Pentagon & Congress

This week in Congress: Aviation accidents under scrutiny

WASHINGTON — House Armed Services Committee officials will hold a hearing this week to probe into the recent spike of military aviation accidents, a problem that defense officials have acknowledged but downplayed as “not a crisis.”

The Wednesday morning hearing will feature safety officials from each of the services and comes after a Military Times investigation earlier this year that found fatal military aviation accidents have reached a six-year high, in both the number of accidents and the number of personnel killed.

Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, has said that he believes budget cuts in recent years have played a major role in the readiness issue, but also pledged to delve further into the issue with a public hearing.

The move comes as the Senate conducts floor debate on the annual defense authorization bill. House lawmakers included a new review of the aviation problems in their draft of the legislation, and have promised more oversight on the issue in months to come.

Tuesday, June 12

Senate Homeland Security — 10:30 a.m. — Dirksen 106
Chemical facility monitoring
Homeland security officials and outside experts will testify on chemical facility anti-terrorism standards and the implications for national security.

House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — Cannon 334
Pending legislation
The subcommittee on economic opportunity will consider a series of pending bills.

Wednesday, June 13

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2212
Aviation mishaps
Service safety officials will testify before the committee on ongoing issues with military aviation mishaps.

Senate Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 342
Pending legislation
The committee will consider a series of pending bills, including the “preventing emerging threats” act.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2172
Middle East and North Africa
The committee will hear from State Department officials on national security objectives in the Middle East and North Africa.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 419
Nominations
The committee will consider several nominations, including Kimberly Breier to be the new Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.

Senate Veterans' Affairs — 2:30 p.m. — Russell 418
Nominations
The committee will consider the nomination of John Lowry III to be assistant secretary of labor for veterans’ employment and training.

House Veterans' Affairs — 3 p.m. — Cannon 334
Pending legislation
The subcommittee on health will consider a series of pending bills, including the “veterans serving veterans” act.

Thursday, June 14

House Armed Services — 9 a.m. — Rayburn 2212
Navy/Air Force depot policy
Service officials will testify before the committee on infrastructure concerns and existing depot policy.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 419
Nominations
The committee will consider several nominations, including Harry Harris Jr. to be ambassador to South Korea.

House Science and Space — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2318
NASA schedule overruns
NASA officials will testify before the committee on costs and schedule overruns at the space agency.

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