Rep. Buck McKeon has chaired the House Armed Services Committee since January 2011 after first becoming ranking member in 2009.
The California Republican leads a committee responsible for overseeing the Defense Department and the U.S. armed forces, as well as parts of the Energy Department.
As chairman, he has led efforts to increase funding for programs in missile defense and develop veteran resource programs for counseling, vocational training and college education.
McKeon, elected to his 10th term in November, also is a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee.
He previously was the lead Republican on the Education and the Workforce Committee for more than three years before becoming the Armed Services panel’s top Republican member.
McKeon led the committee as chairman in early 2006 after John Boehner became House majority leader.
He is a founder of the Congressional Unmanned Systems Caucus, which aims to educate citizens and lawmakers on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and work with civil aviation stakeholders on UAV safety.
McKeon also helped found the Republican New Media Caucus, a group where members discuss and share ideas on technology policy and encourage each other to use new communications technologies in reaching out to constituents.
Prior to his election to Congress in 1992, he served on the board of trustees for the William S. Hart Union High School District Board of Trustees between 1978 and 1987, then was elected to the Santa Clarita city council after it was incorporated.
McKeon also holds the distinction of serving as the city’s first mayor and helped lead expansion of the city’s sheriff’s and parks programs.