"I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," Gabbard said.
Gabbard, 37, is also the first Hindu member of Congress, and is one of the first major candidates to directly declare a presidential candidacy.
Thus far only former Maryland Rep. John Delaney has mounted an official presidential bid. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee at the end of last year.
Gabbard sits on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees and is currently a Major in the Army National Guard.
Within minutes of the news that Gabbard is mounting a presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee (RNC) blasted out a press release detailing her potential vulnerabilities.
"Tulsi Gabbard has an even bigger problem than her lack of experience — it’s that she has no base of support," RNC spokesman Michael Ahrens wrote in a statement released Friday evening.