WASHINGTON - Bob Simmons, who has served as Staff Director for the Armed Services Committee for 12 years, announced today that following a transition period, he is departing the Committee Staff for the private sector. Chairman Thornberry has designated Jenness Simler to perform the duties of Staff Director effective immediately. Simler is currently the Committee’s Deputy Staff Director. She has served on the Committee staff since 2005, first as a Professional Staff Member and later Policy Director. In commenting on the staff change, Thornberry said:
“Bob Simmons has been an outstanding staff director. While I wish him well in this exciting new chapter of his life, I will also miss his counsel and support on Capitol Hill. Bob has served his country with unparalleled energy, honor, and integrity. He has spent every day of the last twelve years working to see that Congress acted -- on a bi-partisan basis -- to keep our military strong, to care for our men and women in uniform, and to make America safe. He has served his country well and we will miss him.
“I have full confidence in Jenness to lead the Committee Staff in the days ahead. Not only does she have a sweeping command of the issues before the Committee, but as the child of a military family, she knows first-hand how our choices affect men and women in uniform. She takes up these duties with the respect of her colleagues, Members of the Committee, and the Department of Defense. As we push to rebuild our military to meet the unprecedented threats we face, Jenness will ensure that the committee’s work stays on track as we do our best for our troops.”
Chairman Thornberry has instituted a rigorous transition structure to ensure that no conflict of interest issues arise, in accordance with the Rules of the House, while Simmons completes his service to the Committee. This includes, but is not limited to, his former responsibility as staff director for crafting the National Defense Authorization Act.