Senate Armed Services Committee Makes Changes in Leadership

January 27, 2017

The Senate Armed Services Committee (SAC) is organizing itself to move forward with a busy agenda of defense policy issues and confirmations in the 115th Congress. As the new administration led by President Donald Trump takes over, the committee has made some significant changes in its leadership.

The top leadership will remain the same, with one-time presidential candidate and Navy veteran, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) remaining at the helm as chairman. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), an Army veteran, will remain in place as the committee's ranking member. Five of the seven subcommittees have changed.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) will take over leadership of the SASC's new subcommittee on Cybersecurity. The new panel will oversee and legislate policies and programs relating to DOD's cyber forces and capabilities.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who was originally supposed to take over as the chairman of the Cybersecurity panel, chose instead to give up his seat as chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee and pass the gavel to Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) in order to focus on his responsibilities as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. Graham also chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism and would have required a waiver in the Senate in order to chair three different committee sub panels.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) will turn over her chair of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Panel to Sen. Joni Erns (R-Iowa) and will chair the Strategic Forces Subcommittee. Ernst is the first female veteran to serve in the Senate.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) will take over the Readiness and Support Subcommittee which focuses on military weapons modernization and development. He takes over leadership of the subcommittee from former Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who lost her reelection bid last year.

The Airland Subcommittee will continue to be led by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), an Army and Iraq War veteran and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) will continue to chair the Seapower Subcommittee.

MOAA looks forward to working with the committee and its leadership on issues of importance to servicemembers and veterans and their families.

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