Avascent Analytics | Political Report: 4/25/16
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Political Report: 4/25/16

Main Story – House Armed Services Committee Boosts Base Defense Budget

By Matt Vallone, Senior Analysis Manager

Last week, Mac Thornberry, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) announced that the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would provide $610 billion in funding for defense. However, this amount would only fund Overseas Contingency Operations until April 2017. Instead, spending on the base budget would be boosted by $18 billion, allowing for the procurement of additional aircraft, ships and increasing end-strength. It would also require the next administration to ask for more money to continue operations, representing an overall increase in defense funding. It is worth noting that this is only the authorization of funding. In order to be able to spend money, appropriations are needed. So, there remains considerable space between this and any actual funding but this appears to lay out the contours of this fall’s funding fight. Stay tuned, as we are putting together a more complete comparison of the HASC and the President’s Budget for later in the week.

On Wednesday of this week, HASC will mark-up and pass its version of the FY 2017 NDAA. A mark-up is a session where the Committee will consider amendments to the legislation and decide how best to proceed with it. HASC, unlike many other committees, only marks up one bill per year. As is the Committee’s tradition, the mark-up will take place in one long, extended session beginning at 10 am and run until sometime in the early hours of Thursday. Feel free to tune in on youtube to follow the debate.

On the floor in the Senate this week will be the Energy & Water appropriations bill, which contains significant funding for the nation’s strategic weapons programs. In the House, floor time will be focused on disapproving of a Department of Labor regulation regarding financial advisors.

Congressional Defense Activity

SASC – 4/26 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program, 10am, G50 Dirksen

4/28 Counter-ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) Operations and Middle East Strategy, 930am, 216 Hart

HASC –   4/27 Mark-up of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, 10am

HAC-D – 4/14 CLOSED: Oversight Hearing – United States Pacific Command, 10am, H-140

SAC-D – 4/27 Hearing to review the Fiscal Year 2017 budget request and funding justification for the U.S. Department of Defense, 1030am, 192 Dirksen

Government Activity Round-up

Last week, the GAO released an assessment of the management and reporting of DoD’s global train and equip program for counterterrorism. It wasn’t particularly kind to the status quo.

Over at the CBO, there’s nothing new for defense or aerospace, so we’ll keep posting the link to the assessment of the President’s budget. Full report is here.

DC/Defense Activity

It’s a very busy week for defense when Donald Trump giving a major foreign policy address isn’t the main story, but here we are. Mr. Trump will be speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday at the invitation of the Center for the National Interest. Since any Trump item is required to have at least one bad joke, we just want to say that we’re sure it will be yuuuge.

Beyond Trump’s speech, on Monday from 10am to 1130am CSIS will be hosting an event looking at acquisition reform featuring a number of heavy hitters, such as William LaPlante (Mitre, formerly USAF), Kate Blakeley (CSBA), John Luddy (AIA), and Matthew chandler (Palantir). You can watch it here.

Later on Monday, the Heritage Foundation will be hosting an event called ‘Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War’ (12pm-1am).

Nick Bird