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United States Senate Committee on Armed Services

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and former Chairman John Warner (R-VA) listen to Admiral Mike Mullen's confirmation hearing before the Armed Services Committee to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in July 2007. The Armed Services Committee is the prime scene of discussion regarding U.S. military in the Senate.
Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and former Chairman John Warner (R-VA) listen to Admiral Mike Mullen's confirmation hearing before the Armed Services Committee to become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in July 2007. The Armed Services Committee is the prime scene of discussion regarding U.S. military in the Senate.
 In June 2009, Armed Services Committee senators Joe Lieberman, Carl Levin (chair), and John McCain, listen to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus deliver his opening remarks for the fiscal year 2010 budget request in June 2009.
In June 2009, Armed Services Committee senators Joe Lieberman, Carl Levin (chair), and John McCain, listen to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus deliver his opening remarks for the fiscal year 2010 budget request in June 2009.
 Hearing regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates greets Ranking member, John McCain. December 2, 2010.
Hearing regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates greets Ranking member, John McCain. December 2, 2010.
 Hearing on sexual assault in the military, June 4, 2013
Hearing on sexual assault in the military, June 4, 2013

The Committee on Armed Services (sometimes abbreviated SASC for Senate Armed Services Committee on its Web site) 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 Reorganization Act of 1946 following U.S. victory in the Second World War. It merged the responsibilities of the Committee on Naval Affairs (established in 1816) and the Committee on Military Affairs (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 tends to take a more bipartisan approach than other committees, as many of its members formerly served in the military or have major defense interests located in the states they come from.[1]

