New House Armed Services Chairman Pledges to Keep ‘Bipartisan Tradition

New House Armed Services Chairman Pledges to Keep ‘Bipartisan Tradition
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) speak on Capitol Hill in 2015. Since then, the men have switched posts on the House Armed Services Committee, with Smith now the chairman and Thornberry serving as ranking member. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The House Armed Services Committee held its first meeting of the new 116th Congress on Jan. 24, while much of Washington remained in the shadow of the federal shutdown.

The committee is responsible for funding and oversight of the Department of Defense, including personnel policies and services to support the health and well-being of servicemembers and their families.

Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the new chairman, convened an “organizational meeting” to layout priorities and procedural rules for governing in the session Smith thanked the former chairman - and now ranking member -- Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) for his leadership and staunch support of “one of the most bipartisan committees in Congress,” having shepherded passage of a National Defense Authorization (NDAA) for the past four years.

“Working issues with both sides of the isle is the best model for this committee which has endless number of important and complicated issues it must work,” said Smith.

Smith said his two priorities as committee chair are “to maintain its bipartisan tradition and to produce an NDAA.”

Thornberry supported the new chairman's priorities, saying, “It doesn't matter if you are in the majority or minority you can meaningfully contribute to this committee.” He also emphasized how important it was “for the committee to do everything it can to not go backwards and to make sure progress is made.”

Both Smith and Thornberry took time to introduce the committee's 18 new members and welcome back returning members.

While individual subcommittee membership has yet to be announced, the following leadership positions have been made public:

Military Personnel


  • Chair, Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.)
  • Ranking Member, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.)

Seapower and Projection Forces

  • Chair, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.)
  • Ranking Member, Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.)

Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities

  • Chair, Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.)
  • Ranking Member, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)

Strategic Forces

  • Chair, Rep Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.)
  • Ranking Member, Mike Turner (R-Ohio)

Tactical Air and Land Forces

  • Chair, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.)
  • Ranking Member, Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R­-Mo.)

MOAA is pleased to see the committee's continued commitment to serving our brave men and women. We look forward to working with the committee throughout the 116th Congress.

About the Author

Cmdr. René Campos, USN (Ret)
Cmdr. René Campos, USN (Ret)

Campos currently serves as MOAA's Senior Director of Government Relations, managing matters related to military and veterans’ health care, wounded, ill and injured, and caregiver policy.