Sens. Mark Kelly, Tammy Duckworth and Angus King claim Armed Services gavels


WASHINGTON ― New power-sharing rules for Senate Democrats is shaking up the Senate Armed Services Committee, with some junior authorizers taking prized subcommittee chairmanships.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine., ceded the Airland gavel to Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., ceded the Emerging Threats and Capabilities gavel to new Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz. Sen. Martin Heinrich passed King the gavel for Strategic Forces, which oversees nuclear weapons, missile defense, space programs and arms control.

As reported by CQ, the power shifts were the result of a new rule in the Democratic caucus aimed at giving more junior senators greater influence in committee business. The rule prevents chairmen of so-called “A” committees, such as Appropriations and Armed Services, from claiming subcommittee gavels until all of a committee’s Democrats get a chance to claim one.

On Armed Services, the rule has allowed junior members to leapfrog more senior members of Armed Services, with more institutional knowledge, like Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

It could offer added visibility and responsibility for Duckworth, an Army helicopter pilot wounded in Iraq, and Kelly, a Navy pilot and a retired NASA astronaut who is up for reelection in 2022 ― or shift some power toward the full committee chairman, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.

Kelly unseated Republican Sen. Martha McSally, who represented Arizona, a major recipient of defense contracts, during her two-year Senate tenure. The subpanel has oversight of the Pentagon’s research and development, special operations, intelligence and counterterrorism.

“It’s an honor to join the long legacy of Arizona Senators serving on the Armed Services Committee, and I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats, and Arizona defense leaders, to protect and expand Arizona’s role in our national defense and meet the threats we face around the world,” Kelly said in a statement when he was named to the panel earlier this month.

Sign up for our Early Bird Brief

Get the defense industry’s most comprehensive news and information straight to your inbox

Enter a valid email address

Thanks for signing up!

By giving us your email, you are opting in to the Early Bird Brief.

Peters became chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where he plans to lead an investigation into the security and intelligence failure that resulted in the breaching of the Capitol.

Subcommittee on Airland

Chair: Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

Ranking Member: Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

Subcommittee on Cybersecurity

Chair: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Ranking Member: Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D.

Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities

Chair: Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz.

Ranking Member: Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa

Subcommittee on Personnel

Chair: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

Ranking Member: Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C.

Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support

Chair: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

Ranking Member: Sen. Dan. Sullivan, R-Alaska

Subcommittee on Seapower

Chair: Sen. Maizie Hirono, D-Hawaii

Ranking Member: Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

Subcommittee on Strategic Forces

Chair: Sen. Angus King, I-Maine

Ranking Member: Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *