From Les Blumenthal in D.C.
WASHINGTON – Rep. Adam Smith is now going to chair a House subcommittee that has jurisdiction over nearly all Army and Air Force acquisition programs. That includes the $35 billion contract for new airborne refueling tankers that Boeing is competing for.
The Tacoma Democrat had been chairman of the House Armed Service’s subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats and Capabilities subcommittee. The subcommittee had jurisdiction over Special Operations forces.
Smith’s new subcommittee, Air and Land Forces, is considered higher profile. Much of Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base are in his district.
Democrats on the full committee elected Smith to the new chairmanship on Thursday. House Democratic leadership will have to review the appointment.
Smith replaces Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii. Abercrombie resigned to run for governor of Hawaii.
“Striking the appropriate balance between the immediate and future needs of the Army and Air Force is one of the most pressing questions this committee will face,” Smith said in a statement. “In my new role, I will continue to work to ensure that our men and women in uniform not only have the equipment and support they need today, but well into the future.”
Even with the new subcommittee assignment, Smith said he would remain interested and engaged in terrorism and Special Forces issues.