Committee Releases Details for Updated Hearing Process in Response to COVID-19 Recommendations

 

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and its effect on Senate business and operations, and is following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Office of the Attending Physician. While the committee is committed to continuing Congressional oversight and data collection necessary to drafting the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to protect the health of everyone involved, traditional hearings are not possible under current conditions.

In an effort to continue providing committee Members and the public with much-needed defense-related information, the committee has developed a process (“Paper Hearings”) to execute oversight and collect data for the NDAA, while also mitigating health risks due to COVID-19.

This Paper Hearing format will involve the public posting of all witness testimony as well as the SASC Chairman and Ranking Member opening statements on the scheduled hearing date and time. The committee will collect questions from all SASC members related to the hearing topic, to be transmitted to the Department of Defense at the date and time of the scheduled hearing. The committee intends to post Member questions and witnesses within one week of posting opening statements, though the committee may exercise discretion and flexibility to ensure the Department of Defense is able to fulfill mission-critical duties, especially those related to COVID-19 response and national security. 

When conditions allow for a return to traditional hearings, SASC will transition back to that preferred mode. In addition, the committee is exploring other ways to continue these critical oversight functions.

The Full Committee hearing on the Posture of the Department of the Army, scheduled for Thursday, March 26, at 9:30 a.m., will now be conducted as a Paper Hearing. Witness statements and statements from the committee Chairman and Ranking Member will be posted on the committee website on Thursday, March 26, at 9:30 a.m. Member questions and witness answers will post on the committee website within one week after the posting of the opening statements.