Press Releases

Washington, DC House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan regarding the Armed Services Committee’s hearing on the Department of Defense’s Support to the Southern Border this Tuesday, January 29, 2019. The full text of the letter is available here.

Chairman Smith released the following statement about the letter:

“The number one thing that the House Armed Services Committee wants from the Defense Department this Congress is transparency. We did not get full transparency during this week’s hearing about DOD support to the southern border. 

“I am deeply troubled that the witnesses did not disclose the upcoming increase in guard, reserve, and active duty personnel, even though we asked them multiple times during a two-and-a-half-hour hearing what would happen next on the border. They never mentioned it, despite the fact that the Secretary of Defense was revealing an increase in personnel that same day. This was at best an error in judgment, and at worst flat-out dishonesty.

“The Members of the Committee would have been extremely interested in discussing what the 3,500 troops going to the border in response to DHS’s latest request will be doing there. This is a violation of the executive branch’s obligation to be transparent with Congress, which oversees, authorizes, and funds its operations. It also raises questions about whether the Department thinks the policy of sending additional troops to the border is so unjustified that they cannot defend an increase in public.

“I have followed up on that hearing with a phone call to Secretary Shanahan, and he has provided more details on the increase. I appreciate his willingness to discuss it with me, but a phone call is not a substitute for transparency before Congress and public candor. Does their refusal to publicly discuss what they are doing indicate that this is a policy they believe they cannot defend in an open public hearing before the full Armed Services Committee, where all 57 members have the opportunity to ask questions?”

WASHINGTON – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), and Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan requesting he revise a report on climate change and its impacts on national security. The report, presented to Congress on January 10, failed to meet the basic requirements laid out in statute.

The text of the letter is attached and pasted below.

Climate Letter

Quotes from the co-signers:

 

“In 2017, House Democrats successfully required the Department of Defense to report on the impact that climate change will have on U.S. military installations. The Trump administration has now released that report and, unfortunately, it is inadequate. It demonstrates a continued unwillingness to seriously recognize and address the threat that climate change poses to our national security and military readiness,” said Chairman Smith. “While this climate report acknowledges that nearly all the military installations it studied are vulnerable to major climate change impacts, and provides numerous installation-level examples of those impacts, it fails to even minimally discuss a mitigation plan to address the vulnerabilities. The Department of Defense presented no specifics on what is required to ensure operational viability and mission resiliency, and failed to estimate the future costs associated with ensuring these installations remain viable. That information was required by law. The Department of Defense must develop concrete, executable plans to address the national security threats presented by climate change. As drafted, this report fails to do that.”

 

“The Defense Department’s initial report does not adhere to the requirements plainly spelled out in my amendment, and it does not reflect the magnitude of the threat that climate change poses to our military bases around the globe,” said Congressman Langevin. “The Pentagon must complete the necessary analysis to meet the parameters set forth in law. Our military service members, the installations they rely on, and the threat environments they deploy to are living with the reality of climate change. It is incumbent upon the Department and Congress to ensure we are properly preparing for a warming planet, and the report issued earlier this month falls well short of what is required to responsibly address the issue, protect our national security, and ensure military readiness.”

 

“It’s shameful that the Trump administration refuses to take the threat of climate change seriously,” said Congressman Garamendi. “As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness, I am deeply concerned about the impact climate change will have on military readiness. The inadequate report that was provided to Congress failed to offer any solutions or strategies to address the impact climate change will have on our national security. That’s why I joined Armed Services Committee Chairman, Adam Smith, and Rep. Jim Langevin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, in sending a formal request to Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan to issue a comprehensive revised report to Congress. The administration is required by law to provide this information to Congress, and I will do everything in my power to ensure we receive this vital information in a timely manner.”

Washington, DC – Today, Representative Adam Smith (D-WA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced the bicameral No First Use Act, to establish in law that it is the policy of the United States not to use nuclear weapons first.   

Today the United States explicitly retains the option to be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, even in response to a non-nuclear attack. The No First Use Act would codify what most Americans already believe—that the United States should never initiate a nuclear war.

“Our current nuclear strategy is not just outdated—it is dangerous,” said the lawmakers in a joint statement. “By making clear that deterrence is the sole purpose of our arsenal, this bill would reduce the chances of a nuclear miscalculation and help us maintain our moral and diplomatic leadership in the world.”

The No First Use Act would strengthen U.S. national security by:

  • Reducing the risk of a nuclear miscalculation by an adversary during a crisis
  • Strengthening our deterrence and increasing strategic stability by clarifying our declaratory policy
  • Preserving the U.S. second-strike capability to retaliate against any nuclear attack on the U.S. or its allies

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) released the following statement on the temporary end of President Trump’s shutdown and the President’s continued border wall demands:

“Finally, after 35 days, the President has agreed to do what he should have done in the first place: open the government. The impacts of the government shutdown on federal workers and communities across the country have been immense.

“This is a manufactured crisis, engineered by President Trump, that has harmed hundreds of thousands of Americans.  While not surprising, the tone-deaf remarks recently uttered by this President and senior members of his Administration, particularly Secretary Ross, show just how out of touch with reality they are about the difficult and dangerous position which the shutdown has put families. 

“We know the President manufactured this crisis because in his Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request, submitted last February, Trump requested only $ 1.6 billion dollars for a border wall. In fact, the House and Senate gave the President the amount that he requested. However, that all changed when Democrats won the House in November. Now the President is arbitrarily demanding billions of dollars more for his wall and has been holding federal workers hostage over it.

“If the President believes there has been a change in our border security needs that warrants a wall, then he should articulate those reasons to Congress based on facts. Time and again, President Trump has lied and mischaracterized the actual situation to the American people, claiming a ‘crisis’ at the border and that the ‘worst of the worst’ are pouring into the United States. These claims are demonstrably false and made only to justify harmful policies meant to appease his base. If additional border security is so desperately needed, as Trump claims, then why is he proposing a border wall that experts, including Customs and Border Patrol officials, have determined is not an effective border security strategy?

“Even though President Trump has more recently demanded $5.7 billion dollars to fund 235 miles of border wall, it continues to be clear that he doesn’t actually have a solid plan for where it would be built. The Administration has provided no justification for why the arbitrary $5.7 billion is the amount needed now. Furthermore, and more fundamental to the problem, is that no substantial case has been made for why a wall is needed. 

“From the beginning, President Trump’s justification for a border wall was not rooted in a need for border security, but in the misguided notion that immigrants are somehow inherent threats to American society. This racist and xenophobic view has been the basis for Trump’s entire immigration agenda and could not be further from the truth.

“Our policy and legislative process does not work by holding the government hostage, and I hope the President has learned that doing so is unproductive and harmful. I continue to believe that spending billions on a border wall with no justification, especially in the wake of the Republican tax giveaway to the wealthy, is deeply irresponsible, especially as we have so many other worthy national priorities, including providing health care, improving education, and fixing crumbling infrastructure.

“I applaud the non-profit organizations, businesses, and community members who have stepped up to help alleviate the pains of the shutdown. My office and I will continue to do whatever we can to ensure workers are given the pay and benefits to which they are entitled and prevent unnecessary future shutdowns.”

 

Washington, DC – Today, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision on transgender military service:

"I am extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision to allow the Trump administration to enforce its discriminatory ban on transgender military service without proper due process in the courts. Anyone who is qualified and willing should be allowed to serve their country openly, without their career being affected by an arbitrary, discriminatory directive from the President. We have fought against this bigoted policy at every step, and we will continue to do so."