Press Releases

House Armed Services Ranking Member Adam Smith released the following statement in response to the Administration’s decision to send condolence letters to family members of soldiers who commit suicide:

“The Administration’s decision to send letters of condolence to the family members of soldiers who commit suicide is a welcome change in policy.

“As the men and women of our Armed Services and their families know all too well, not all wounds reveal themselves in the form of a scar or a lost limb. The difficult things that some servicemembers witness or experience can affect them in a variety of ways, such as traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety. This shift in policy recognizes that fact and helps to begin the process of removing the stigma associated with the mental health issues that are being experienced by our troops.”

For more information, please visit the
website of the House Armed Services Committee Democrats.
Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after the arrest of two suspects on terrorism and firearms related charges late Wednesday in Seattle:

“The news of last night’s arrests in Seattle is a reminder that we must continue to be vigilant in keeping Americans safe from the threat of terrorism, even at home. Initial reports of the plot are sobering: Two radicalized Americans allegedly planned to murder members of our Armed Forces and men and women who were enlisting to serve their country. I commend the work of the federal, state, and local law enforcement who were able to disrupt this attack and prevent harm to members of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle. It is also important to note that the first line of defense in this case was a member of the community who stepped forward to cooperate with authorities and thwart the alleged terrorists.”

The United States Military relies heavily on fossil fuels to operate and execute its missions, creating a vulnerability that our enemies are keenly aware of. In fact, Osama Bin Laden once said, "[Oil] is the umbilical cord and lifeline of the crusader community… Focus your operations on oil, especially in Iraq and the Gulf area, since this will cause them to die off." While crudely stated, the comment reveals an undeniable threat to our national security.

To address this significant national security issue, on behalf of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Adam Smith introduced the Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2011.  The bill is designed to move the Department of Defense forward on energy security by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels.

“Representative Giffords has been a leader on this issue and it is an honor to introduce this important piece of legislation on her behalf,” said Ranking Member Smith. “Since joining the House Armed Services Committee, Representative Giffords has understood that our military’s overreliance on fossil fuels represents one of our great vulnerabilities and she has worked tirelessly to address this shortfall. While she has been successful in including a number of proposals in the committee’s annual defense authorization bill in the past, this legislation represents a comprehensive approach. I applaud her for her hard work and dedication to this issue.”

“Our enemies are critically aware of our reliance on oil, and they are using it to their advantage,” the Congresswoman said at a press conference last year to introduce a similar piece of legislation. “Instead of fighting the enemy, thousands of service members are dedicated to securing supply lines so that fuel can reach forward operating bases and far-reaching outposts.” 

The Department of Defense Energy Security Act of 2011 (DODESA), developed by the office of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Sen. Mark Udall, builds on the DOD’s efforts and systemically addresses DOD energy security.

DODESA decreases the consumption of petroleum by: 

·         Creating a Joint Contingency Base Resource Security Pilot Project to coordinate technology development across the services.

·         Studying the integration of high-efficiency propulsion systems into tactical vehicles.

·         Designating a DOD executive agent for alternative fuel development.

·         Extending long-term contracting authority for the procurement of alternative fuels.

·         Increasing the procurement of electric, hybrid and high efficiency non-tactical vehicles.

DODESA reduces our reliance on the grid by:

·         Funding the Installation Energy Test Bed Initiative.

·         Enhancing energy-management and monitoring practices.

·         Creating a plan for development of renewable projects and defining renewable electricity standards.

·         Robustly funding the Energy Conservation Investment Program, which retrofits our oldest buildings with smart lighting, insulated windows and efficient climate control systems.

·         Adopting enhanced energy-efficiency standards for military buildings.

·         Studying the energy security of renewable development and the societal impacts associated with enhanced energy security on military installations.

In order to prevent any degradation in our military’s ability to defeat our enemies, DODESA includes exemptions for fuel use in major combat operations and permits the Secretary of Defense to waive any requirements that hamper their ability to accomplish their mission or maintain our national security.

For additional information on DODESA visit
Congresswoman Giffords website.

Congressman Adam Smith, Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the news that President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, for action while serving with Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment:

"Sergeant Petry’s actions rose above and beyond the call of duty, and exhibited the finest qualities of valor and sacrifice that distinguish a hero. Despite being wounded by enemy fire during an operation in Paktya, Afghanistan on May 26, 2008, Sgt. Petry’s first instinct was to protect the lives of his fellow Rangers, with complete disregard for his own personal safety.

“I am humbled by Sgt. Petry’s incredible courage and dedication to duty and believe his actions are certainly worthy of this honor and making him only the second living, active-duty service member to receive the Medal of Honor for action in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“Each member of our Armed Forces gives a great deal of themselves, risking their lives every day to serve this country. We in the Pacific Northwest are proud of the extraordinary bravery shown by Sgt. Petry and all the men and women who serve at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. We are also thankful to the military families, like Sgt. Petry’s wife, Ashley, and his four children, who support their loved ones, and whose sacrifices keep us safe.”

Congressman Adam Smith (WA-9), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on Memorial Day, 2011:

"America is protected by the greatest fighting force the world has ever known. Every day, the men and women of the United States military perform an array of security, emergency relief, and development operations in challenging environments across the globe. Their dedication to their mission, courage, and professionalism represents the very best our country has to offer. Memorial Day provides the opportunity to honor the memory of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives in service to our country. Today we also extend heartfelt thanks to all members of the United States Armed Forces, past and present, whose service makes possible our way of life. 

“Americans’ gratitude must include service members and military families alike, who together make tremendous sacrifices for the safety of this country. It is fitting that the House of Representatives just passed the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a pay raise for all members of the Armed Services, as well as improved support for their families. 

“It is important for Congress to remain committed to members of the Armed Forces, both during their service and after they have transitioned to a new phase of life. Department of Labor statistics show an alarmingly high rate of unemployment for veterans, almost 27% for servicemembers between the ages of 20-24, who have recently returned from Iraq or Afghanistan. As a nation, we cannot allow these young men and women to fall through the cracks. With that in mind, I am co-sponsoring The Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, designed to help veterans transition successfully from military service to the civilian working world. The bill augments vocational assessment and training for separating servicemembers, creates a competitive grant program for organizations that provide mentorship and job placement for veterans, and eliminates barriers for military members to achieve civilian licenses for occupational specialties gained during service. These provisions will ensure that America’s commitment to supporting our military men and women does not end when they leave active duty.

“On Memorial Day, please join me in showing gratitude to the servicemembers, veterans, and their families whose sacrifice protects Americans everywhere.”