Week ahead: Deployment, defense funding loom as topics of discussion

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The Senate is out for a week that begins with the Columbus Day holiday, but military officials will flood Washington for the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army.

The conference, which takes place Monday through Wednesday, will include speeches from Secretary Defense James Mattis, Army chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

The discussion is expected to center around funding the service and the larger Department of Defense as Congress in the next few months will reconcile their versions of the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).


The House in July approved $696.5 billion in defense spending, with a base budget of $621.5 billion and $75 billion in war money, known as Overseas Contingency Operations funds.

The Senate’s bill, passed in August, would authorize $640 billion for the base budget and $60 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations dollars.

To fund either amount, lawmakers must lift spending caps set under the 2011 Budget Control Act.

Mattis and Milley for months have painted a bleak picture of the state of the military under the budget caps, which only allow $549 billion in defense spending.

Also likely to come up at the annual meeting is the deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan.

More than 3,000 U.S. troops are to be deployed to the country as part of President Trump’s strategy, announced in August.

Milley at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing in June said he supports “increasing the Army’s troop presence in Afghanistan as an insurance policy against another 9/11.”

A number of House hearings and outside events are also scheduled this week.

Mattis will speak Monday at the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting. The opening ceremony kicks off at 9 a.m.

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and former national security advisors Henry Kissinger, Stephen Hadley and James Jones will speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Reps. Rick Larson (D-Wash.) and Don Bacon (R-Neb.) will speak about U.S. defense needs at a Brookings Institution-hosted discussion 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Johns Hopkins University.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hear from outside experts on Iran at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2172.

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on U.S. policy toward Lebanon with testimony from State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development officials at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2172.

Another Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hold a hearing on the administration’s budget request for Africa at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rayburn 2200.

The Foreign Affairs Committee will mark up legislation, including an Iran sanctions bill, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Rayburn 2172.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee will mark up pending legislation at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Cannon House Office Building, room 334.

A House Homeland Security Committee subpanel will hold a hearing on North Korea at 2 p.m. Thursday at the House Capitol Visitor Center, room 210.


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