Last week the Beaufort area received an outstanding piece of news with Representative Nancy Mace’s appointment to the House Armed Services Committee. Entering her second term, it is understandable that Representative Mace would gain more substantial committee appointments in Congress, but her seat on the House Armed Services Committee is a significant accomplishment that should be celebrated by her constituents, especially those with military ties in Beaufort County.
Understanding the importance of Rep. Mace’s new role requires understanding how the House Armed Services Committee operates within the labyrinth of the current US Congress. The committee, commonly abbreviated as HASC is one of twenty “standing committees” in the United States House of Representatives. Standing committees are permanent panels made up of members of both the Democratic and Republican parties within the House of Representatives. They have significant oversight and funding responsibilities and are responsible for monitoring programs within their jurisdictions and recommending bills to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives. HASC is one of the largest standing committees with 61 members and seven subcommittees. HASC specifically oversees military matters and directly oversees and funds the entire Department of Defense and United States Armed Forces as well as large portions of the Department of Energy. The yearly National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), one of the largest and most significant pieces of legislation produced by Congress, is primarily created by the HASC. Also recently announced for this Congressional session, the HASC will have a special panel to oversee servicemember quality of life which has been a recent hot topic in national defense circles as the Department of Defense continues to increase its recruitment and retention of servicemembers in all branches of the military.
With Representative Mace’s appointment to the HASC, the Beaufort Region will have a seat at the table of one of the most critical organizations in the United States for security and defense policy. Issues such as Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC), homeland security drug interdiction, Department of Defense organization and reform, and technology export controls have historically been under the purview of the House Armed Services Committee. In the current fiscal climate where every department of congress is fighting for each dollar and cent, Beaufort residents should be pleased that the important, economically beneficial military installations in their backyard will have someone fighting for them directly.
We congratulate Representative Mace on her appointment to such a prestigious post. As someone with long ties to the military herself, having been born on Fort Bragg, NC and being the first woman to graduate from The Citadel’s Corps of Cadets, Nancy Mace is uniquely qualified to represent the thriving military-civilian communities of Beaufort. We look forward to seeing her work on the House Armed Services Committee benefit both Beaufort County and the entire 1st Congressional District of South Carolina.