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This week in Congress: NDAA and new Pentagon leaders

June 19, 2017 (Photo Credit: Mike Morones/Military Times)
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon takes a step closer to filling a pair of key leadership posts and the House takes a step closer to passing a new defense authorization bill this week.

President Trump’s pick for deputy secretary of defense (Patrick Shanahan) and Navy secretary (Richard Spencer) will have confirmation hearings this week, opening the door for both men to take over the key military roles by mid-July.

Meanwhile, officials from the House Armed Services Committee will start their annual work on the defense budget with six subcommittee mark-ups of the defense authorization bill. Information on what major programs and policy changes are included in the legislation should be released on Tuesday.

The House last week passed out of committee its first draft of the fiscal 2018 VA budget, and the Senate Appropriations Committee will take a step towards doing the same with a hearing Wednesday featuring VA Secretary David Shulkin.

And the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will fulfill a promise made to several senators to hold a public hearing on the idea of a new authorization for the use of military force in the Middle East, after several years of debate on the issue.

Tuesday


Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — Dirksen G50
Nominations
The committee will consider the nomination of Patrick Shanahan to be deputy secretary of defense.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 419
AUMF
The committee will hear from outside experts on the need for congressional authorizations for the use of military force.

Wednesday


Senate Armed Services — 9 a.m. — Russell 232A
Navy shipbuilding
Naval officials will testify before the committee on service shipbuilding programs and the fiscal 2018 budget request.

House Intelligence — 10 a.m. — Visitors Center H210
Russia investigation
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson will testify before the committee on the Russia investigative task force.

Senate Appropriations — 10:30 a.m. — Dirksen 342
Air Force budget
Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein will testify before the committee on the fiscal 2018 budget request.

Senate Appropriations — 2:30 p.m. — Dirksen 124
VA budget
VA Secretary David Shulkin will testify before the committee on the fiscal 2018 budget request.

House Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — Rayburn 2212
Emerging threats mark up
Members of the emerging threat subcommittee will mark up their draft of the annual defense authorization bill.

House Armed Services — 4 p.m. — Rayburn 2118
Tactical air mark up
Members of the tactical air subcommittee will mark up their draft of the annual defense authorization bill.

Thursday


Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — Dirksen G50
Nominations
The committee will consider the nomination of Richard Spencer to be secretary of the Navy.

House Armed Services — 9 a.m. — Rayburn 2212
Readiness mark up
Members of the readiness subcommittee will mark up their draft of the annual defense authorization bill.

House Armed Services — 10:30 a.m. — Rayburn 2118
Strategic forces mark up
Members of the readiness subcommittee will mark up their draft of the annual defense authorization bill.

House Armed Services — 11:30 a.m. — Rayburn 2212
Military personnel mark up
Members of the military personnel subcommittee will mark up their draft of the annual defense authorization bill.

House Armed Services — 12:30 p.m. — Rayburn 2118
Seapower mark up
Members of the seapower subcommittee will mark up their draft of the annual defense authorization bill.

 
Leo Shane III covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He can be reached at lshane@militarytimes.com.
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