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Committee Maneuvers

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Nothing is official yet but Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), may throw his hat in the ring to become ranking member of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, responsible for overseeing space, missile defense and nuclear weapons programs.Two senior Pentagon officials have asked Franks to make the try.

After all, the Arizona conservative may be the GOPs most outspoken missile defense advocate remaining in the House after the election. Reps. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), former presidential candidate and the departing ranking member of the whole committee, Jim Saxton (R-NJ), current ranking member of the powerful airland subcommittee, and Terry Everett (R-Ala.), current ranking member of the strategic forces subcommittee, all plan to leave the House at the end of the year.

The ranks of missile defense advocates will be further reduced by the departure of Democrat Bud Cramer of Alabama, who is one of the few Democrats on the committee who has consistently fought for missile defense funding.

Franks told me yesterday morning at a breakfast sponsored by the National Defense University that he hasnt made up his mind about running for the subcommittee spot. He conceded that he might be interested.

-- Colin Clark

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