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Sep 22

From the Front Lines to Congress: The Unique Responsibilities of Veterans Overseeing the Department of Defense

The Department of Defense is the world’s largest employer, spends almost $600 billion annually, and sends men and women into combat. The Armed Services Committees in the House and Senate oversee the Defense Department’s budget and its policies. Every year the committees wrestle with issues ranging from U.S. policy in Afghanistan to acquisition of the Zumwalt-class destroyer, and everything in between.

Military veterans who serve on the Armed Services Committees provide a unique perspective, and in some ways have a unique responsibility, to help Congress oversee the Department of Defense. Veterans can bring their first-hand knowledge into the hearing room, going from flying an Air Force A-10 to debating its merits on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Veterans turned Members of Congress will join us to discuss the unique responsibilities, challenges and strengths of being a veteran on the Armed Services Committee. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) served as a U.S. Navy SEAL for 23 years including assignments with SEAL Team Six and leading the Joint Special Forces Task Force in Iraq before retiring in 2008; in 2014, he was elected as Montana’s sole Congressman. Representative Steve Russell (R-OK) served for 21 years in the U.S. Army, including commanding the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry in Operation Iraqi Freedom; he retired in 2006 and was elected in 2014 to represent Oklahoma’s 5th District in Congress.

More About the Speakers

The Honorable Ryan Zinke (R-MT)
Member, House Armed Services Committee, and a U.S. Navy Veteran

The Honorable Steve Russell (R-OK)
Member, House Armed Services Committee, and a U.S. Army Veteran

Hosted By

James Jay Carafano, Ph.D. James Jay Carafano, Ph.D.

Vice President for the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, and the E. W. Richardson Fellow Read More