Congress returns from its Thanksgiving break with full stomachs and a full schedule of work leading up to another possible government shutdown Dec. 11.

While budget negotiations go on in the background, congressional committees will focus much of their work on the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. Defense Secretary Ash Carter will testify before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, and House Foreign Affairs members will delve into the attacks later in the week.

Committees also will examine Russian operations in the region, and the implications for U.S. military plans.

The Senate Armed Services Committee continues its review of ongoing defense reform efforts, with hearings on acquisition changes, personnel policies and support services.


Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — Dirksen G50

Acquisition reform

Outside experts will discuss future goals for defense acquisition reform and ways to build off changes included in the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2118

Syria and Iraq

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford will testify on the Obama administration's policy toward Syria and potential additional military engagement in the region.

House Armed Services — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2212

Naval planning

The subcommittee on seapower will hear from outside experts on naval acquisition policy and the future of the naval force.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2:30 p.m. — Dirksen 419


The committee will consider a series of pending nominations, including the new U.S. ambassador to Panama.

House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs — 3:30 pm — Rayburn 2118

Russian arms control

The two committees will hear from Defense and State department officials on White House responses to Russian noncompliance with international arms treaties.


Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — Dirksen G50

Personnel reform

Outside experts including former senior Pentagon officials David Chu and Robert Hale, will discuss personnel reform and ways to strengthen the all-volunteer force.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2172


The committee will hear from outside experts on the influence of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Middle East instability.

House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — Rayburn 2200

Paris attacks

The subcommittee on terrorism will discuss whether the recent French terrorist attacks represent a shift in ISIS strategy.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — Rayburn 2172


The subcommittee on the Middle East will hear from outside experts on the White House's strategy in Afghanistan.

Senate Veterans' Affairs — 2:30 p.m. — Russell 418

Non-VA care programs

The committee will review Veterans Affairs Department requests for consolidating non-VA care programs to simplify the process for veterans seeking medical care.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2:30 p.m. — Dirksen 419


The committee will consider a series of pending nominations, including the new deputy director of the Peace Corps.


House Armed Services — 8 a.m. — Rayburn 2118

Defense infrastructure

Committee members will hear from Pentagon officials on the effects of reduced infrastructure on defense operations.

Senate Foreign Relations — 9 a.m. — Capitol S116

Closed briefing

The committee will hold a closed briefing on U.S. operations in the Middle East.

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — Dirksen G50

Defense support

Former Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, former DIA director Michael Flynn and former national security adviser James Jones will discuss ways to "support the war fighter of today and tomorrow."

House Armed Services — 10:30 a.m. — Rayburn 2212

Military health care

The subcommittee on military personnel will hear from outside groups on the potential impact of military health care reform.