Bryan Maxwell Joins SMI as Vice President

Bryan Maxwell has joined SMI as a Vice President. He has over a decade of Capitol Hill experience, most recently serving the last six years as Senior Defense Policy Advisor and Military Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Committees on Armed Services and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He is a widely respected national security figure on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill. Bryan currently serves as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve and served in Afghanistan. Bryan received his Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Virginia and holds a Master of Public Policy from George Washington University.

We had the opportunity to ask him a few questions to get to know him better.

What successes are you most proud of from your time on Capitol Hill?
“Working for Senator Shaheen over the last six years has been the highlight of my professional career. I was proud to support many significant national security accomplishments including the arrival of all twelve KC-46 aerial refueling tankers to the Pease Air National Guard Base. I was also proud to play a role in supporting Senator Shaheen’s effort to urge the Navy to develop the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan, a $21 billion, 20-year investment in our nation’s four public shipyards, which is instrumental in funding several major military construction projects at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to increase dry dock capacity in support of our fast attack submarine fleet.”

What are you most excited about working on at SMI?
“I am excited to leverage more than a decade of experience on Capitol Hill to advance SMI client priorities in support of our national security. My experience working closely with the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and Senate Appropriations Committee to craft the annual defense authorization and appropriations bill, provides me with unique insight to develop congressional engagement strategy and help navigate SMI clients through the congressional budget process in order to highlight the capabilities they bring to the Department of Defense.”

How do you like to spend your free time?
“In my free time I like to travel, try new restaurants and entertain guests with my cooking and wine pairings. I am also currently taking up golf.”

Welcome to the team – see you on the golf course!

Find the press release here and his contact information here.

House and Senate Announce Appropriations Committees Leadership

February has brought forth House and Senate announcements on final constitution and leadership of multiple committees as the 117th Congress begins to organize.
On February 4, House Appropriations Committee announced its Subcommittee Chairs:

  • Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies – Sanford Bishop, Jr. (GA)
  • Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies — Matt Cartwright (PA)
  • Defense — Betty McCollum (MN)
  • Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies — Marcy Kaptur (OH)
  • Financial Services and General Government — Mike Quigley (IL)
  • Homeland Security — Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA)
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies — Chellie Pingree (ME)
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies —   Rosa DeLauro (CT)
  • Legislative Branch — Tim Ryan (OH)
  • Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies — Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL)
  • State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs — Barbara Lee (CA)
  • Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies — David E. Price (NC).

A full list of subcommittee membership can be found here.

The Senate Appropriations Committee announced its leadership on February 12:

  • Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies – Tammy Baldwin (WI)
  • Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies — Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
  • Defense — Jon Tester (MT)
  • Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies — Dianne Feinstein (CA)
  • Financial Services and General Government — Chris Van Hollen (MD)
  • Homeland Security — Chris Murphy (CT)
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies — Jeff Merkely (OR)
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies — Patty Murray (WA)
  • Legislative Branch — Jack Reed (RI)
  • Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies — Martin Heinrich (MN)
  • State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs — Chris Coons (DE)
  • Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies — Brian Schatz (HI)

A full list of subcommittee membership can be found here.

On February 12, the House Armed Services Committee also announced leadership (here) and the Senate Armed Services Committee followed on February 16 (here).

Sen. Richard Shelby Announces Retirement

Earlier this month, Senator Richard Shelby (AL) announced that he would not seek reelection in 2022.

He has chaired several powerful committees over the course of his career, including the Appropriations Committee, where he is still the most senior Republican, and the Banking Committee, of which he is currently the longest serving member. His time on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee has seen a boon to the defense industrial base in Alabama, especially for the production of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Expeditionary Fast Transport Ships.

First elected in 1986 as a Democrat, Shelby became a Republican following the GOP’s sweep in the 1994 midterm elections. His retirement announcement follows three other GOP senators’ own retirement announcements, Rob Portman (OH), Pat Toomey (PA), and Richard Burr (NC). However, considering the newly elected junior Senator from Alabama, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, ousted Democratic incumbent Doug Jones by more than 20 percentage points last November, the seat is expected to remain firmly Republican.

While many expected the 86-year old Senator to retire soon, his retirement will leave a gap for top Republican in the Appropriations Committee. Based on seniority, Maine Senator Susan Collins is next in line for the position, and she would also likely take over the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee top GOP role as well.

Earmarks Back in Discussion

Last year, House Democrats detailed a plan to overhaul earmarks, eventually postponing the effort to bring them back. They’re now back in the news again. On February 16, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was said to have privately told Democrats that earmarks will be revived this Congress and that the effort will be bipartisan.

Politico reports that House Appropriations Chair Rose DeLauro is “’working through the details of a reformed process’ with regard to earmarks and will share more information ‘in the coming weeks.’”

In response, members of the GOP, led by Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) are bringing back a charge to ban earmarks permanently, including through a letter to Appropriations chairs and an op-ed to support legislation, though House GOP leaders have not yet made a statement on where they stand.

Senate Confirms No. 1 and No. 2 at Pentagon

On January 22, the Senate confirmed Gen. Lloyd Austin as its next U.S. Secretary of Defense. The retired four-star Army general and the first Black defense secretary in U.S. history was confirmed on a near unanimous 93-2 vote. Because General Austin has not been separated from the military for at least seven years, the National Security Act of 1947 required a waiver to be nominated, which was passed by both the House and Senate.
On February 4, the Senate confirmed Dr. Kathleen Hicks as the Deputy Defense Secretary, making her the first woman to be confirmed to the position.

Due to Secretary Austin’s service on the board of Raytheon Technologies, he has agreed to recusehimself from decisions concerning the company. These decisions will be made by Deputy Secretary Hicks. Raytheon is responsible for two key nuclear capabilities: the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program and the Long Range Standoff Weapon. During her hearing, Hicks said she supported nuclear modernization and the nuclear triad and would defer to Austin and Biden on matters of nuclear policy. Hicks has also stated that she is concerned by consolidation in the defense industrial base – arguing that competition is necessary for the U.S. military to maintain an edge over China and Russia.

Given their backgrounds, it is likely that Secretary Austin will be focused on managing relationships with the President, White House, Congress, and foreign allies, while Deputy Secretary Hicks will focus on managing the department, building the budget, and making decisions regarding the future-years defense program.
Additional issues for the team will include rebuilding relationships with Congress, investing in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and hypersonic weapons, and scaling up technologies with a defense budget that is expected to stay flat.

Links and Articles

Building an Agile Government for an Era of Megachange | Brookings Institute

The Biden Administration: Strategy and Reshaping the National Security Budget | CSIS

Defense Acquisition in the Biden Administration | CSIS

Nuclear Modernization Under Competing Pressures | CSIS

Vital Signs 2021: The Health and Readiness of the Defense Industrial Base | NDIA