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Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas ) will lead the House Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress that begins in early January, while Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash) will remain the committee's ranking member. "The men and women who serve our nation in the military deserve the full support and backing of the Congress and of the country. Providing that support will be my top priority," said Thornberry in a release. He will be the first Texan to lead the HASC, states the Nov. 18 release. Thornberry has been the HASC's vice chairman in the 113th Congress. Current HASC Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) congratulated Thornberry on his selection by the House Republican Conference. "During my four years as chairman, I've come to rely on Mac as a policy expert, a gifted communicator, a trusted confidant, and a friend. He has skillfully helped our committee as vice chairman, and his national security smarts have earned the respect of both Congress and defense experts alike," said McKeon in a release. The Democratic Caucus on Nov. 19 approved Smith to stay on as ranking member, according to a release from House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)