DECEMBER 17 2010 18:46h

Smith top Democrat on military committee

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., will be the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, officials said.

Smith won the most votes from the Democratic caucus, beating out Reps. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, and Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., for the post, The Hill reported.

Democrats lost many of their senior lawmakers on the armed services panel in the 2010 election.

Smith has been head of the Armed Services Air and Land Forces subcommittee and has overseen some of the Pentagon's high-profile programs, including the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new refueling tanker and the Army's new Ground Combat Vehicle.