Fresh faces on Armed Services Committee

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) took a moment at the start of Chuck Hagel's confirmation hearing Thursday to call out eight senators joining the committee for the first time.Eight senators joing Armed Services Committee for firwst time

The new senators are: Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

With the addition of those eight new members, the armed services panel now includes a record seven women. In addition to Hirono and Fischer, the following women also serve on the panel (in order of seniority): Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). (With Shaheen and Ayotte on the panel, New Hampshire is the only state whose two senators sit on the committee.)

Though there are several lines of inquiry for senators to explore with Hagel, expect at least some of the women senators to focus their questions on the fate of military families, sexual abuse in the ranks and the Defense Department's plans to permit women to serve in combat roles.

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