This week in Congress it's all about the Navy and its shipbuilding programs, with a dash of radical Muslims and some worldwide threat analysis thrown in for leavening.
The Senate Armed Services Committee kicks things off on Tuesday morning at 9:30 with its so-called posture hearing on the Navy. This is the committee's chance to grill the service leaders about programs and end strength, and to push for whatever favorite programs or policy issues they bring to the table. Secretary Ray Mabus, one of the top contenders to replace departing Defense Secretary Robert Gates, will attend, along with CNO Adm. Gary Roughead and Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos.
Likely acquisition topics include: Just what does probation mean for the F-35B (expect a spirited presentation from the program's new leader, Gen. Amos); how will the Navy pay for SSBN-X and how much capability trading will occur as they look to lower costs.
The House Armed Services Committee will bore into the Navy's shipbuilding program on Wednesday afternoon. EMALS, carrier modernization, LCS, SSBN-X all should come up.
Then we've got DNI Jim Clapper and DIA Gen. Ronald Burgess on Thursday morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Much of this will likely focus on Libya, Al Qaeda in Yemen and just what is really happening throughout the Mideast and how can the US ride the wave. The politically hottest hearing of the week will be the House Homeland Security Committee's Thursday morning look at "radicalization in the American Muslim community." How much useful information will arise from the hearing is anyone's guess.