Senate Armed Services Committee
The venerable soldier, statesman, and Virginian, General George C. Marshall once noted, "In a democracy such as ours, military policy is dependent on public opinion." The Senate Committee on Armed Services is one of our nation's important congressional forums for ensuring that national security objectives and policy are guided by the priorities, concerns, and interests of the American people.
I am privileged to have been a member of the Armed Services Committee every year since 1978, and, to have chaired the Committee for over six years. Currently, 25 Senators are members of the Committee, and, as the senior Republican on the panel, and its past Chairman, I am now the Committee’s second-ranking Republican member. During my 29 years of service, the committee has addressed the most fundamental security issues facing the nation, including the revitalization of the armed forces under President Reagan; the restructuring of the military following our success in the Cold War; the review and implementation of the lessons learned from recent military operations; and the countering of emerging threats from foreign nations and terrorist groups.
As chairman of the Armed Services Committee during the 106th, part of the 107th, and the 108th and 109th Congress, I was pleased that the committee was able provide critical support to the military services, the men and women in uniform, their dependents and military retirees. In 1999, the committee provided the first real increase in spending for national security priorities in over a decade, including the first major increase in compensation for military personnel in 16 years. The following year, the committee authorized extensive improvements in healthcare for active duty service members, their dependents and military retirees. Most recently, the committee authorized special compensation for certain combat-wounded retirees. As a past chairman of the Committee, I am convinced that it is important that the men and women of the armed forces not only have better tools and equipment to do their jobs, but also an enhanced quality of life for them and their families.
When considering the many issues before the committee, I do so with an appreciation of the long and distinguished history of support shared by all Virginians for our armed forces. Today, more than 200,000 members of the military and Defense Department agencies serve in over ninety installations, bases, and facilities throughout the Commonwealth. In addition to the senior civilian and military leadership located at the Pentagon in Arlington, other noteworthy commands include the 29th Infantry Division in Fairfax County, the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, the 1st Tactical Fighter Wing in Hampton, the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, and the Army Ammunition Plant in Radford. I am fortunate that I am able to communicate the continuing pride of all Virginians for our armed forces as a member of the committee.
Today, our nation faces new threats and challenges. Because of my membership on the Armed Services Committee, my admiration and respect for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines has grown unabated over the years. With every confidence, I can report to my fellow Virginians and Americans that our military is indeed, "manned and ready."