This week in Congress: Lawmakers confront Pentagon leaders on Afghanistan

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley will appear before both the House and Senate Armed Services this week to answer what are expected to be confrontational questions about the U.S. military exit from Afghanistan.

The high-profile hearings — before senators on Tuesday and House lawmakers on Wednesday — are the first appearances by the two senior Pentagon leaders on Capitol Hill since the end of the military mission in Afghanistan on Aug. 31.

Lawmakers have had a series of closed-door briefings on the topic in recent weeks, but have also expressed frustration at the lack of public information from Defense Department officials on missteps in the evacuation process and ongoing work to pull out allies left behind.

Milley is also expected to face questioning about revelations in the new book “Peril” by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa that suggest the Joint Chiefs Chairman worked against former President Donald Trump during his final days in office.

Tuesday, Sept. 28

Senate Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — G-50 Dirksen

Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley will testify on the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and other topics.

House Foreign Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing

Southeast Asia

Outside experts will testify on U.S. security interests in southeast Asia.

Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 106 Dirksen

Nominations

The committee will consider several nominations, including Mark Gitenstein to be U.S. representative to the European Union.

House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn

Africa

Michael Gonzales, deputy assistant secretary of state for African Affairs, will testify on security issues in the region.

Wednesday, Sept. 29

House Armed Services — 9:30 a.m. — 2118 Rayburn

Afghanistan

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley will testify on the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan and other topics.

Senate Foreign Relations — 2 p.m. — online hearing

Nominations

The committee will consider several nominations, including Claire Cronin to be U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

Thursday, Sept. 30

House Foreign Affairs — 1 p.m. — 2172 Rayburn

Pending legislation

Committee members will consider several pending bills.

House Homeland Security — 2 p.m. — online hearing

Homeland Security

Federal officials will testify on potential changes to the Department of Homeland Security.

House Veterans’ Affairs — 2 p.m. — online hearing

VA’s information technology

Department officials will testify on ongoing technology improvement initiatives.

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.



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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.