If the Democrats win the majority of House seats in the upcoming election, as many observers project, the Chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will likely be Congressman Adam Smith (Democrat of Washington State).
Now in his 11th term, Congressman Smith serves as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), where he has established himself as a thoughtful leader related to national security issues.
Congressman Smith is a strong advocate for US military personnel and their families and he is committed to providing our military personnel with the best equipment available to carry out their current and future missions while ensuring that the Pentagon spends taxpayer dollars in the most efficient and effective manner. This includes carefully examining current policies and working to eliminate fraud, waste and abuse.
Having served on the on the HASC since 1997, Smith formerly chaired the subcommittee on Air and Land Forces (ALF), which has jurisdiction over all Army and nearly all Air Force acquisition programs. Prior to serving as Chair of ALF, Adam chaired the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, which oversees the United States Special Operations Forces and counter-terrorism policy, among other critical areas. Adam has also previously served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Congressman Smith recently advised DSJ that his national security priorities for the next Congress, no matter who is in charge, should be as follows.
Oversight of President Trump. Congress needs to live up to its constitutional role as an institution that performs oversight and holds President Trump accountable to the people. This is true on nearly every issue, from corruption, fraud, waste, and abuse, to the politicization of the military, to his mismanagement of disaster response, to the lack of a consistent policy concerning civilian casualties, to his policies on Russia, and more.
Ensuring we get the most value for taxpayer dollars. We need to do aggressive oversight of the Pentagon’s budget and weapon programs to ensure that we are getting the best value for the taxpayer dollars we are spending. We know there is waste in the Pentagon’s budget. It’s our job to find it. We also need to make sure the Pentagon can be audited so we know how the money is being used.
An inclusive military. We need to make sure that our military can attract the best, most talented people by eliminating arbitrary and discriminatory barriers that narrow the field of qualified people who can serve their country.
Nuclear weapons. We need to take a responsible approach to the nuclear weapons enterprise, and recognize that the current $1.5 trillion plan to build new nuclear weapons and upgrade our nuclear weapons complex is unrealistic and unaffordable. We currently have a reliable nuclear deterrent that is more than adequate. Focusing on President Trump’s new nuclear arms race would increase the risk of miscalculation, wreck the budget, and detract from our ability to invest in cyber, information operations, and our troops to counter serious threats to our security and efforts to undermine our democracy.
Military readiness. We need to focus on ensuring that we have the correct defense priorities to make sure our men in women and uniform are properly trained, manned, and equipped to handle our most important national security needs. Simply spending more money on defense doesn’t make you safer, but spending wisely does.
“We must also build on the successes Democrats have had so far, such as ensuring that DOD acknowledges climate change as a national security threat; working to ensure sound practices to minimize civilian casualties and boosting oversight of sensitive military operations; and preventing Republican efforts to include discriminatory social policy riders, attacks on American workers, and language that weaken environmental laws nationwide in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”