Legislative Activity

Senate Armed Services Committee Unveils Subcommittee Leaders, Budget White Paper

On Wednesday, January 18, the Senate Armed Services Committee announced subcommittee chairmen and ranking members for the 115th Congress, including for a newly-created panel on cybersecurity:

  • Subcommittee on AirLand: Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chair/ Angus King (I-ME), Ranking Member
  • Subcommittee on Cybersecurity: Mike Rounds (R-SD), Chair/ Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ranking Member
  • Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities: Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chair/ Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Ranking Member
  • Subcommittee on Personnel: Thom Tillis (R-NC), Chair/ Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Ranking Member
  • Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support: Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Chair/ Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ranking Member
  • Subcommittee on Seapower: Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chair/ Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ranking Member
  • Subcommittee on Strategic Forces: Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chair/ Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Ranking Member

Last week, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) released a defense budget white paper calling for a major buildup and reshaping of the U.S. military. Chairman McCain’s plan would boost the Pentagon budget and the Department of Energy’s nuclear weapons spending by approximately $430 billion over budget projections from FY 2018 to FY 2022. The increased budget would fund a bigger Army, more Navy ships, and additional fighter jets. On Tuesday, January 24, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the defense budget for FY 2018 and onwards.

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, January 24, the Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing to examine the defense budget for Fiscal Year 2018 and onwards.
  • On Tuesday, January 24, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a business meeting.

Executive Branch Activity

Trump Defense and Homeland Security Officials Assume Duties

On January 20, the Senate confirmed Gen. James Mattis to be the new Secretary of Defense and Gen. John Kelly to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security. They were both sworn in by Vice President Michael Pence later that same day. As one of his first official acts, President Donald Trump signed legislation granting Gen. Mattis a waiver from existing law that prohibits former officers in the U.S. Armed Forces from serving as Secretary of Defense until they have been separated from service for at least seven years.

According to a policy paper released by the Trump White House after inauguration, the administration’s top defense priorities include lifting caps on defense spending, rebuilding the military, expanding missile defenses, and cyberwarfare. The Trump Administration also plans to focus on improving veterans’ care.