The leadership of key defense panels took shape yesterday, when a new roster of House Armed Services subcommittee chairmen was announced and the head of a powerful budget panel was poised to be renamed to his spot.

Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) will chair the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittee during the 113th Congress starting in January, and Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) will head the Seapower and Projection Forces subpanel. The two subcommittees, which oversee a wide array of ship, aircraft, and ground-vehicle programs, both lost their chairmen this year. Yet Turner and Forbes are not unknown entities to the defense industry, having most-recently chaired the Strategic Forces and Readiness panels, respectively.

Turner’s move to the powerful Tactical Air and Land Forces panel bodes well for General Dynamics [GD], which has an Abrams tank production line in Lima, Ohio, in the congressman’s district. Lawmakers are currently battling the Pentagon’s attempt to temporarily halt Abrams production there.

“With looming defense cuts and the potential of another round of BRAC (base closures) in the coming years, this subcommittee places me in a role to continue my strong advocacy for the men and women at Wright-Patt (Air Force Base), the Lima Tank Plant, and a number of other facilities which preserve the safety and security of our nation,” Turner said in a statement. His new panel also overseas high-profile programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Global Hawk unmanned aircraft.

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.)–who had wanted the Seapower chairmanship and is from a shipbuilding-heavy district–will instead chair the Readiness subcommittee during the next session of Congress, the HASC announced yesterday. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) will chair the Strategic Forces subpanel that oversees missile defense.

“I selected these members to be subcommittee chairmen for their long service on the Armed Services Committee and their dedication to our men and women in uniform,” HASC Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a statement “In the years ahead, this committee must ensure our troops and their families have what they need to face increasing dangers abroad, in an era of declining resources at home.”

The subcommittee announcement quashes speculation that Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) will snag one of the prime spots. McKeon announced Wednesday that Bishop will rejoin the HASC, on which he previously sat.

Bishop said yesterday, before the subcommittee announcement, that he was interested in the Tactical Air and Land Forces, Readiness, and Strategic Forces chairmen seats.

“They would all be intriguing; they’re all important to me,” Bishop told Defense Daily. Yet he acknowledged the choice was not his to make. He also is interested in a subcommittee leadership spot on another committee and likely would not be allowed to chair two subpanels. Bishop said he will fall directly ahead of Turner in terms of seniority on the HASC next year.

Meanwhile, on the appropriations side, sources said they expect Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young (R-Fla.) to receive special permission to remain House Appropriations Defense subcommittee (HAC-D) chairman next year. The House Republican steering committee could grant Young a waiver next week to bypass term-limit rules and retain the HAC-D gavel.

There had been buzz on Capitol Hill that House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ala.) would not grant Young a waiver again this year, which he also received two years ago. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) is next in line after Young.

“I don’t assume, I don’t speculate,” Young told Defense Daily yesterday about the waiver. “They know that I would like to have the job. And I think they’re satisfied with the job that I (have done).”

In the Senate, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is poised to become ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC), because current Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is term-limited out of the spot. Shelby told Defense Daily yesterday he is looking forward to becoming the top SAC Republican, though the assignment is not yet official. Cochran is expected to remain ranking member of the SAC’s Defense subcommittee.