Legislative Activity

Administration Transmits FY 2017 Supplemental Funding Request to Congress

This week, the Trump Administration provided Congress with its supplemental appropriations request for the remainder of FY 2017. The supplemental requests an additional $3 billion in funds for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), including funds for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) infrastructure and border security technology investments and for both CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to prepare for hiring additional officers and agents.

The request also includes $30 billion in supplemental funding for the Department of Defense. The summary of the request states that the funds aim to “(1) accelerate the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), al Qaeda, and their affiliated or associated groups, (2) increase warfighting readiness, and (3) cover new must-pay bills.”

Of the $30 billion requested in supplemental funding, $25 billion is in base budget funding, which will largely go towards equipment including five F-35 joint strike fighters, 24 new F/A-18E/F planes for the Navy, and 20 new AH-64 Apache helicopters for the Army. Of the $5.1 billion in the Overseas Contingency Operations request, about $1 billion will go to missions in Afghanistan, $2 billion will go to operations in Iraq, and about $2 billion will go toward countering ISIS.

Briefing reporters last Thursday, senior defense officials said Congress’ full support will be key to improving warfighter readiness, providing the most capable modern force, and increasing the 2011 Budget Control Act funding cap for defense.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, March 21, the House Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “America’s Role in the World.”
  • On Tuesday, March 21, the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel has scheduled a hearing titled “Social Media Policies of the Military Services.”
  • On Tuesday, March 21, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security has scheduled a hearing titled “Defeating a Sophisticated and Dangerous Adversary: Are the New Border Security Task Forces the Right Approach?”
  • On Tuesday, March 21, the Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “U.S. Policy and Strategy in Europe.”
  • On Tuesday, March 21, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “$125 Billion in Savings Ignored: Review of DOD’s Efficiency Study.”
  • On Wednesday, March 22, the House Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “The Evolution of Hybrid Warfare and Key Challenges.”
  • On Wednesday, March 22, the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness has scheduled a hearing titled “The Current State of the U.S. Air Force.”
  • On Wednesday, March 22, the House Homeland Security Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “A Borderless Battle: Defending Against Cyber Threats.”
  • On Wednesday, March 22, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “Perspectives from the DHS Frontline: Evaluating Staffing Resources and Requirements.”
  • On Wednesday, March 22, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense has scheduled a hearing titled “A Review of the Budget and Readiness of the Department of Defense.”
  • On Wednesday, March 22, the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Airland has scheduled a hearing titled “Army Modernization.”
  • On Thursday, March 23, the House Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing titled “High Consequences and Uncertain Threats: Reviewing Department of Defense Strategy, Policy, and Programs for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction for Fiscal Year 2018.”
  • On Thursday, March 23, the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel has scheduled a hearing titled “Department of Defense Civilian Personnel Reform.”

Executive Branch Activity

President Trump Names Boeing Executive as Deputy Defense Secretary

On Thursday, March 16, President Donald Trump named six individuals to serve in senior positions at the Pentagon, including Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan to be Deputy Secretary of Defense. Shanahan, a senior vice president for supply chain and operations at Boeing, would be the second most senior civilian official at the Pentagon. He previously served as Boeing’s senior vice president of airline programs, as well as vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. If confirmed by the Senate, Shanahan will replace Bob Work. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is the only Pentagon nominee to have been confirmed by the Senate thus far.

President Trump also announced his picks for five other senior positions at the Department of Defense: David Joel Trachtenberg to be Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; David Norquist to be the Pentagon Comptroller; Elaine McCusker to be Principal Deputy Undersecretary in the Comptroller’s office; Robert Daigle to be the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation; and Kenneth Rapuano to be Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security.

Sources are reporting that former U.S. Army flight surgeon Mark Green will be nominated as Secretary of Army. Green, a Republican state senator from Tennessee and a West Point graduate, met with President Trump last Wednesday during his trip to Nashville. The President previously nominated Vincent Viola for the position, but Viola later withdrew his name from consideration amid his conflict of interest review.

Federal Courts Stay Implementation of Revised Travel Ban

This week, opponents of President Trump’s revised immigration Executive Order (EO) challenged the action in federal courts. The March 6 EO, “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” revoked and replaced a previous EO with the same title.

Opponents of the EO renewed their legal challenges to the new version filings across the U.S. Most notably, on March 15, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking implementation of several provisions, including limits to travel to the U.S. by individuals from six predominantly Muslim nations and a freeze on all admissions under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), effective nation-wide. On Sunday, the judge rejected a request from the Trump Administration that the TRO be limited only to provisions regarding travel from the 6 countries. The Trump Administration is expected to appeal the decision to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.