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Senate Armed Services Committee
Standing committee

United States Senate
118th Congress
FormedJanuary 2, 1947
ChairJack Reed (D)
Since February 3, 2021
Ranking memberRoger Wicker (R)
Since January 3, 2023
Seats25 members
Political partiesMajority (13)
  •   Democratic (12)
  •   Independent (1)
Minority (12)
Policy areasDefense policy, military operations
Oversight authorityDepartment of Defense, Armed Forces
House counterpartHouse Armed Services Committee
Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) and Ranking Member 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 charged with overseeing the U.S. Senate's confirmation hearings for senior U.S. military.
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.
The committee's Don't Ask, Don't Tell hearing on December 2, 2010; U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates greets Ranking member, John McCain.
The Committee on Armed Services' hearing on sexual assault in the military on June 4, 2013

The Committee on Armed Services, sometimes abbreviated SASC for Senate Armed Services Committee, 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 the U.S. victory in World War II. The bill 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] The committee's regular legislative product is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has been passed by Congress and signed into law annually since 1962.[2]

The current chair is Democrat Jack Reed of Rhode Island, and the Ranking Member is Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi (2023).


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:[3]

  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, 118th Congress

Main article: 118th United States Congress

Majority[4] Minority[5]


Subcommittee Name Chair[7] Ranking Member[7]
Airland   Mark Kelly (D-AZ)   Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Cybersecurity   Joe Manchin (D-WV)   Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Emerging Threats and Capabilities   Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)   Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Personnel   Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)   Rick Scott (R-FL)
Readiness and Management Support   Mazie Hirono (D-HI)   Dan Sullivan (R-AK)
Seapower   Tim Kaine (D-VA)   Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Strategic Forces   Angus King (I-ME)   Deb Fischer (R-NE)


Committee on Military Affairs, 1816–1947

Chair Party State Years
John Williams Democratic-Republican Tennessee 1816–1817
George M. Troup Democratic-Republican Georgia 1817–1818
John Williams Democratic-Republican Tennessee 1818–1823
Andrew Jackson Jackson Republican Tennessee 1823–1825
William Henry Harrison Adams Ohio 1825–1828
Thomas H. Benton Jacksonian/Democratic Missouri 1828–1841
William Preston Whig South Carolina 1841–1842
John J. Crittenden Whig Kentucky 1842–1845
Thomas H. Benton Democratic Missouri 1845–1849
Jefferson Davis Democratic Mississippi 1849–1851
James Shields Democratic Illinois 1851–1855
John Weller Democratic California 1855–1857
Jefferson Davis Democratic Mississippi 1857–1861
Robert Ward Johnson Democratic Arkansas 1861
Henry Wilson Republican Massachusetts 1861–1872
John A. Logan Republican Illinois 1872–1877
George E. Spencer Republican Alabama 1877–1879
Theodore Randolph Democratic New Jersey 1879–1881
John A. Logan Republican Illinois 1881–1886
Joseph R. Hawley Republican Connecticut 1887–1893
Edward Walthall Democratic Mississippi 1893–1894
Joseph R. Hawley Republican Connecticut 1894–1905
Francis E. Warren Republican Wyoming 1905–1911
Henry A. du Pont Republican Delaware 1911–1913
Joseph F. Johnston Democratic Alabama 1913[8]
George E. Chamberlain Democratic Oregon 1913–1919
James Wolcott Wadsworth Jr. Republican New York 1919–1927
David Reed Republican Pennsylvania 1927–1933
Morris Sheppard Democratic Texas 1933–1941
Robert R. Reynolds Democratic North Carolina 1942–1945
Elbert Thomas Democratic Utah 1945–1947

