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Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that budget cuts pose "acceptable" risk levels for U.S. strategic nuclear deterrence against current nuclear-armed enemies. (Associated Press)

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, testifies March 7, 2012, on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the crisis in Syria. (Associated Press)

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Mideast Egypt_Live.jpg

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, talks Feb. 20, 2012, at the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo. (Associated Press)

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**FILE** U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testifies Feb. 14, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee to outline the Pentagon's budget. (Associated Press)

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Congress Defense Cuts_Live.jpg

**FILE** Sen. John McCain (center), Arizona Republican and ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, flanked by Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (left), Arizona Republican, and fellow committee member Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, speaks Dec. 14, 2011, during a news conference on Capitol Hill to announce an effort to replace the defense sequester mandated as a result of the supercommittee's failure. (Associated Press)

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"We have to address it in a realistic fashion, and aid has to be gauged on the degree of cooperation that they are showing us and helping us prevent the needless deaths of young Americans. That's our first obligation." - Sen. John McCain of Arizona and ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee

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Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin pressed for a probe of a government briefing program, but no misconduct was found. (Associated Press)

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** FILE ** Sen. Carl Levin (left), Michigan Democrat, chats with Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

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Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15, 2011, before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on security issues relating to Iraq. (Associated Press)

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** FILE ** Army Gen. Martin Dempsey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, July 26, 2011, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Associated Press)

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Army Gen. Martin Dempsey is welcomed by Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, before testifying Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee on his nomination to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "It's important that we place everything on the table, so that we can maintain balance at whatever level [of cuts] we end up at," he said of impending defense budge cuts. (Associated Press)

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Sen. Carl Levin (left), Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, welcomes Navy Vice Adm. William H. McRaven (center), the nominee to become commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, and Marine Lt. Gen. John Allen, nominee to become commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, at the start of confirmation hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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** FILE ** Sen. Carl Levin (right), Michigan Democrat, and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, confer before talking to the media about the Chinese government's failure to cooperate in an ongoing Senate Armed Services Committee investigation into counterfeit parts in the Department of Defense's supply chain, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, June 14, 2011. (Associated Press)

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Defense Panetta_Live.jpg

CIA Director Leon Panetta testifies June 9, 2011, on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on his nomination. (Associated Press)

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CIA Director Leon E. Panetta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, June 9, 2011, before the Senate Armed Service Committee hearing on his nomination as secretary of defense. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

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U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the situation in Afghanistan. At left is Defense Under Secretary for Policy Michele Flournoy. (AP Photo)

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U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, testifies Tuesday on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Associated Press)

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is to report on Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing this week. (Associated Press)

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**FILE** A person in favor of repealing the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy holds a sign Dec. 2 behind Defense Secretary Robert Gates (left) on Capitol Hill during a Senate Armed Services Committee's policy hearing. (Associated Press)

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ASSOCIATED PRESS Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates (left) arrives Thursday to testify to the Senate Armed Services Committee about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military. Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, is greeted by Sen. John McCain of Arizona (right), the panel's ranking Republican.