Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today announced he will chair the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee on the Armed Services Committee.  Smith also secured a seat on the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee when committee members chose their assignments today.  Smith’s seniority allowed him early picks from among the available positions.

“Our special ops teams need the best tools.  Our forces need protection from improvised explosive devices and other attacks.  They need better technology faster.  We need a new, better way forward in the global war on terror.  These are the challenges I look forward to addressing as chairman of the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee,” Smith said.

Smith added: “My new position on the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee will enhance my ability to support the critical work of our soldiers and airmen at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.” 

The Air and Land Forces Subcommittee has jurisdiction over all Army and Air Force acquisition programs, and over National Guard and Army and Air Force Reserve equipment.

Background information on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities follows.

House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities

The subcommittee’s jurisdiction includes:

Department of Defense (DoD) counter-terrorism programs and counter-proliferation initiatives.

  • Counter-terrorism.  Refers to instruments of national power to execute the Global War on Terror.  Examples include assistance to allied indigenous forces in the fight against terrorist groups and classified authorities for the use of Special Operations Forces (SOF) in foreign nations.
  • Counter-proliferation.* Involves finding and destroying WMD. Much of counter-proliferation involves Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). 

Special Operations Command (SOCOM) acquisition programs and policy.   Includes procurement and research, development, and testing and evaluation (RDT&E) accounts and an advisory role for SOCOM personnel policies. 

Force Protection Policy.  Covers measures and policies to protect deployed troops, including counter-IED protection measures and prevention of attacks against overseas bases.

Defense Advance Research Projects Authority (DARPA).  Responsible for the early-stage R&D and “radical innovation” required to develop new technology for use by the military.  DARPA’s charter is aimed at preventing “technological surprise.” 

Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).  Combat-support agency of the DoD.  Analyzes and provides contingency plans for threats to the U.S., both homeland and abroad.   Includes destroying WMD and developing technologies to reduce the threat of WMD.

DoD Information Technology.  Covers information systems, shared infrastructure (communications, computers, etc.), information assurance (computer security), and related technical activities. 

Science and Technology (S&T) policy.  Includes DoD R&D funding for basic research as well as the more applied R&D.

DoD Homeland Defense.  Covers DoD roles in homeland security, disaster response, etc.  Governs activities, policies and technology-sharing activities within the office of DoD’s Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and U.S. Northern Command (Colorado Springs, CO).  Allows for jurisdictional claim to many National Guard and other DoD border-related activities.

Chemical-Demilitarization program.  Destroys the U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons, as required under the Chemical Weapons Convention, ratified by the U.S. in 1997.

DoD Chemical and Biological defense program.  Provides chemical and biological defense capabilities.  Executed within DARPA, DTRA and the U.S. Army. 

Related intelligence support related to Special Operations Forces (SOF).   Classified.  Includes both policies and programs within the purview of SOCOM and also those larger and DoD-wide national programs within the jurisdiction of the Strategic Subcommittee (as they affect SOF).

*Counter-terrorism programs are distinct from non-proliferation programs, such as the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, which focus on diplomacy and assistance to secure post-Soviet WMD.

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) yesterday voted in favor of H.R. 1, legislation to implement many of the remaining 9/11 Commission recommendations.  Smith was pleased that House Democrats acted so quickly during their new majority in Congress to make Americans safer.  The bill passed by a vote of 299 to 128.

“Improving explosive detection capabilities and ensuring our emergency responders can effectively communicate with each other in an emergency are just two ways this bill will make the American people safer,” Smith said.  “This bill will go a long way toward protecting us from -- and better managing the consequences of -- a terrorist attack.”

Smith added, “The overall bill is a positive measure that will increase security, but I am concerned about the 100 percent air cargo and seaborne container screening requirement.  I look forward to working out the difficulties with this issue when the bill is sent to conference."

Earlier this week, 9/11 Commission Vice Chair Lee Hamilton stated, "The bottom line is that if this bill, H.R. 1, is enacted, funded and implemented, then the American people will be safer. ...  The bill carries out the recommendations that [the Commission] has made." 

The bill included several steps intended to improve homeland security, including:

  • Distributing state homeland security funding based on risk;
  • Creating a stand-alone grant program to provide first responders with the type of equipment that allows them to communicate with each other during emergencies;
  • Phasing in a requirement of 100 percent inspection of the cargo carried on passenger aircraft over the next three years;
  • Phasing in a requirement of 100 percent scanning of U.S.-bound shipping containers over the next five years;
  • Quickly accelerating the installation of explosive detection systems for checked baggage at the nation’s airports; and
  • Improving explosive detection systems at passenger checkpoints at the nation’s airports.

