Week ahead: Pentagon chief faces questions on Trump budget

Week ahead: Pentagon chief faces questions on Trump budget
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Defense Secretary James Mattis will make his first visit to Capitol Hill since his confirmation in the coming week.

Mattis is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford.

While the defense budget is the ostensible focus of the hearing, senators are sure to pepper the pair with questions on a wide range of defense issues.

The Trump administration released its first budget outline Thursday, showing a proposal to give the Pentagon $639 billion. That would be broken down into $574 billion for the base budget and $65 billion for a war fund.

The budget released Thursday painted in broad brushstrokes, so senators will look for Mattis and Dunford to fill in the details of how the money would be spent.


Also look for senators to push Mattis to voice support for State Department funding. Trump's budget would cut State Department funding by 28 percent, and many lawmakers who oppose the cuts have invoked Mattis's 2013 statement that "if you don't fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition."

Outside of money, look for questions on the strategy to counter the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Pentagon recently sent 400 Marines and Army Rangers to Syria, and is reportedly considering up to 1,000 more troops for the country.

Senators may also press Mattis and Dunford on North Korea, especially after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday that military options are "on the table" for dealing with the country.

The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 192. http://bit.ly/2mX1xcK

A number of other high profile hearings are also on tap in the week ahead.

FBI Director James Comey and Director of the National Security Agency Mike Rogers will testify before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on the investigation into Russian actions during the 2016 election campaign, 10 a.m. Monday at the Longworth House Building, room 1100. http://bit.ly/2mb4asZ

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on U.S. policy and strategy in Europe with testimony from the former head of the U.S. European Command at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room G-50. http://bit.ly/2mb1Kuh

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley will be on Capitol Hill for a House Armed Services hearing on America's role in the world at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Rayburn House Office Building, room 2118. http://bit.ly/2n6QgHl

A House Foreign Affairs Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on North Korea at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2mMMsZR

The House Armed Services Military Personnel subcommittee will have a hearing on the social media policies of the military services at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Rayburn 2118. http://bit.ly/2n6BAIx

The full House Armed Services Committee will have a hearing on the evolution of hybrid warfare and key challenges with testimony from outside experts at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2118. http://bit.ly/2mDGUjg

Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott West, the director of current operations, will testify before the House Armed Services Readiness subcommittee on the current state of the Air Force at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2118. http://bit.ly/2mb9i00

A House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee will hold a hearing on U.S. policy toward the Baltic states at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2172. http://bit.ly/2mAQqCT

A Senate Armed Services subcommittee will have a hearing on Army modernization at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Russell Senate Office Building, room 222. http://bit.ly/2mDCjxv

The head of U.S. European Command, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Dirksen G-50. http://bit.ly/2mRc0oo

A House Armed Services subcommittee will have a hearing on Pentagon strategy, policy and programs for countering weapons of mass destruction in fiscal year 2018, with testimony from the acting director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Rayburn 2118. http://bit.ly/2mRcQ4w

A Senate Armed Services subcommittee will have a hearing on DOD civilian personnel reform at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Russell 232A. http://bit.ly/2mAFnK2