“Mac Thornberry, first elected in 1994, has been one of Congress’ brainiest and most thoughtful members on national and domestic security issues.”
- The 2020 Almanac of American Politics
Ranking Member Thornberry's Biography
Mac has served on the House Armed Services Committee throughout his time in Congress and is currently the Ranking Member (top Republican) of the Committee. He was its Chairman from January 2015 to January 2019, the first Texan of either party to hold this position.
Mac has a proven ability to oversee large organizations with complex missions and to dive deeply into specific issues while understanding the broader picture and longer-term trends. Whether engaging with foreign officials or working with those across the political spectrum, he has demonstrated an ability to help others work together for a common purpose.
Widely respected as an innovator and a strategic thinker, Mac has consistently been on the leading edge of critical national security issues. He led in creating the National Nuclear Security Administration to improve management of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex; establishing the Department of Homeland Security, introducing a bill to do so six months before the attacks of 9/11; preparing the military to defend the nation in new domains of warfare such as space and cyber; and improving oversight of sensitive military and cyber operations.
For each of the last five years, Mac has introduced and had signed into law a package of reforms to update and streamline DOD acquisition to get new technologies into the hands of the warfighter faster and to enhance innovation within the Department. He has also consistently worked to keep focus on and to support the men and women who serve and their families.
He has written widely on defense matters and appeared on all major television channels providing insight on national security-related issues.
In addition to the Armed Services Committee, Mac also previously served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for 14 years, as well as on the Budget Committee, Resources Committee, the Select Committee on Homeland Security, and the Joint Economic Committee during his time in Congress. He also chaired the Task Force on Cybersecurity in 2011 and 2012.
A fifth-generation Texan, Mac has strong ties to the people he serves and to the district he represents. Mac is a lifelong resident of the 13th District of Texas. His family has been ranching in the district since 1881.
Born in Clarendon and raised on the family ranch in Donley County, Mac graduated from Clarendon High School before continuing his education at Texas Tech University. After obtaining a B.A. in history in 1980, he went on to the University of Texas Law School where he graduated in 1983. For the next several years, he worked in Washington on Capitol Hill, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs in the State Department under President Reagan. In 1989, Mac joined his brothers in the cattle business and practiced law in Amarillo until his election to Congress.
Mac's wife, Sally, is also a native Texan. They have two adult children.