISIS.

Those hearings only cap what will be a busy week for lawmakers.

Here's a look at other defense-related hearings on tap:

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on U.S. European Command Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. at Dirksen G50.

It will also hold a closed hearing on the Air Force Long Range Strike-Bomber on Tuesday, 3 p.m. at SVC-217.

The House Armed Services Committee holds "Member Day" for non-committee House members to testify on their defense priorities for the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Tuesday 10 a.m. at Rayburn 2212.

The committee also looks at Air Force projection forces, aviation programs and capabilities in 2017, Tuesday 1 p.m. at Rayburn 2118.

House Armed Services holds a hearing on special operations forces, Tuesday 3 p.m. at Rayburn 2118.

The House Appropriations Committee reviews the Marine Corps and Navy's 2017 budget requests, Tuesday 10 a.m. at the Capitol H-140.

House Armed Services looks at worldwide threats on Wednesday, 10 a.m. at Rayburn 2118.

The same committee looks at ground force modernization Wednesday, 1 p.m. at Rayburn 2212.

House Appropriations examines the Air Force's 2017 budget request Wednesday, 10 a.m. at Capitol H-140.

House Armed Services looks at the Pentagon's budget for nuclear forces Thursday, 2 p.m. at Rayburn 2118.

Senate Armed Services holds a hearing on the posture of the Air Force Thursday, 9:30 a.m. at Dirksen G50.

House Armed Services has a hearing on the Marine Corps's budget request and readiness scheduled for Thursday, 10:30 a.m. at Rayburn 2118.

House Appropriations reviews the Army's 2017 budget request Thursday, 10 a.m. at Capitol H-140.

 

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