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QDR Assessment Panel Taking Shape: Eight of the 10 members of the independent panel of civilian experts who will assess the Pentagon's work on the upcoming quadrennial defense review are now in place. On Wednesday, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), House Armed Service Committee ranking member, announced his selection of former Democratic Representative Norm Dicks of Washington and retired Army Lt. Gen. Frank Kearney to sit on the congressionally mandated National Defense Panel. On the previous day, March 5, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) issued a joint statement with their choices. Levin picked retired Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright and Michele Flournoy, former undersecretary of defense for policy. Inhofe went with retired Gen. Gregory Martin, former Air Force Materiel Command boss, and retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, former Defense Intelligence Agency director. Back in January, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), HASC chairman, selected Eric Edelman and former GOP Senator Jim Talent of Missouri. With these eight members in place, it's up to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to complete the panel by choosing its chairman and vice chairman. (Includes AFPS report by Donna Miles)