Combatant commanders head to Capitol Hill to face budget questions

by Vern Evans

Key defense leaders will testify on Capitol Hill this week on the White House’s fiscal 2025 budget request, even as the fiscal 2024 military appropriations plan still needs to be completed.

Seven combatant commanders are scheduled to appear at hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, with all expecting to face questions about their respective sections of the budget ask. Lawmakers hope to have work on that spending plan done ahead of Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

But the House and Senate also need to finalize a partial government funding plan — including the Department of Defense’s appropriations — for fiscal 2024. Most federal agencies have been operating on short-term budget plans for the last five months, but lawmakers hope to pass a full-year plan by the end of this week.

Tuesday, March 19

House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Afghanistan Withdrawal
Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and former head of U.S. Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr. will testify on decisions leading up to the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan in 2021.

Wednesday, March 20

Senate Foreign Relations — 9:30 a.m. — Capitol S-116
Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including Michael Sfraga to be Ambassador at Large for Arctic Affairs.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Indo-Pacific Region
Adm. John Aquilino, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Gen. Paul LaCamera, head of U.S. Forces Korea, will testify on current challenges and the fiscal 2025 budget request.

House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — 310 Cannon
Iran
Outside experts will testify on the security threat posed by Iran.

House Foreign Affairs — 10:15 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Pakistan
State Department officials will testify on the future of democracy in Pakistan.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 10:30 a.m. — 360 Cannon
Pending Legislation
The subcommittee on economic opportunity will consider several pending bills.

House Appropriations — 10:30 a.m. — 2362-A Rayburn
Military Quality of Life
Senior enlisted leaders from each of the services will testify on potential military quality of life changes in the fiscal 2025 budget request.

House Foreign Affairs — 12 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Pending Legislation
The committee will consider several pending bills.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 1 p.m. — 360 Cannon
VA Disability Claims
Department officials will testify on disability claim case appeals and potential improvements to the system.

Senate Armed Services — 2 p.m. — 222 Russell
Defense Acquisition Systems
Members of the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Reform Commission will present their findings to the committee.

House Armed Services — 3:30 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Special Operations Forces
Gen. Bryan Fenton, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, and Christopher Maier, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, will testify on current challenges and the fiscal 2025 budget request.

Thursday, March 21

Senate Foreign Relations — 9:30 a.m. — Capitol S-116
Pending Business
The committee will consider several pending bills and nominations.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — 2172 Rayburn
Chinese Military Technology
State and Commerce Department officials will testify on Chinese military use of American technology.

House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Middle East/North Africa
Gen. Michael Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, Gen. Michael Langley, head of U.S. Africa Command, and Gen. Paul LaCamera, head of U.S. Forces Korea will testify on current challenges and the fiscal 2025 budget request.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10:30 a.m. — 419 Dirksen
U.S. Anti-Corruption Strategy
State Department officials will testify on anti-corruption strategies and challenges in foreign countries.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 11 a.m. — 360 Cannon
Toxic Exposures Fund
Department officials will testify on toxic exposure disability claims and how the Toxic Exposures Fund is handled in the White House’s fiscal 2025 budget request.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — 360 Cannon
Pending Legislation
The subcommittee on health will consider several pending bills.

House Armed Services — 3:30 p.m. — 2212 Rayburn
Strategic Forces Posture
Members will hear testimony from Gen. Anthony Cotton, head of U.S. Strategic Command; Gen. Stephen Whiting, head of U.S. Space Command; and Gen. Gregory Guillot, head of U.S. Northern Command on strategic forces posture for fiscal year 2025.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 4:30 p.m. — 360 Cannon
Pending Legislation
The subcommittee on oversight will consider several pending bills.

Friday, March 22

House Armed Services — 9 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn
Military Technology and Artificial Intelligence
John Sherman, Chief Information Officer for the Department of Defense, and Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, will testify on military priorities for digital modernization, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.

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