Week ahead: Pentagon to unveil budget wish list

Week ahead: Pentagon to unveil budget wish list–14gh.

President Obama will officially release his budget request in the coming week, and defense hawks are preparing for a showdown. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has been previewing the Pentagon’s $582.7 billion section of the proposal. Among the spending priorities are $3.4 billion to reassure allies in Europe and deter Russian aggression, and $7.5 billion to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Some lawmakers are already skeptical the budget proposal will stick to a bipartisan agreement reached last year. The agreement called for $573 billion in base defense funding for fiscal 2017 and $59 billion for the overseas contingency operations (OCO) war fund. Defense hawks say the OCO funding levels in that deal should be treated as a floor, not a ceiling, and be raised if crises arise.

Congress is also slated to have a packed hearing schedule. On Tuesday, the Senate Armed Services Committee plans to look at worldwide threats with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Clapper and Stewart are also slated to testify on worldwide threats before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, along with CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers. The Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces plans to review the Pentagon’s nuclear acquisition programs and the nuclear doctrine with senior defense and military officials, including Gen. Robin Rand, head of Air Force Global Strike Command.

On Thursday, the committee is scheduled to look at recommendations by the National Commission on the Future of the U.S. Army. The commission has recommended that the Army maintain no fewer than 450,000 active-duty troops and no fewer than 530,000 reservists.  The Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to hold a classified hearing on Tuesday with Brett McGurk, the Obama administration’s envoy to the coalition fighting ISIS.

The House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on terrorism is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday on the future of ISIS-inspired attacks.

On Thursday, the same panel is to look at oversight and implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and its consequences, with State Department and Treasury officials in attendance.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee plans to examine the administration’s 2017 budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs on Wednesday.

source–the hill, rebecca kheel, kristina wong, gen robin rand

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