Big changes on horizon for defense panels

The Senate Armed Services Committee also lost five members, four through retirement and one who lost reelection Tuesday. The panel’s ranking member could be changing, too, as Sen. John McCainJohn McCainLots of (just) talk about 'draining the swamp' 56 memorable moments from a wild presidential race Is Georgia turning blue? MORE (R-Ariz.) is term-limited.

The Senate Appropriations Defense panel has only one member leaving office, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who is retiring.

A closer look at each committee:

House Armed Services

Tactical Air and Land subcommittee Chairman Roscoe Bartlett’s (R-Md.) loss Tuesday brought the total number of subcommittee heads leaving the Armed Services Committee to three, after that panel’s ranking member, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), lost in a primary and Seapower Chairman Todd Akin (R-Mo.) mounted an unsuccessful Senate bid.

The departures will spark a game of musical chairs in the committee for top spots on the sub-panels, with several other chairmen looking to lead more powerful subcommittees and others looking to fill those empty seats.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), whose father was chairman of the full committee, is most frequently mentioned as a potential member to move into leadership, although sources say that’s not a done deal yet.

Defense insiders say subcommittee Chairmen Randy ForbesRandy Forbes78 lawmakers vote to sustain Obama veto Insiders dominate year of the outsider Corrine Brown loses primary amid indictment MORE (R-Va.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), Joe WilsonJoe WilsonA recipe for wasteful spending: South Carolina Pork with Russian Dressing GOP struggles to find women to lead House committees GOP rebuffs call to uphold Obama veto MORE (R-S.C.) and Rob WittmanRob WittmanVA Dems jockey for Kaine's seat Virginia governor contenders ready for battle House GOP defense policy bill conferees named MORE (R-Va.) might all eye moves as the committee shakes out.

The number of full-committee members who will not be back next year totals at least nine, with another three members in races that have yet to be called.

Among the notable potential losses is Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.). The outspoken Tea Party freshman is currently trailing challenger Patrick Murphy (D) by about 2,500 votes in a race that’s yet to be called.

House Appropriations Defense

The Defense sub-panel will see a lot of turnover in 2013, with Dicks and two other Democrats leaving, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) retiring and Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.) potentially stepping down as chairman.

Young requested a waiver to lead the committee in the 112th Congress after being term-limited. He has not said if he will try to do so again, and leadership has not indicated if the 21-term lawmaker would receive another waiver. Defense observers say if that does not happen, Reps. Rodney FrelinghuysenRodney FrelinghuysenGOP struggles to find women to lead House committees Overnight Defense: NY/NJ bombings renew terror debate | US probes Syrian air strike | Senators push measure on Saudi arms sale Ex-Pentagon comptroller says Pentagon 'hardball' memo is no surprise MORE (R-N.J.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) are likely to try and succeed Young.

On the Democratic side, Visclosky and Moran are seen as most likely to take over for Dicks, as Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) is vying for the full committee’s top Democratic spot.

If she doesn’t wind up getting it — particularly if someone from leadership returns to the committee — the possibility remains that she could leapfrog the other Democrats in seniority on the Defense panel, defense insiders say.

Senate Armed Services

The Senate Armed Services panel will see four members depart. Three Democrats will leave through retirement: Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Jim Webb (D-Va.). A fourth, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), lost his reelection bid to Sen.-elect Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCurt Schilling joining Breitbart: report Schilling lashes out: 'I'm apparently an anti-Semite' for asking questions Curt Schilling to Jake Tapper: How can Jews be Democrats? MORE (D-Mass.) on Tuesday.

But perhaps the biggest change in the committee will be felt with the looming departure of McCain as ranking member. The vocal critic of President Obama is term-limited, with Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeGOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election A dozen senators call for crackdown on Chinese steel Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (R-Okla.) next in line to replace him.

McCain could request a waiver to remain the committee’s ranking member, but he’s made no indication yet that he would do so.

One new face that’s likely to join the committee is Sen.-elect Tim KaineTim KaineClinton, Kaine concerned over AT&T, Time Warner merger Kaine not worried about WikiLeaks Kaine says if elected VP, he would serve in Senate until replacement named MORE (D-Va.), who will replace Webb after defeating former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) in the military-heavy state.

Senate Appropriations Defense

This panel is seeing the least change of the four defense committees on election night, as only Hutchison is departing.

There could be movement, however, if senators eye open spots on other Appropriations subcommittees.