Floyd D. Spence Exhibit
SOUTH CAROLINA POLITICAL COLLECTIONS
SOUTH CAROLINIANA LIBRARY

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Mr. Chairman
Mr. Chairman
The House Committee on Armed Services is one of the most powerful and influential committees on Capitol Hill. Its official jurisdiction makes it responsible for "the common defense generally"; that is, for any and all military activities undertaken by the government. From 1995 to 2000, Spence was its chairman.
Rep. Floyd Spence
Representative Floyd Spence
The committee's major responsibilities include investigations, military installations, personnel, procurement, readiness, research and development, sea power, and strategic materials. In its modern form, the committee dates from the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, which combined the committees of Military Affairs and Naval Affairs as the Committee on Armed Services. In 1995, the committee was renamed the Committee on National Security, and at the same time it received authority for some areas formerly overseen by the disbanded Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee. The committee reverted to its original name in 1999.
The responsibilities of the committee's chairman are nearly as awesome as those of the committee itself. The position involves staffing, subcommittee assignments, assignments of legislation to subcommittees, scheduling of hearings and investigations, and even some measure of policy-making.
Spence, Thurmond, Secy. of the Army
National defense was always one of Rep. Spence's key interests. Here, he and Senator Strom Thurmond tour Ft. Jackson with Secretary of the Army Clifford L. Alexander in 1977.
In addition to devoting time to each of the seven subcommittees' hearings, investigations, and discussions, the committee chairman must strike a balance between foreign affairs and domestic politics like few of his colleagues. This chairmanship remains one of the most coveted posts in the House.
Spence in committee
Rep. Spence makes a point.
Spence succeeded as chairman one of the most liberal members of the House, Ronald Dellums of California. An outspoken proponent of a strong national defense throughout his career, Spence referred to readiness as "the best insurance we have both for peace and freedom." In his efforts, Spence was supported by the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, fellow South Carolinian Strom Thurmond. This was only the second time that the House and Senate armed services committees were chaired by representatives from the same state.

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