Homeland security: The week ahead

By SHAUN WATERMAN, UPI Homeland and National Security Editor  |  May 19, 2008 at 2:37 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- Foreign policy, and in particular relations with so-called rogue states like Iran and Syria, has taken center stage in the presidential election campaign this week -- with the row over President Bush's comments in Israel about appeasement. What other security-type stories are we going to see on the news agenda over the next seven days?

Monday, the Senate will take up its version of the war funding bill the House passed last week -- if lawmakers manage to get this to final passage before adjourning for the Memorial Day recess at the end of the week, it very likely will be the only appropriations bill passed by this Congress, CQ Weekly says. Democratic appropriators appear to have concluded that they'd rather deal with the next president.

Also Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union will be highlighting what it believes will be a damning report from the Department of Justice's inspector general on the FBI's role in so-called enhanced interrogation of war-on-terror detainees; and the U.S.-China Commission holds a hearing on China's cyber and space warfare capabilities and proliferation practices.

On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen testify before the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on their funding request for next year; while Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte testifies on Pakistan to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

He should expect a grilling. The other witness is from the Government Accountability Office, which recently concluded in a damning report that the administration had no strategy for countering the terrorist threat on the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Also Tuesday, a slew of subcommittee hearings on the House side includes ones on export compliance and non-proliferation; Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids of workplaces; and detention policy and public diplomacy, poetically titled "City on the Hill or Prison on the Bay? The Mistakes of Guantanamo and the Decline of America's Image."

And Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator David Paulison will roll out DHS' Hurricane Season plans at FEMA Headquarters.

Wednesday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meets to vote on the nomination of Paul Schneider to be deputy secretary of homeland security. Expect the nomination to pass easily and Schneider to be confirmed before the weekend recess.

More contention, if not more actual opposition, is expected at the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday on Gen. David Petraeus' nomination for commander of the U.S. Central Command and the promotion of his deputy, Gen. Raymond Odierno, to head coalition forces in Iraq.

Also Wednesday, DHS Deputy Undersecretary for Management Elaine Duke will testify before the House Homeland Security Committee on diversity at the department.

On Thursday, Sen. Daniel Akaka's Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee looks at progress in improving the security clearance process, one of the top priorities of Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell.

Trending Stories