The US Senate is to be briefed by top intelligence officials on global threats, including North Korea and Russia

By Billy

The US Senate intelligence committee is today holding its annual Worldwide Threats hearing in Washington.

The hearing is expected to include discussion of North Korea and Russia and will include both an open and closed session.

CIA director Michael Pompeo and FBI director Christopher Wray will be among six prominent figures of the US intelligence community to testify.

North Korea, Syria, and South Sudan all featured in discussions last year and are expected to do so again, with a focus on North Korea’s burgeoning nuclear program and the US military strategy in Afghanistan and the US’ in the Syrian peace process.

Cyber security and terrorism more broadly are also on the agenda.

A new topic this year will be the general credibility of the intelligence community, which US president Donald Trump and many of his allies have publicly criticised.

FBI, coming shortly after the fallout from the controversial Nunes memo.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has requested a major boost in military spending for 2019, requesting Congress approve a budget of $686bn — one of the largest in US history — due to threats from China and Russia.

Touting the proposal on Monday, Trump said the US military would be the strongest it has ever been, including “increasing arsenals of virtually every weapon”.

The Pentagon’s request is part of the Trump administration’s budget proposals that included major cuts for international diplomacy and overseas aid.

Under secretary of defense David Norquist reportedly told reporters:

Great power competition, not terrorism, has emerged as the central challenge to US security and prosperity. It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model-gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.

The proposal would add 25,900 service members to the military and further grow the force by 56,600 by 2023, allowing the US Defense Department to fill in units, and recruit pilots, maintainers and cyber security experts, according to Norquist.

Troops would also receive a 2.6 percent pay raise during the 2019 calendar year, in what would be the largest salary increase since 2010.