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Transcription

Hi, I'm Craig and this is Crash Course Government and Politics and today we're going to get down and dirty wallowing in the mud that is Congress. Okay, maybe that's a little unfair, but the workings of Congress are kind of arcane or byzantine or maybe let's just say extremely complex and confusing, like me, or Game of Thrones without the nudity. Some of the nudity, maybe. However, Congress is the most important branch, so it would probably behoove most Americans to know how it works. I'm going to try to explain. Be prepared to be behooved. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are divided up into committees in order to make them more efficient. The committees you hear about most are the standing committees, which are relatively permanent and handle the day-to-day business of Congress. The House has 19 standing committees and the Senate 16. Congressmen and Senators serve on multiple committees. Each committee has a chairperson, or chair, who is the one who usually gets mentioned in the press, which is why you would know the name of the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Tell us in the comments if you do know, or tell us if you are on the committee, or just say hi. Congress creates special or select committees to deal with particular issues that are beyond the jurisdiction of standing committees. Some of them are temporary and some, like the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, are permanent. Some of them have only an advisory function which means they can't write laws. The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has only advisory authority which tells you pretty much all you need to know about Congress and climate change. There are joint committees made up of members of both houses. Most of them are standing committees and they don't do a lot although the joint Committee on the Library oversees the Library of Congress, without which we would not be able to use a lot of these pictures. Like that one, and that one, and ooh that one's my favorite. Other committees are conference committees, which are created to reconcile a bill when the House and Senate write different versions of it, but I'll talk about those later when we try to figure out how a bill becomes a law. So why does Congress have so many committees? The main reason is that it's more efficient to write legislation in a smaller group rather than a larger one. Congressional committees also allow Congressmen to develop expertise on certain topics. So a Congressperson from Iowa can get on an agriculture committee because that is an issue he presumably knows something about if he pays attention to his constituents. Or a Congressperson from Oklahoma could be on the Regulation of Wind Rolling Down the Plain Committee. Committees allow members of Congress to follows their own interests, so someone passionate about national defense can try to get on the armed services committee. Probably more important, serving on a committee is something that a Congressperson can claim credit for and use to build up his or her brand when it comes time for reelection. Congress also has committees for historical reasons. Congress is pretty tradish, which is what you say when you don't have time to say traditional. Anyway, it doesn't see much need to change a system that has worked, for the most part, since 1825. That doesn't mean that Congress hasn't tried to tweak the system. Let's talk about how committees actually work in the Thought Bubble. Any member of Congress can propose a bill, this is called proposal power, but it has to go to a committee first. Then to get to the rest of the House or Senate it has to be reported out of committee. The chair determines the agenda by choosing which issues get considered. In the House the Speaker refers bills to particular committees, but the committee chair has some discretion over whether or not to act on the bills. This power to control what ideas do or do not become bills is what political scientists call "Gatekeeping Authority", and it's a remarkably important power that we rarely ever think about, largely because when a bill doesn't make it on to the agenda, there's not much to write or talk about. The committee chairs also manage the actual process of writing a bill, which is called mark-up, and the vote on the bill in the committee itself. If a bill doesn't receive a majority of votes in the committee, it won't be reported out to the full House or Senate. In this case we say the bill "died in committee" and we have a small funeral on the National Mall. Nah we just put it in the shredder. Anyway, committee voting is kind of an efficient practice. If a bill can't command a majority in a small committee it doesn't have much chance in the floor of either house. Committees can kill bills by just not voting on them, but it is possible in the House to force them to vote by filing a discharge petition - this almost never happens. Gatekeeping Authority is Congress's most important power, but it also has oversight power, which is an after-the-fact authority to check up on how law is being implemented. Committees exercise oversight by assigning staff to scrutinize a particular law or policy and by holding hearings. Holding hearings is an excellent way to take a position on a particular issue. Thanks Thought Bubble. So those are the basics of how committees work, but I promised you we'd go beyond the basics, so here we go into the Realm of Congressional History. Since Congress started using committees they have made a number of changes, but the ones that have bent the Congress into its current shape occurred under the speakership of Newt Gingrich in 1994. Overall Gingrich increased the power of the Speaker, who was already pretty powerful. The number of subcommittees was reduced, and seniority rules in appointing chairs were changed. Before Gingrich or "BG" the chair of a committee was usually the longest serving member of the majority party, which for most of the 20th century was the Democrats. AG Congress, or Anno Gingrichy Congress, holds votes to choose the chairs. The Speaker has a lot of influence over who gets chosen on these votes, which happen more regularly because the Republicans also impose term limits on the committee chairs. Being able to offer chairmanships to loyal party members gives the Speaker a lot more influence over the committees themselves. The Speaker also increased his, or her - this is the first time we can say that, thanks Nancy Pelosi - power to refer bills to committee and act as gatekeeper. Gingrich also made changes to congressional staffing. But before we discuss the changes, let's spend a minute or two looking at Congressional staff in general. There are two types of congressional staff, the Staff Assistants that each Congressperson or Senator has to help her or him with the actual job of being a legislator, and the Staff Agencies that work for Congress as a whole. The staff of a Congressperson is incredibly important. Some staffers' job is to research and write legislation while others do case work, like responding to constituents' requests. Some staffers perform personal functions, like keeping track of a Congressperson's calendar, or most importantly making coffee - can we get a staffer in here? As Congresspeople spend more and more time raising money, more and more of the actual legislative work is done by staff. In addition to the individual staffers, Congress as a whole has specialized staff agencies that are supposed to be more independent. You may have heard of these agencies, or at least some of them. The Congressional Research Service is supposed to perform unbiased factual research for Congresspeople and their staff to help them in the process of writing the actual bills. The Government Accountability Office is a branch of Congress that can investigate the finances and administration of any government administrative office. The Congressional Budget Office assesses the likely costs and impact of legislation. When the CBO looks at the cost of a particular bill it's called "scoring the bill." The Congressional reforms after 1994 generally increased the number of individual staff and reduced the staff of the staff agencies. This means that more legislation comes out of the offices of individual Congresspeople. The last feature of Congress that I'm going to mention, briefly because their actual function and importance is nebulous, is the caucus system. These are caucuses in Congress, so don't confuse them with the caucuses that some states use to choose candidates for office, like the ones in Iowa. Caucuses are semi-formal groups of Congresspeople organized around particular identities or interests. Semi-formal in this case doesn't mean that they wear suits and ties, it means that they don't have official function in the legislative process. But you know what? Class it up a little - just try to look nice. The Congressional Black Caucus is made up of the African American members of the legislature. The Republican Study Group is the conservative caucus that meets to discuss conservative issues and develop legislative strategies. Since 2010 there is also a Tea Party caucus in Congress. There are also caucuses for very specific interests like the Bike Caucus that focuses on cycling. There should also be a Beard Caucus, shouldn't there? Is there a Beard Caucus Stan? No? What about an eagle punching caucus? The purpose of these caucuses is for like minded people to gather and discuss ideas. The caucuses can help members of Congress coordinate their efforts and also provide leadership opportunities for individual Congresspeople outside of the more formal structures of committees. There are a lot of terms and details to remember, but here's the big thing to take away: caucuses, congressional staff, and especially committees, all exist to make the process of lawmaking more efficient. In particular, committees and staff allow individual legislators to develop expertise; this is the theory anyway. Yes it's a theory. Committees also serve a political function of helping Congresspeople build an identity for voters that should help them get elected. In some ways this is just as important in the role in the process of making actual legislation. When Congress doesn't pass many laws, committee membership, or better yet, being a committee chair is one of the only ways that a Congressperson can distinguish him or herself. At least it gives you something more to learn about incumbents when you're making your voting choices. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next week. Crash Course is produced in association with PBS Digital Studios. Support for Crash Course US Government comes from Voqal. Voqal supports nonprofits that use technology and media to advance social equity. Learn more about their mission and initiatives at voqal.org Crash Course is made with all of these lovely people. Thanks for watching. Staffer! Coffee! Please. Thank you.

