United States Senate Committee on Armed Services

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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.
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

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]


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, 114th Congress[edit]

Majority Minority

Source:[citation needed]


Subcommittee Name Chair Ranking Member
Airland   Tom Cotton (R-AR)   Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities   Deb Fischer (R-NE)   Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Personnel   Lindsey Graham (R-SC)   Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Readiness and Management Support   Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)   Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Seapower   Roger Wicker (R-MS)   Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Strategic Forces   Jeff Sessions (R-AL)   Joe Donnelly (D-IN)


Committee on Military Affairs, 1816–1947[edit]

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 NR 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[edit]

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[edit]

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 1981–1984
  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[edit]

See also[edit]


  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.

External links[edit]