SASC Announces New Members, Air Force Vet Is Ranking Member

The Senate Armed Services Committee released its member roster for the 118th Congress on Feb. 1, naming a new ranking member and including three freshmen Senators.  

All of the newcomers are Republicans; Democrats return the same 13 Senators from the last Congress, led by chairman Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who has chaired the committee since 2021 and been its ranking Democrat since 2015. 

The new ranking member is Air Force veteran Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who succeeds Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) as the committee’s senior Republican. Wicker served on Active-Duty from 1976 to 1980 and then in the Reserve until 2003 as a judge advocate. He is the first Air Force vet to hold a leadership role on the committee since Barry Goldwater in 1987—fellow Airman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) served on the committee for more than a decade and a half but always in support of Inhofe and the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)

Wicker’s home state of Mississippi is brimming with military installations, including Columbus Air Force Base and Keesler Air Force Base. In the last Congress, he co-sponsored unsuccessful legislation seeking to limit planned retirements of T-1 trainers at Columbus. Wicker will lead a group of a dozen Republicans, one fewer than last Congress, reflecting Democrats’ new 51-49 majority in the chamber. 

Among those dozen lawmakers will be three new faces—Sens. Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), Ted Budd (N.C.), and Eric Schmitt (Mo.). Mullin was elected as Inhofe’s replacement, while both Budd and Schmitt are taking spots previously held by the other Senator for their states: Sens. Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Josh Hawley (Mo.), respectively. 

Mullin will represent Oklahoma’s large Air Force population: the state hosts Altus Air Force Base, Tinker Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, and Will Rogers Air National Guard Base. C-17s, KC-135s, E-3s, T-1s, T-6s, T-38s, F-16s, and MC-12s are all based in the state, and Will Rogers is slated to host the schoolhouse for the new Sky Warden aircraft. The service also relies on the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex to perform maintenance for dozens of kinds of aircraft. 

Budd represents a state with a heavy Army presence, but North Carolina is also home to Pope Field and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Schmitt, meanwhile, represents Whiteman Air Force Base and its B-2 bombers. 

In a press release, Tillis touted his work on the SASC, particularly on the personnel subcommittee. He is taking on a new assignment on the Senate Finance Committee. 

Also leaving the committee—without a replacement due to Republicans’ decreased numbers—is Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). Blackburn represented the Air Force’s Arnold Engineering Development Complex. 

The SASC release did not include details on the panel’s seven subcommittees, saying an announcement is coming in the “near future.” Tillis is the only subcommittee chair or ranking member from last Congress not to be on the committee this session. 

The full list of Senate Armed Services Committee members: 

  • Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) – Chairman 
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) 
  • Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) 
  • Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) 
  • Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) 
  • Tim Kaine (D-Va.) 
  • Angus King (I-Maine) 
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) 
  • Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) 
  • Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) 
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) 
  • Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) 
  • Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.)  
  • Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) – Ranking Member 
  • Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) 
  • Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) 
  • Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) 
  • Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) 
  • Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) 
  • Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) 
  • Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) 
  • Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) 
  • Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) 
  • Sen. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) 
  • Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-Mo.)