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Defense hearings: Big guns head to Capitol Hill

The White House is sending key military and civilian leaders to Capitol Hill this week to argue for its fiscal 2017 budget request, the final big fiscal fight of President Barack Obama's presidency.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter will lay out arguments for Obama's $582.7 billion military spending plan for the first time this year, but not before either of the congressional armed services committees. Instead, he'll appear Thursday before the House Appropriations Committee, a move that some Republicans have already labeled as a slight to the traditional process.

Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to justify his department’s budget request before senators on Tuesday morning. Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald will do the same in the Senate building right next door to where Kerry will be testifyingbeside Kerry’s testimony.

Army and Navy officials will be before the House Armed Services Committee this week to talk about their budget priorities. Both chambers will also hold ongoing discussions on improvements to the military medical system and possible reform efforts this year.

Tuesday

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

Pacific Command

The head of U.S. Pacific Command, Adm. Harry Harris Jr., and U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen Curtis Scaparrotti brief the committee on emerging threats in the region and the fiscal 2017 defense budget request.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — Dirksen 419

FY17 budget

Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with the committee to discuss his department's fiscal 2017 budget request.

Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 10 a.m. — Russell 418

VA budget request

VA Secretary Bob McDonald and other department officials will testify before the committee about the White House's fiscal 2017 budget request and ongoing challenges in their programs.

House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — Cannon 345

DAV

Officials from Disabled American Veterans will testify before the joint committee hearing on legislative priorities for the upcoming year.

Senate Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — Dirksen G50

Health care reform

Committee members hear from outside medical experts on potential changes and reforms to military medical and health care operations.

Senate Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — Russell 232A

Atomic energy programs

Officials from the Defense and Energy departments will brief committee members on ongoing operations and the administration's fiscal 2017 budget request.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 4:30 p.m. — Cannon 334

Persian Gulf War

The subcommittee on oversight will examine lingering health issues from the first Gulf War and recent developments.

Wednesday

House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs — 10 a.m. — Hart 216

American Legion

Officials from the American Legion will testify before the joint committee hearing on legislative priorities for the upcoming year.

Senate Appropriations -- 10:30 a.m. -- Dirksen 192

Army budget

The subcommittee on defense will hear from acting Army secretary Patrick Murphy and Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley on the fiscal 2017 budget request.

House Appropriations — 11 a.m. — Capitol H140

Closed hearing

Committee members will meet with officials from U.S. European Command to discuss the fiscal 2017 budget request.

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

Military technology

Service technology officials will testify before the subcommittee on emerging threats about science and technology priorities for fiscal 2017.

House Foreign Affairs — 2:30 p.m. — Rayburn 2200

Boko Haram

The subcommittee on terrorism will discuss Islamist insurgents in West Africa and the broader national security threat they pose.

Senate Armed Services — 2:30 p.m. — Visitors Center S217

Closed hearing

The committee will hear from defense officials on Iran's military capabilities and other classified intelligence.

House Armed Services — 3:30 p.m. — Rayburn 2118

Strategic forces

U.S. Strategic Command head Adm. Cecil Haney and Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Brian McKeon will testify on force posture and the fiscal 2017 defense budget.

House Armed Services — 5 p.m. — Rayburn 2212

Defense Health Agency

Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. Johnathan Woodson and Defense Health Agency Director Vice Adm. Raquel Bono will testify before the committee on health priorities in the fiscal 2017 federal budget request.

Thursday

House Intelligence — 9 a.m. — Visitors Center H210

Global threats

CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey, DIA Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, NSA Director Michael Rogers and others will testify before the select committee on worldwide threats. A closed hearing will follow at 10 a.m.

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

Nominations

Committee members will consider three pending Defense Department nominations: Brad Carson, to be undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness; Jennifer O'Connor, to be DoD general counsel; and Todd Weiler, to be assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs.

House Appropriations — 9:30 a.m. — Rayburn 2362B

VA inspector general

Acting VA IG Linda Halliday will testify about ongoing operations and her office's fiscal 2017 budget request.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2218

Europe

U.S. European Command head Gen. Phillip Breedlove will testify before the committee on security challenges in Europe deterrence plans.

House Small Business — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2360

Defense contracting

Committee members will review concerns related to recent audits of the Defense Department's contracting systems.

House Appropriations — 10 a.m. — Rayburn 2359

Defense budget

Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr. will testify before the subcommittee on defense about the Pentagon's fiscal 2017 budget request.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 10:30 a.m. — Cannon 334

Pending legislation

Lawmakers will mark up a slate of health and program reform measures already under consideration by the committee.

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

Navy budget

Assistant Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley and service officials will testify before the subcommittee on seapower on the Navy's fiscal 2017 budget request.

Friday

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

Army budget

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn and other service officials will testify before the committee on the Army's fiscal 2017 budget request.

House Armed Services — 9 a.m. — Rayburn 2212

Medical readiness

The service surgeons general will testify before the subcommittee on military personnel on the Defense Department's medical programs and priorities.

House Appropriations — 9:30 a.m. — Rayburn 2362B

Military quality of life

Enlisted leaders from each of the four services will discuss the fiscal 2017 budget request and quality of life issues for their servicemembers.

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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