Contents

Jurisdiction

According to the Standing Rules of the United States Senate, all proposed legislation, messages, petitions, memorials, and other matters relating to the following subjects are referred to the Armed Services Committee:[2]

  1. Aeronautical and space activities pertaining to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems or military operations.
  2. Common defense.
  3. Department of Defense, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force, generally.
  4. Maintenance and operation of the Panama Canal, including administration, sanitation, and government of the Canal Zone.
  5. Military research and development.
  6. National security aspects of nuclear energy.
  7. Naval petroleum reserves, except those in Alaska.
  8. Pay, promotion, retirement, and other benefits and privileges of members of the Armed Forces, including overseas education of civilian and military dependents.
  9. Selective service system.
  10. Strategic and critical materials necessary for the common defense.

Members, 115th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: [4]

Subcommittees

Subcommittee Name Chair Ranking Member
Airland   Tom Cotton (R-AR)   Angus King (I-ME)
Cybersecurity   Mike Rounds (R-SD)   Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities   Joni Ernst (R-IA)   Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Personnel   Thom Tillis (R-NC)   Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Readiness and Management Support   Jim Inhofe (R-OK)   Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Seapower   Roger Wicker (R-MS)   Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Strategic Forces   Deb Fischer (R-NE)   Joe Donnelly (D-IN)

Chairmen

Committee on Military Affairs, 1816–1947

Chairman Party State Years
John Williams DR TN 1816–1817
George M. Troup DR GA 1817–1818
John Williams DR TN 1818–1823
Andrew Jackson DR TN 1823–1825
William Henry Harrison DR OH 1825–1828
Thomas Hart Benton D MO 1828–1841
William Preston W SC 1841–1842
John J. Crittenden W KY 1842–1845
Thomas Hart Benton D MO 1845–1847
Lewis Cass D MI 1847–1848
Thomas Hart Benton D MO 1848–1849
Jefferson Davis D MS 1849–1851
James Shields D IL 1851–1855
John Weller D CA 1855–1857
Jefferson Davis D MS 1857–1861
Robert Ward Johnson D AR 1861
Henry Wilson R MA 1861–1872
John A. Logan R IL 1872–1877
George E. Spencer R AL 1877–1879
Theodore Randolph D NJ 1879–1881
John A. Logan R IL 1881–1886
William Joyce Sewell R NJ 1886–1887
Joseph R. Hawley R CT 1887–1893
Edward Walthall D MS 1893–1895
Joseph R. Hawley R CT 1895–1905
Redfield Proctor R VT 1905
Francis E. Warren R WY 1905–1911
Henry A. du Pont R DE 1911–1913
Joseph F. Johnston D AL 1913
George E. Chamberlain D OR 1913–1919
James W. Wadsworth, Jr. R NY 1919–1927
David A. Reed R PA 1927–1933
Morris Sheppard D TX 1933–1941
Robert R. Reynolds D NC 1941–1945
Elbert Thomas D UT 1945–1947

