Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley are once again testifying before lawmakers Wednesday morning about President Joe Biden’s $715 billion DOD budget request, this time at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.
Here are some moments from Tuesday’s budget hearings in the Senate.
- Army Secretary Christine Wormuth reiterated last week’s warnings from Austin that the National Guard will be unable to complete all its training programs if Congress doesn’t authorize a reimbursement of the $521 million it cost for Guard members to patrol the U.S. Capitol from January through May.
- Testifying alongside Wormuth, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told Senate appropriators that he does not think the Guard should add a quick reaction force in the D.C. area, Army Times noted. “My best military advice is law enforcement should be conducted by law enforcement agencies, and the military should be the last resort.” The House has passed legislation to create the quick reaction force, reimburse the Guard expenditures and upgrade Capitol complex security, but the Senate has not acted.
- Wormuth and McConville acknowledged the Army budget request requires “tough decisions” but didn’t criticize the fact that the budget would maintain the service’s current end strength.
- The Navy hopes to learn from cost overruns and schedule delays on its project to modernize the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Maine, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said the snags were because of COVID-19 and unrealistic cost estimates, which it hopes to avoid as it modernizes its other three shipyards, Defense News reported. “We are now bringing in industry before we make the estimates so that we have a better-informed idea of the complexity of the job,” Gilday said.
- Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said he was “shocked” by the Capitol riots. “Our nation witnessed a small but violent minority attempt to subvert the rule of law through an overt act of violent coercion on January 6, 2021,” he said in written testimony. “I was even more dismayed to learn that some of those engaged in that attack had previously served in the military – to include the United States Marine Corps. Thankfully, we as a nation and military have done as we always do – learned, endured, and grown stronger.”
DOD photo by Chad J. McNeeley