Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu to become a member of the United States House of Representatives, has been named to two key Congressional committees through which she would play an important role in the country's foreign policy and homeland security.
Gabbard, 31, who represents Hawaii's second Congressional District, has been named as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and House Homeland Security Committee.
"As the US pivots its focus toward the Asia-Pacific region, my work on the Foreign Affairs Committee will ensure Hawaii benefits from, and provides leadership in, this shift in policy and strategy," Gabbard said in a statement.
"By drawing on my military background and experience leading counter-terrorism training during my deployment to Kuwait, I plan to bring unique insights and a firsthand perspective to my position on the Homeland Security Committee," she said.
"Given Hawaii's location and crucial international ports, I will work to bring into focus the impact our nation's Homeland Security policies have on the islands," Gabbard said.
In 2004, Gabbard voluntarily deployed to Iraq with her fellow soldiers of the 29th Brigade, eventually serving two tours of combat duty in the Middle East.
She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal during Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the first female Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort McClellan's Officer Candidate School, and was the first woman to ever receive an award of appreciation from the Kuwaiti military on her second overseas tour.
Gabbard continues to serve as a Captain in the Hawaii National Guard's 29th Brigade Combat Team.
In between her two tours, she worked in the US Senate as a legislative aide to then-Senator Daniel Akaka, where she advised the senator on homeland security and other issues.