Committee on Naval Affairs, 1816–1947

Chairman Party State Years
Charles Tait DR GA 1816–1818
Nathan Sanford DR NY 1818–1819
James Pleasants DR VA 1819–1823
James Lloyd F MA 1823–1825
Robert Y. Hayne D SC 1825–1832
George M. Dallas D PA 1832–1833
Samuel Southard W NJ 1833–1836
William C. Rives D VA 1836–1839
Reuel Williams D ME 1839–1841
Willie P. Mangum W NC 1841–1842
Richard H. Bayard W DE 1842–1845
John Fairfield D ME 1845–1847
David Levy Yulee D FL 1847–1851
William M. Gwin D CA 1851–1855
Stephen Mallory D FL 1855–1861
John P. Hale R NH 1861–1864
James Grimes R IA 1864–1870
Aaron Cragin R NH 1870–1877
Aaron A. Sargent R CA 1877–1879
John R. McPherson D NJ 1879–1881
James Donald Cameron R PA 1881–1893
John R. McPherson D NJ 1893–1895
James Donald Cameron R PA 1895–1897
Eugene Hale R ME 1897–1909
George C. Perkins R CA 1909–1913
Benjamin Tillman D SC 1913–1918
Claude A. Swanson D VA 1918–1919
Carroll S. Page R VT 1919–1923
Frederick Hale R ME 1923–1933
Park Trammell D FL 1933–1936
David I. Walsh D MA 1936–1947

Committee on Armed Services, 1947–present

Chairman Party State Years
Chan Gurney Republican South Dakota 1947–1949
Millard E. Tydings Democratic Maryland 1949–1951
Richard B. Russell Democratic Georgia 1951–1953
Leverett Saltonstall Republican Massachusetts 1953–1955
Richard B. Russell Democratic Georgia 1955–1969
John C. Stennis Democratic Mississippi 1969–1981
John Tower Republican Texas 1981–1985
Barry Goldwater Republican Arizona 1985–1987
Sam Nunn Democratic Georgia 1987–1995
Strom Thurmond Republican South Carolina 1995–1999
John Warner Republican Virginia 1999–2001
Carl Levin Democratic Michigan 2001
John Warner Republican Virginia 2001
Carl Levin Democratic Michigan 2001–2003
John Warner Republican Virginia 2003–2007
Carl Levin Democratic Michigan 2007–2015
John McCain Republican Arizona 2015-present

Historical committee rosters

Members, 111th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: 2010 Congressional Record, Vol. 156, Page S6226

Subcommittees

Subcommittee Chair Ranking Minority Member
Airland Joe Lieberman (I-CT) John Thune (R-SD)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities Bill Nelson (D-FL) George LeMieux (R-FL)
Personnel Jim Webb (D-VA) Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Readiness and Management Support Evan Bayh (D-IN) Richard Burr (R-NC)
SeaPower Jack Reed (D-RI) Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Strategic Forces Ben Nelson (D-NE) David Vitter (R-LA)

Members, 112th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: 2011 Congressional Record, Vol. 157, Page S557

Subcommittees

Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Airland Joe Lieberman (I-CT) Scott Brown (R-MA)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities Kay Hagan (D-NC) Rob Portman (R-OH)
Personnel Jim Webb (D-VA) Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Readiness and Management Support Claire McCaskill (D-MO) Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Seapower Jack Reed (D-RI) Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Strategic Forces Ben Nelson (D-NE) Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Members, 113th Congress

Majority Minority

Source: 2013 Congressional Record, Vol. 159, Page S296

Subcommittees

Subcommittee Chair Ranking Member
Airland Joe Manchin (D-WV) Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities Kay Hagan (D-NC) Deb Fischer (R-NE)
Personnel Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Readiness and Management Support Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
Seapower Jack Reed (D-RI) John McCain (R-AZ)
Strategic Forces Mark Udall (D-CO) Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer. "With Chairmanship, McCain Seizes Chance to Reshape Pentagon Agenda", The New York Times (June 9, 2015). Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  2. ^ Rule XXV: Committees, Standing Rules of the United States Senate.
  3. ^ Angus King is an independent, but caucuses with the Democrats.
  4. ^ "U.S. Senate: Committee on Armed Services". www.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-01-07. 
  5. ^ a b c Sens. Lieberman and King were elected as Independents, but caucused with Democrats on the committee.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 January 2018, at 14:24.
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