Political Report: 11/28/2018

 In Weekly Wire

Main Story: SASC Reviews the Commission on the National Defense Strategy’s Findings

This week’s article will have little to say about appropriations or the budget, as the Department of Defense is working on processing the FY2019 appropriations (passed on time in over a decade) and putting the final touches on the FY2020 budget request which is expected to be released in February. While there is the potential for a partial government shutdown over wall funding (there are seven agencies that are still on a continuing resolution), from a defense perspective everything is on track. Looking at aerospace more broadly, there is the distinct possibility that a shutdown impacts NASA/NOAA, as the Commerce/Justice/Science funding bill has not yet been passed. Otherwise, we can safely move on to look at what’s going on in House Armed Services Committee (HASC) and Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) this week.

The most interesting hearing this week took place on Tuesday, November 27th in the Senate Armed Services Committee, where the National Defense Strategy Commission presented its findings on the recently released National Defense Strategy. The report, available here, lays out significant critiques of the ability of the current DoD to execute the National Defense Strategy given current resource levels stating, “If the nation does not act to remedy these circumstances, the consequences will be grave and lasting.” Based on this, the Commission recommends that Congress significantly increase defense spending over the next several years to at least “3 to 5 percent above inflation through the future years defense programs and perhaps beyond.” Given that the administration has recently announced plans to cut spending, this bipartisan report promises to be a potent tool for defense hawks to argue for additional spending.

Key Dates & Appropriations Update:

  • December 7th – Current continuing resolution ends
  • December 13th – Last scheduled session day in 2018
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House Activity

The House will pass a variety of suspension bills and a handful of more controversial pieces of legislation. This includes reauthorization of the Coast Guard, as well as potential other legislation.

Senate Activity

The Senate will continue to work on nominations while negotiations on a funding deal continue in the background.

Congressional Defense Activity

  • HPSCI
    • No hearings this week
  • SSCI
    • 11/27 ‘Closed Hearing’, Full Committee Hearing, 219 Hart, 230pm
    • 11/29 ‘Closed Hearing’, Full Committee Hearing, 219 Hart, 2pm
  • HFAC
    • 11/29 ‘U.S. Policy Towards Syria (Part II)’, Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa, 2172 Rayburn, 2pm
  • SFRC
    • 11/28 ‘The Global Fight To End Modern Slavery’, Full Committee Hearing, SD-419 Dirksen, 930am
    • 11/28 ‘Business Meeting’, Full Committee Meeting, S-116 The Capitol, 2pm
    • 11/29 ‘Business Meeting’, Full Committee Meeting, SD-419 Dirksen, 10am
  •  SASC
    • 11/27 ‘Findings and Recommendations of the Commission on the National Defense Strategy’, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
    • 11/27 ‘Navy Shipbuilding Programs’, Subcommittee on Seapower, SR-220 Russell, 230pm
    • 11/28 ‘CLOSED: Cyber Command’s Relationship with the National Security Agency’, Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, SVC-217 Capitol Visitor Center, 230pm
    • 11/29 ‘Nominations – McCaffery-Bookless’, Full Committee Hearing, SD-G50 Dirksen, 930am
  • HASC
    • No hearings this week
  • SAC-D
    • No hearings this week
  • HAC-D
    • No hearings this week
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