The Senate Committees on Military Affairs; on the Militia; and Naval Affairs were established on December 10, 1816. The Committee on the Militia was merged with the Committee on Military Affairs in 1858 to form the Military Affairs and Militia Committee. However, in 1872 the Committee dropped "Militia" from its name. The Military Affairs and Naval Affairs Committees existed until 1947 when they were combined by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 into a new standing committee, the current Committee on Armed Services.
As specified in Rule XXV, 1(c)(1) of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee on Armed Services' has the following jurisdiction:
The Senate has also given the committee the authority to study and review, on a comprehensive basis, matters relating to the common defense policy of the United States, and report thereon from time to time.