Dems Set To Realign House Armed Services Subcommittees

January 4th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Dems Set To Realign House Armed Services Subcommittees

National Journal's CongressDailyAM
January 3, 2007

Democrats in charge of the House Armed Services Committee are reshuffling its subcommittees to align each panel's jurisdiction closer to the individual military services' budgets and programs.
As one of his first orders of business this week, incoming Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., plans to undo many of the structural changes that his Republican predecessor -- incoming House Armed Services ranking member Duncan Hunter of California -- imposed in 2003, when subcommittees were organized to focus on different military missions.
Skelton plans, for example, to change the names of the existing Projection Forces Subcommittee to the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee, and of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee to the Air and Land Forces Subcommittee.
The Seapower panel, which likely will be chaired by Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., will oversee nearly all Navy and Marine Corps systems, including Navy and Marine Corps aviation programs that once fell under the purview of the Tactical Air and Land panel, several congressional aides said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, deep strike and strategic airlift programs, including the B-1 and B-52 bombers and the C-17 Globemaster III cargo plane, all previously overseen by the Projection Forces panel, will now move to the renamed Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, aides said.
Rep. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, is expected to be chairman of that panel, though a House aide cautioned that decisions on subcommittee leadership for the 110th Congress are not yet final.
The changes will give the subcommittees "less of a mission focus, more of a service focus," another House aide said. The decisions had "a lot to do with the desires of the incoming subcommittee chairs and how they felt the organization of the committee would be most effective," this aide said.
Taylor, a reliable Navy advocate whose district includes Northrop Grumman's Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, first pushed for changes to the Projection Forces panel in November, shortly after the midterm elections.
Meanwhile, the House Armed Services Committee is in the "planning and hiring stages" for its new Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which is expected to be chaired by Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., a Meehan spokeswoman said.
Meehan, a senior member of the committee, wrote Skelton the day after the Nov. 7 elections to lay claim to the subcommittee chairmanship and detail his plans for it. In a three-page letter, Meehan proposed focusing on force protection, military readiness, Pentagon funding priorities and contracting abuses.
The House Armed Services Committee had an oversight and investigations panel from 1993-1994, and an investigations subcommittee from 1981-1992.
Skelton has said that oversight of the Iraq war and other Pentagon activities will be the hallmark of his chairmanship.
By Megan Scully

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