Gen. Glen VanHerck, (center) head of U.S. Northern Command, meets with command leadership of Carrier Strike Group Two aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower on Feb. 6, 2021. VanHerck is scheduled to testify before Congress this week. (Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Orion K. Shotton/Navy)
The leaders of U.S. Southern and Northern Commands will visit Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers step up their annual defense budget work even as they wait for the White House’s official spending proposal.
Typically by mid-March, lawmakers in the House and Senate are in full budget hearing mode, with multiple service officials testifying on future needs and program changes for the upcoming fiscal year.
But with the change in presidential administrations this year, the White House’s budget proposal for fiscal 2022 is expected to be filed in April instead of the normal February document drop. As a result, much of the legislative work surrounding the defense budget on Capitol Hill has been stalled or slowed, except for a few hearings.
The testimony Adm. Craig Faller, head of Southern Command, and Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of Northern Command, before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday marks a shift back towards the normal schedule.
The pair are expected to outline their top missions and potential expense cuts as administration officials reportedly eye a flat or reduced defense budget amid unprecedented emergency spending to counter the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday, March 16
Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen Southern/Northern Command
Adm. Craig Faller, head of Southern Command, and Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of Northern Command, will testify on current threats and the fiscal 2022 budget request.
House Oversight — 11 a.m. — online hearing Afghanistan
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko will testify on financial projects and military waste in Afghanistan.
House Armed Services — 11 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn Overseas threats
Intelligence and defense officials will testify on global security threats from non-state actors.
House Armed Services — 3 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn Fort Hood
Members of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee will present their findings to the committee.
Wednesday, March 17
House Appropriations — 9 a.m. — online hearing Military and climate change
Outside experts will testify on the impact of future climate change on military operations.
House Homeland Security — 9:30 a.m. — online hearing Future planning
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will present future plans for the department.
Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 106 Dirksen China
Outside experts will testify on U.S. security policy towards China.
House Veterans’ Affairs — 1 p.m. — online hearing Veterans employment
Veterans groups will testify at a roundtable with the subcommittee on economic opportunity on transition and employment assistance programs.
House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn COVID-19 in Africa
Officials from the African Union will testify on the impact of the global pandemic on Africa and the need for future U.S. assistance.
Thursday, March 18
Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen Defense budget
Budget experts will testify on the fiscal 2022 defense budget request.
House and Senate Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing Veterans group presentations
Six veterans groups, including Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Association for Black Veterans, will testify before the committee on their policy goals for the year.
House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing Saudi Arabia
Outside experts will testify on human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.
House Armed Services — 11 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn Navy Unmanned Systems
Service officials will testify on unmanned Navy systems and future plans for the technology.
House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — online hearing Women veterans
VA officials and outside experts will testify on efforts to improve health care for women veterans.
Friday, March 19
House Armed Services — 11 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn Defense industrial base
Service officials will testify on the ability of the country’s industrial base to support military modernization plans.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.