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Week ahead: Military brass to defend budget request

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Week ahead: Military brass to defend budget request

Military leaders will be on Capitol Hill in the coming week to make the case for the Pentagon’s fiscal 2019 budget request.

The most notable figures include Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, who are set to testify before the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.

The Trump administration last month revealed a $716 billion defense budget request for fiscal 2019.

The amount includes $686 billion for the Pentagon, split between $617 billion for the base budget and $69 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account.

Of that, the Navy’s budget request is $194.1 billion, including OCO, with $151.4 billion in the base budget.

Those billions would support 7,500 active-duty sailors and 1,000 Marines, in addition to 11,500 active-duty soldiers, 4,000 active-duty airmen.

The service is also asking for $21.9 billion for 10 new ships and $19 billion for dozens of new fighter aircraft.

The defense officials won’t have to make too much of a case to get the requested amount.

Congress has already agreed to a two-year budget deal that sets defense spending at $700 billion for FY-18 and $716 billion for FY-19. Those dollars are for the Pentagon as well as non-Pentagon defense spending such as the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons programs.

Expect to hear questions on growing the Navy’s fleet at the hearings, including how long it’s expected to take, as well as issues with retaining sailors in a service dealing with the ship collision controversy last year.

Spencer, Neller and Richardson will testify before the House Appropriations defense subcommittee at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the House side of the Capitol Building, room H-140.

There are several other congressional committee hearings as well as outside events on tap for the coming week.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva, Sen. Roger Wicker , Rep. Adam Smith , among others will speak at the McAleese/Credit Suisse 2019 Defense Programs Conference starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday in Washington. 

Dan Coats , the director of national intelligence, and Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on worldwide threats at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Hart Senate Office Building, room 216. 

Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command, will speak on national security challenges and U.S. military activities in Africa before the House Armed Services Committee at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2118.

A House Oversight subcommittee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Rayburn 2154.

A House Armed Services subpanel will hear from Navy officials on the service’s fiscal 2019 budget request for seapower and projection forces at 2 p.m. Tuesday in Rayburn 2118. 

The Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee will hear from defense officials on Navy and Marine Corps aviation programs at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Russell Senate Office Building, room 232-A.

A House Armed Services subcommittee will hear from defense officials on Marine Corps readiness at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday in Rayburn 2212. 

The House Armed Services Committee will hear from defense officials on military service acquisition reform at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Rayburn 2118. 

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson will speak before the House Appropriations defense subcommittee on the fiscal 2019 budget for the services at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the House side of the Capitol Building, room H-140.

The Senate Budget Committee will hear from Pentagon Comptroller David Norquist and Defense Department (DOD) Chief Management Officer John Gibson on DOD audit and business operations reform at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, room 608.

A House Armed Services subpanel will hold a hearing on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program. They will hear from top officials overseeing the program at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Rayburn 2212.

A House Foreign Affairs subcommittee will hear from outside experts on China’s influence in Africa at 2 p.m. Wednesday in Rayburn 2172.

Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, and John Rood, under secretary will speak before a House Armed Services subcommittee on U.S. strategic forces posture and the fiscal 2019 budget request at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in Rayburn 2118.

Gen. Darren McDew, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, and Mark Buzby, administrator of the Maritime Administration will testify before a House Armed Services subpanel at 9 a.m. Thursday in Rayburn 2118. 

Head of U.S. European Command Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti will testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Dirksen G-50. 

The Minister of Defense of Estonia Jüri Luik will speak about NATO issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Washington. 

A House Armed Services subcommittee will hold a hearing on preserving the Arlington National Cemetery at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Rayburn 2212. 

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller will speak at the National Defense Industrial Association’s expeditionary warfare division annual meeting at 11:30 a.m. Thursday in Arlington, Va. 

Sue Gordon, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, will speak at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Washington.

 

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