Week ahead: Military brass to detail budget needs

Week ahead: Military brass to detail budget needs
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The Armed Services committees are getting the ball rolling on their plans to beef up the military, with the vice chiefs of each branch visiting both the House and the Senate in the coming week to detail their budget needs.

President Trump has promised a "great rebuilding" of the military and directed Defense Secretary James Mattis to conduct a readiness review. But he'll need Congress to authorize and appropriate funds for any military buildup.

In line with Trump's order, Mattis directed the Pentagon on Wednesday to begin a review of its budget. The review will start with a request for more money for this fiscal year and then look to craft a budget for fiscal 2018.

Under Mattis's direction, the request for this fiscal year is due to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by March 1. The fiscal 2018 budget is due to OMB by May 1.


The timeline could mean a later markup this year for the National Defense Authorization Act than in 2016, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said. The annual defense policy bill was marked up in the House committee at the end of April last year and passed by the full House in May.

Thornberry also blamed Congress's reliance on a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for pushing back work on next fiscal year. The CR expires at the end of April, at which point Congress will need to decide on a way to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

"The problem is you have to finish '17, deal with the supplemental, before you get to '18, so it's just all of Congress not doing our job finishing '17 before the end of the year has had a consequence," Thornberry told reporters.

In the meantime, both Thornberry's committee and a Senate Armed Services subcommittee will hear from the vice chiefs on what the military needs.

Gen. Daniel Allyn, vice chief of staff of the Army; Gen. Stephen Wilson, vice chief of staff of the Air Force; Adm. William Moran, vice chief of naval operations; and Gen. Glenn Walters, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps will testify before the House committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2118. http://bit.ly/2kpkQIV

The quartet will testify before the Senate subcommittee at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Russell Senate Office Building, room 232A. http://bit.ly/2kpEZi6

There's also work to be done on Trump's nominees in the week ahead.

After a smooth confirmation hearing, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the nomination of David Shulkin to be Veterans Affairs secretary. The vote's timing is pending based on the Senate's schedule, according to a committee notice. http://bit.ly/2krKVZS

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on North Korea with testimony from outside experts at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2krhBTH

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hear from outside experts on plans to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Dirksen 419. http://bit.ly/2kpFHMt

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on Russia at 10 a.m. Thursday at Dirksen 419. Witnesses include retired Gen. Philip Breedlove, who was most recently commander of U.S. European Command. http://bit.ly/2k3UMlG

The full Senate Armed Services Committee will hear about the situation in Afghanistan from Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in the country, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G50. http://bit.ly/2kxmZ7Q


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