Earlier this month, the House Armed Services Committee announced with some fanfare plans to create a National Defense Panel in the fiscal year 2010 authorization bill whose members would critique the 2009 Quadrennial Defense Review.
Senators, in their version of the bill so far, made no such requirement.
The issue never even came up during Senate Armed Services Committee deliberations this week, committee spokeswoman Tara Andringa tells us.
"The issue wasn't discussed during markup so we can't speak as to why the committee didn't include it," she wrote in an e-mail. "We can point out, however, that the law already requires the secretary of defense to establish an 'independent panel' to review the QDR's report," she wrote.
Of course, this doesn't mean the National Defense Panel will never become a reality. But it shows that the need for the group is at least debatable among lawmakers.