House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA) today announced his selection of Ambassador Eric Edelman and former U.S. Senator Jim Talent to the Congressionally-mandated National Defense Panel which assesses the Department of Defense’s Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR).

Ambassador Edelman and Senator Talent are two of the most respected defense experts in the business,” said McKeon. “They carry the admiration of their colleagues and decades’ worth of indispensable expertise in national security. I’m confident they will add value to the panel’s review process and provide Congress with recommendations that will help guide our thinking on the Quadrennial Defense Review.”

“My hope is that the remaining panelists will be seated soon so the group can begin examining the Department of Defense’s rationale and process for completing the Quadrennial Defense Review. The panel is charged with a critical, challenging task.  There has been a significant shift in defense strategy recently, including several rounds of defense cuts in the Budget Control Act and Sequestration, as well as an emerging long-term partnership with our Afghan allies. Ambassador Edelman and Senator Talent are uniquely qualified to meet those challenges,” McKeon said.

In addition to the two panelists appointed by the Secretary of Defense, eight members will be appointed by the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

Panelists are asked to review the Secretary of Defense’s terms of reference, and any other materials providing the basis for, or substantial inputs to, the work of the Department of Defense on the 2013 QDR; conduct an assessment of the assumptions, strategy, findings, and risks in the report of the Secretary of Defense on the 2013 QDR, with particular attention paid to the risks described in that report; conduct an independent assessment of a variety of possible force structures for the Armed Forces, including the force structure reductions mandated under the Budget Control Act.

According to National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (10 USC 113), the panel is required to submit a report to Congress no later than 3 months after submission of the 2013 QDR.