The Committee on Armed Services is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of the nation's military, including the Department of Defense, military research and development, nuclear energy (as pertaining to national security), benefits for members of the military, the Selective Service System and other matters related to defense policy. The Armed Services Committee was created as a result of the Legislative Reorginization Act of 1946 following US victory in the Second World War. It merged the responsibilities of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee (established in 1816) and the Senate Military Affairs Committee (also established in 1816.) Considered one of the most powerful Senate committees, its broad mandate allowed it to report some of the most extensive and revolutionary legislation during the Cold War years, including the National Security Act of 1947.
The committee was created in 1947 by the merged of the Military Affairs and Naval Affairs committees.
The Armed Services Committee is currently chaired by Senator John Warner (R-VA) and the ranking Democrat is Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). The members of the Armed Services Committee are:
- John Warner, (R-Virginia), chairman
- John McCain, (R-Arizona)
- James Inhofe, (R-Oklahoma)
- Pat Roberts, (R-Kansas)
- Jeff Sessions, (R-Alabama)
- Susan Collins, (R-Maine)
- John Ensign, (R-Nevada)
- James Talent, (R-Missouri)
- Saxby Chambliss, (R-Georgia)
- Lindsey Graham, (R-South Carolina)
- Elizabeth Dole, (R-North Carolina)
- John Cornyn, (R-Texas)
- John Thune, (R-South Dakota)
- Carl Levin (D-Michigan), ranking minority member
- Edward Kennedy, (D-Massachusetts)
- Robert Byrd, (R-West Virginia)
- Joseph Lieberman, (D-Connecticut)
- Jack Reed, (D-Rhode Island)
- Daniel Akaka, (D-Hawaii)
- Bill Nelson, (D-Florida)
- Ben Nelson, (D-Nebraska)
- Mark Dayton, (D-Minnesota)
- Evan Bayh, (D-Indiana)
- Hillary Rodham Clinton, (D-New York)
The Committee on Armed Services is divided into six subcommittees. Each subcommittee is chaired by a Republican who is not permitted to also chair the full committee. Each subcommittee also has a ranking Democrat opposition leader.
Subcommittee on Airland
This subcommittee has jurisdiction over army and air force operations, bases and appropriations. It is chaired by John McCain, (R-AZ) and its ranking Democrat is Joseph I. Lieberman, (D-CT).
Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
Established in 1999, this subcommittee focuses on nontraditional threats, such as terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. It is chaired by Pat Roberts, (R-KS) and its ranking Democrat is Jack Reed, (D-RI)
Subcommittee on Personnel
This subcommittee has oversight on all matters relating to active and reserve military personnel, including pay rates, benefits, training programs, and military justice. It is chaired by Saxby Chambliss, (R-GA) and its ranking Democrat is E. Benjamin Nelson, (D-NE).
Subcommittee on Seapower
This subcommittee has oversight on all matters relating to the United States Navy and Navy Reserve forces. It is chaired by James M. Talent, (R-MO) and its ranking Democrat is Edward M. Kennedy, (D-MA)
Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support
This subcommittee's jurisdiction includes military readiness, logistics, environmental issues, business operations and working capital funds, real property maintenance, military construction, base realignment and closure, Armed Forces Retirement Home, readiness procurement and depots and shipyards. It is chaired by John Ensign (R-NV) and its ranking Democrat is Daniel Akaka (D-HI).
Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
This subcommittee oversees legislation relating to nuclear weapons, national defense and nuclear detterrance. It is chaired by Wayne Allard, (R-CO) and its ranking Democrat is Bill Nelson, (D-FL).
Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs, 1816-1947
Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs, 1816-1947
Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, 1947-present