Georgia Sen. David Perdue lands powerful Armed Services Committee seat

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. will serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. will serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. AP

Georgia Sen. David Perdue’s appointment to the Senate Armed Services Committee will give the state a key voice on the panel that has jurisdiction over most of the state’s nine military installations.

Perdue, a Republican and one of President-elect Donald Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters, will also continue to serve on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, an equally important committee for Georgia’s food-producing economy.

“Georgia has a long tradition of representation on both the Senate Armed Services and Agriculture committees,” Perdue said in a statement. “I am humbled to carry on this legacy and will make it my priority to promote our Georgia values on these key committees.”

Georgia’s senior senator, Republican Johnny Isakson, will continue to chair the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics in the 115th Congress.

Isakson will also serve on the Senate Finance, Foreign Relations and Health, Education and Labor committees. All are expected to play key roles in Republican efforts to overhaul health care, tax reform and foreign policy.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Defense, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force along with military research and development and air and space activity associated with weapons systems development.

“We’re very excited” about Perdue’s appointment to the armed services committee,” said Dan Penny, director of the 21st Century Partnership, a defense community support organization focused on Robins Air Force Base and the Middle Georgia area. “We think it’s great for Georgia and especially Middle Georgia. And, in fact, all nine military bases in the state of Georgia.”

Other Georgia leaders were equally supportive.

“This appointment is the best news to come out of the new Congress for Georgia's military families, installations, and industry,” said a statement from William Ball, Director of the Governor’s Defense Initiative and a former Secretary of the U.S. Navy. “He will bring a common sense approach to the issues and apply his much needed and strong business sense to improve the management of the Pentagon.”

Perdue’s “tireless efforts to support our nation's military will only increase with his membership on the SASC,” said a statement from Brigadier General Joe Jarrard, Adjutant General of the Georgia National Guard.

Penny doesn’t expect another federal Base Relocation and Closure Committee to form until 2019 or 2020, he said. But as Perdue’s influence and seniority on the armed services committee grows, it could bode well for Georgia’s efforts to protect its military assets.

“The longer he stays in the committee, the more help we can look forward to from him, I think, for the bases here in Georgia,” Penny said. “That’s $20 billion of economic impact that those nine bases develop each year.”

Every job created at Robins Air Force base, for example, creates nearly 1.5 jobs in the surrounding community, Penny said.