Congressional Markups Begin

The House Armed Services Committee starts marking up the Fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill on Wednesday. Both the strategic forces subcommittee and the military personnel panel are set to act on the legislation, followed on Thursday by the panels on air and land forces; readiness; terrorism, unconventional threats and capabilities; and seapower and expeditionary forces. One item to watch for is whether the air and land forces panel adds money to keep the F136 engine program alive for the F-35 strike fighter. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chairman of that subcommittee, has already indicated his intent to do so, despite the Pentagon’s desire to terminate that project, according to at least one press report. The Senate Armed Services Committee is scheduled to mark up its version of the bill starting on May 25.