Legislative Branch

Guide to Senate Records: Chapter 4

Table of Contents

Chapter 4. Records of the Committee on Armed Services and Its Predecessors, 1816-1986

Records of Committees Relating to Defense, 1816-1988 from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States

Committee records discussed in this chapter:
Records of the Committee on Armed Services and Its Predecessors, 1816-1986 (969 ft.)

Motion for the appointment of standing committees, 12/05/1816
Motion for the appointment of standing committees, December 5, 1816 (SEN14A-B6) from NARA's National Archives Catalog.  
4.1 Three of the original standing committees of the Senate were the Committee on Military Affairs, the Committee on the Militia, and the Committee on Naval Affairs--all of which were authorized on December 10, 1816, with the approval of a resolution introduced by James Barbour of Virginia. The Committees on Military Affairs and Naval Affairs met during each Congress until 1947, when committee reforms contained in the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 (Public Law 79-601) merged them into the Committee on Armed Services. The Committee on the Militia was in effect terminated by a Senate resolution of December 16, 1857, when it was not reconstituted at the beginning of the first session of the 35th Congress. The Committee on Military Affairs thereafter assumed responsibility for legislative matters affecting the militia.

4.2 A fourth standing committee, the Committee on Coast Defenses, was also responsible for a segment of national defense from its establishment on March 13, 1885, until its termination on April 18, 1921.

4.3 There are no published histories of any of these committees, although activities of the Armed Services Committee have been summarized annually in committee prints since 1970. Each committee's records are described separately below.

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-42). By Robert W. Coren, Mary Rephlo, David Kepley, and Charles South. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.