Gen. Laura Richardson, head of U.S. Southern Command, is scheduled to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on March 8. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Sophia Simons/Navy)
The White House is expected to unveil its budget plans for next fiscal year on Thursday, and Congress will start debate on that proposal right away.
Posture hearings on the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs budgets start even before the administration’s planned release, with officials from multiple military commands scheduled to testify throughout the week.
The budget debate is expected to last until late in the year, despite a Oct. 1 start for fiscal 2024. Republican lawmakers have vowed to make cuts in non-defense programs to help curb federal spending, while Democratic lawmakers (and President Joe Biden) have promised to preserve those services.
March and April typically feature a parade of high-ranking military and VA officials to Capitol Hill, to explain their spending goals for the coming year and to answer questions about past expenditures.
Tuesday, March 7
Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen Special Operations and Cyber Command
Gen. Paul Nakasone, head of U.S. Cyber Command, and Gen. Bryan Fenton, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, will testify in an open and a closed session on their agency priorities for the upcoming year.
Senate Appropriations — 10 a.m. — 192 Dirksen Defense Health Program
Defense health officials will testify on current operations and budget needs for fiscal 2024.
House Veterans' Affairs — 3 p.m. — 390 Cannon Health Information Systems
VA officials will testify on progress and setbacks with the department’s electronic health records modernization program.
Wednesday, March 8
House and Senate Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — 390 Cannon Veteran Service Organizations
Members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Wounded Warrior Project, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors and others will testify on their legislative priorities for the upcoming year.
House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — Visitor’s Center H210 Afghanistan Evacuations
Officials from groups involved with the evacuation of Afghan allies during the 2021 departure will testify on remaining challenges and shortfall with the effort.
House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM
Gen. Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command, and Gen. Laura Richardson, head of U.S. Southern Command, will testify about priorities and needs for fiscal 2024.
Senate Intelligence Committee — 10 a.m. — 216 Hart Worldwide threats
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, along with the heads of the CIA, DIA and FBI, will testify on current worldwide threats.
Senate Foreign Relations — 10:30 a.m. — Capitol S116 Pending Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta to be Ambassador at Large for global women's issues.
House Armed Services — 3 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn Space Command and STRATCOM
Gen. Anthony Cotton, head of U.S. Strategic Command, and Gen. James Dickinson, head of U.S. Space Command, will testify on current challenges and the fiscal 2024 budget request.
Senate Homeland Security — 4 p.m. — 562 Dirksen Pending Nominations
The committee will consider several pending nominations, including Colleen Shogan to be Archivist of the United States.
Thursday, March 9
House Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — 2212 Rayburn Digital Defense
Defense Department Chief Information Officer John Sherman will testify on military information technology issues and digital modernization efforts.
House Armed Services — 10 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn Senior Enlisted Views
The senior enlisted leaders from each of the five services will testify on the needs of military personnel and the fiscal 2024 budget request.
House Veterans' Affairs — 10:30 a.m. — 390 Cannon Service Member Workforce Protections
Outside experts will testify on employment protections for Guard and Reserve members called to military duty.
House Armed Services — 1 p.m. — 2118 Rayburn Special Operations
Gen. Bryan Fenton, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, will testify on the fiscal 2024 budget request.
House Veterans' Affairs — 3 p.m. — 390 Cannon VA Leadership
Committee members will discuss changes in VA leadership and their potential impact on veterans services.
Friday, March 10
House Armed Services — 9 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn Hypersonic Programs
Michael White, principal director for defense hypersonic programs, will testify on current projects and the fiscal 2024 budget request.
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.