Smith officially announces run for Armed Services chairman

Smith officially announces run for Armed Services chairman
© Camille Fine

Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithTrump faces new hurdles on foreign policy Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Trump's Armistice Day trip marked by controversy | US ends aerial refueling to Saudi coalition in Yemen | Analysts identify undeclared North Korean missile bases Divided Congress to clash over Space Force, nuclear arsenal MORE (D-Wash.) has formally announced his bid to run for chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

As the committee’s current ranking Democrat, Smith has been expected to run for and win the gavel, but Thursday’s announcement makes the bid official.

“During the 115th Congress, it has been an honor to serve as the ranking member of the House Committee on Armed Services and represent the Democratic caucus on national security matters,” Smith wrote in a letter to his colleagues. “As we begin to organize for the 116th Congress, I am asking for your support to serve our caucus as chairman of the Committee on Armed Services.”

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Democrats won control of the House in Tuesday’s midterm elections and come January will hold committee gavels for the first time in eight years.

Leading up to the election, Smith listed some of his priorities for the chairmanship as conducting more vigorous oversight of special operations around the world, finding ways to rein in defense spending, working to roll back President TrumpDonald John TrumpMeet the lawyer Democrats call when it's recount time Avenatti denies domestic violence allegations: 'I have never struck a woman' Trump names handbag designer as ambassador to South Africa MORE’s plans to expand and modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal and protecting LGBT troops.

In his letter Thursday, Smith said that “much more must be done to conduct vigorous oversight” of the Trump administration.

“Specifically, we must look to eliminate inefficiency and waste at the DOD; boost oversight of sensitive military operations and ensure that the military works to avoid civilian casualties; protect our environmental laws nationwide; advance green technology in defense; take substantial steps to reduce America’s overreliance on nuclear weapons; and promote greater transparency in national security matters,” he wrote.

He also said the military needs to “reflect the United States in all of its diversity.”

“We need inclusive armed services that can attract the best, most talented people without arbitrary and discriminatory barriers that narrow the field of people who can serve their country,” he wrote.

He also pledged to ensure the military can respond to new and evolving threats and that service members have access to quality benefits and healthcare.

Smith also vowed to listen to voices from throughout the Democratic caucus.

“As our country continues to face great challenges,” he wrote, “I am committed to fighting for the national security principles and goals of the Democratic caucus.”