WASHINGTON — Half of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee's subpanels will have new Democratic and Republican leaders when those subcommittees get down to the nitty-gritty of crafting a 2014 Pentagon policy bill.
The subcommittee changes will put some old faces in senior posts, and quickly elevate some relative newcomers to influential positions.
For instance, first-term Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., will take over the Airland subcommittee, while freshman Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., is the new ranking member of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee. Manchin replaces the retired Joe Leiberman, I-Conn., while Fischer replaces Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who is no longer on the SASC.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., will be the new chairwoman of the Readiness and Management Support subcommittee, taking the gavel from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. The final change on the Democratic side inserts Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., as the Strategic Forces subcommittee chairman; he replaces the retired Ben Nelson, D-Neb.
On the GOP side, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who was forced to give up his seat as the full committee's ranking member due to term limits, will be the new top Republican on the Seapower subcommittee.
He replaces Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who will slide down one seat on that panel, and become the new top Republican on the Airland subcommittee. The Airland seat opened up when Scott Brown, R-Mass., lost his re-election bid.