The week ahead features a higher-than-normal level of national security events in Washington, including hearings for President-elect Trump’s Cabinet picks, think tank events, a gathering of top Navy surface leaders and a Capitol Hill hearing on the role of civilian control of the military.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is set to hold two hearings this week: one on the qualifications of retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to be the next defense secretary and one on the implications of allowing him to serve in this role so soon after serving in uniform.

Eliot Cohen, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and Kathleen Hicks, the director of the international security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, are both slated to testify on Tuesday at the hearing focusing on civilian control of the armed forces.

Under law, a former service member must be out of the military for seven years before serving as the civilian defense secretary to maintain civilian control of the military. But Mattis retired in 2013, meaning Congress will need to pass a waiver for him to serve as President-elect Trump’s top man at the Pentagon.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and one of the lone voices not supporting Mattis for defense secretary because of the waiver issue, said after meeting with the former general last week that she’s eager to ask specific questions there about future implications of issuing a waiver to Mattis.

On Thursday, the committee is expected to hold the confirmation hearing for Mattis, which experts predict is likely to force the former Marine to answer for some of Trump’s more controversial national security statements, including his seemingly cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his promise to bring back torture techniques for interrogations or his recent criticism of Pentagon acquisition programs such as the F-35.

Another former Marine will also face a Senate panel this week on Wednesday afternoon. Retired Gen. John Kelly appears before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs for his confirmation hearing to serve as the homeland security secretary.

Meanwhile, across the river, several high-profile Navy leaders will speak at the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium in Arlington. Adm. William Moran, the vice chief of naval operations, delivers the keynote on Tuesday, the opening day of the conference. Wednesday morning, Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., and Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., will speak about the Navy on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers must reckon with funding the service’s need for a 355-ship fleet.

Other leaders speaking during the conference include outgoing Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft on Wednesday afternoon and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller on Thursday morning.

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Some Pentagon officials are speaking at think tanks and other various events around D.C. this week as well. Some of the highlights are Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday and Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of acquisition, technology and logistics, at George Washington Law School, on Friday.

Meryl Streep uses Golden Globes speech to deliver warning about Donald Trump

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Award-winning actress Meryl Streep begged the press to hold President-elect Trump accountable in an impassioned speech at the Golden Globes Sunday night.

Accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoring her body of work, Streep used the stage to defend Hollywood and implore her peers to use their influence help keep the new White House in check.

“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage,” Streep said. “That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists.

By Daniel Chaitin

01/08/17 10:38 PM

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