Committee on Naval Affairs, 1816–1947

Chair Party State Years
Charles Tait Republican Georgia 1816–1818
Nathan Sanford Republican New York 1818–1819
James Pleasants Republican Virginia 1819–1823
James Lloyd Adams-Clay Federalist Massachusetts 1823–1825
Robert Y. Hayne Jacksonian South Carolina 1825–1832
George M. Dallas Jacksonian Pennsylvania 1832–1833
Samuel Southard Anti-Jackson New Jersey 1833–1836
William Rives Jacksonian/Democratic Virginia 1836–1839
Reuel Williams Democratic Maine 1839–1841
Willie P. Mangum Whig North Carolina 1841–1842
Richard Bayard Whig Delaware 1842–1845
John Fairfield Democratic Maine 1845–1847
David Yulee Democratic Florida 1847–1851
William Gwin Democratic California 1851–1855
Stephen Mallory Democratic Florida 1855–1861
John R. Thomson Democratic New Jersey 1861
John Hale Republican New Hampshire 1861–1864
James Grimes Republican Iowa 1864–1870
Aaron Cragin Republican New Hampshire 1870–1877
Aaron A. Sargent Republican California 1877–1879
John R. McPherson Democratic New Jersey 1879–1881
James Donald Cameron Republican Pennsylvania 1881–1893
John R. McPherson Democratic New Jersey 1893–1895
James Donald Cameron Republican Pennsylvania 1895–1897
Eugene Hale Republican Maine 1897–1909
George C. Perkins Republican California 1909–1913
Benjamin Tillman Democratic South Carolina 1913–1918
Claude A. Swanson Democratic Virginia 1918–1919
Carroll S. Page Republican Vermont 1919–1923
Frederick Hale Republican Maine 1923–1933
Park Trammell Democratic Florida 1933–1937
David I. Walsh Democratic Massachusetts 1937–1947

Committee on Armed Services, 1947–present

Chair Party State Years
Chan Gurney Republican South Dakota 1947–1949
Millard E. Tydings Democratic Maryland 1949–1951
Richard Russell Jr. Democratic Georgia 1951–1953
Leverett Saltonstall Republican Massachusetts 1953–1955
Richard Russell Jr. 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 W. Warner Republican Virginia 1999–2001
Carl Levin Democratic Michigan 2001[9]
John W. Warner Republican Virginia 2001
Carl Levin Democratic Michigan 2001–2003[10]
John W. Warner Republican Virginia 2003–2007
Carl Levin Democratic Michigan 2007–2015
John McCain Republican Arizona 2015–2018[11]
James Inhofe Republican Oklahoma 2018–2021
Jack Reed Democratic Rhode Island 2021–present

Historical committee rosters

111th Congress

Majority Minority

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

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)

112th Congress

Majority Minority

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

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)

113th Congress

Majority Minority

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

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)

114th Congress

Majority Minority
Subcommittee 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)

115th Congress

Majority Minority

116th Congress

Main article: 116th United States Congress

Majority Minority

117th Congress

Main article: 117th United States Congress

Majority Minority


See also


  1. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer. "With Chairmanship, McCain Seizes Chance to Reshape Pentagon Agenda", The New York Times (June 9, 2015). Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  2. ^ "History of the NDAA". February 3, 2017.
  3. ^ Rule XXV: Committees, Standing Rules of the United States Senate.
  4. ^ S.Res. 30 (118th Congress)
  5. ^ S.Res. 31 (118th Congress)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Independent Senator caucusing with Democrats
  7. ^ a b "Senate Armed Services Committee - Subcommittees, 118th Congress". Senate Armed Services Committee. Retrieved March 17, 2023.
  8. ^ Died August 8, 1913.
  9. ^ At the beginning of the 107th Congress in January 2001 the Senate was evenly divided. With a Democratic president and vice president still serving until January 20, the Democratic vice president was available to break a tie, and the Democrats thus controlled the Senate for 17 days, from January 3 to January 20. On January 3 the Senate adopted S. Res. 7 designating Democratic senators as committee chairmen to serve during this period and Republican chairmen to serve effective at noon on January 20, 2001.
  10. ^ On June 6, 2001, the Democrats took control of the Senate after Senator James Jeffords (VT) changed from the Republican Party to Independent and announced that he would caucus with the Democrats.
  11. ^ Died August 25, 2018.
  12. ^ "U.S. Senate: Committee on Armed Services". Retrieved January 7, 2017.