The bill also includes provisions to better prevent terrorists from acquiring WMD, such as:

  • Strengthening the Cooperative Threat Reduction (“Nunn-Lugar”) program that focuses on securing loose nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union;
  • Providing increased tools for the Proliferation Security Initiative, through which the U.S. and participating countries interdict WMD; and
  • Establishing a U.S. Coordinator for the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism at the White House, who would serve as a presidential advisor on proliferation.

Finally, the bill also includes provisions to reduce the appeal of extremism, including:

  • Providing for the establishment of a Middle East Foundation, to promote economic opportunities, education reform, human rights and democratic processes in the countries of the Middle East; and
  • Promoting quality educational opportunities for youth in Arab and other predominantly Muslim countries, including expanding U.S. scholarship and exchange programs.
     

Smith Opposes Troop Surge

January 10, 2007

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today stated his opposition to a troop surge in Iraq.  Smith met with President Bush and senior administration officials yesterday to learn more about the President’s proposal. 

“After the meeting I considered the President’s argument and reviewed the available information, including the Iraq Study Group Report.  In the end, even though I gave the President’s argument due consideration, I don’t find it persuasive.  A troop surge is not the answer in Iraq,” Smith said.

President Bush told Smith and several of his Democratic colleagues yesterday that he planned to send roughly 20,000 troops to Iraq to support what he described as an “Iraq-led” operation to secure Baghdad.

“I'm concerned that the President continues to view this as a military problem, not a political problem.  We need to see from the Administration a real commitment to a broader diplomatic and political effort if we are to have any sense of minimal stability in Iraq,” Smith said. 

“And,” Smith added, “we also have to keep in mind that the global war on terror is exactly that: global.  How does our commitment in Iraq affect our ability to prosecute the wider war?”

Smith also expressed his concern that legislative measures to cut off funds for troops could put troops in Iraq more at risk:  “I don’t want to put the troops in a political fight between Congress and the President, and Congress should carefully consider the consequences of any attempts to block funds for a surge.  We cannot put our forces in Iraq at greater risk.  But a troop surge is not the answer in Iraq.”

 

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) today issued the following statement after voting to increase the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years.  The bill, H.R. 2, passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives.

“Millions of American families have had to get by on $5.15 an hour for the past decade.  While I’m pleased that Washington State remains a national leader on this issue, it was important for the rest of the country to support workers with a higher federal minimum wage.  This is another example of Congress rolling up our sleeves and getting to work during the first 100 hours of the 110th Congress.”

 

Today U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) and his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 6406, which will extend trade preferences for developing nations and to establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Vietnam.  The bill passed by a vote of 212 to 184.

The measure extended the Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA) preference program for six months, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for two years, and a critical provision of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for five years, in addition to establishing PNTR with Vietnam.

As a co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition, Smith supports trade preferences to help grow more robust economies and reduce poverty in underdeveloped nations.  These countries in turn provide larger, more stable markets for U.S.-made goods.  He was joined in his support for this legislation by groups including the ONE Campaign, Oxfam America, and Women’s Edge.

This measure also includes a provision to allow limits on imports from nations whose exports to the United States grow beyond certain levels or who develop beyond the need for preferential market access. 

“Impoverished countries need more than our sympathy; they need access to markets for their goods.  By extending these trade preferences, the United States shows that we are good neighbors in the global community and that we are partners in their fight to break out of the poverty trap.  America gains international credibility, increased stability in regions key to our security, and growing markets for our goods and services through these trade preference programs,” Smith said.

Smith’s support of these provisions is part of his larger effort to address global poverty.  He led a New Democrat Coalition effort to rally support among his congressional colleagues for this measure last week (see attached letter).  He is also the sponsor of the Global Poverty Act, H.R. 3605, in the House of Representatives and is an advocate for increased trade with developing nations to help them break out of the poverty trap.

By normalizing trade with Vietnam, the bill provides market access for American goods and services.  And, by approving Vietnam for World Trade Organization (WTO) membership, the United States gains a system for the resolution of trade disputes with a country that is our fastest growing export market in Asia.  Smith also hopes that this final step in normalizing relations with Vietnam will lead to greater economic and political liberalization.

“Vietnam is one of South Asia’s economic engines.  It is also a key export market for Washington State, which had $32.5 million in total exports to Vietnam in 2005.  The U.S. should not miss the chance to invest and trade in this growing market.  I am pleased this legislation permanently establishes normal trade relations with our newest WTO member.  The resulting transparency and dispute resolution process means that trade will be fairer and more likely to benefit American workers and companies,” Smith said.