Next Congress will lose military backers

Many of the defense and foreign policy-shapers of the past three decades are exiting Congress, which could leave a void of experience in the midst of Pentagon funding threats.

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) lost in the Indiana Republican primary to scuttle his bid for a seventh term. Lugar is known for his work with former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.) on biological, chemical and nuclear weapon disarmament, Politico reports.

"The world would have been, without question, a far more dangerous and threatening place were it not for these two patriots," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, according to Politico.

Other veterans of military policy leaving include Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Reps. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).

Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, expressed concern about the change in leadership in the middle of the Pentagon's first serious funding threat in years.

"It's bad news for anyone who cares about the military," Manley said, according to Politico. "This doesn't bode well for Congress. The last thing we need are so-called defense hawks without proper military credentials out there spouting off, pontificating about stuff they know nothing about."

Not all lawmakers see the leadership change as a negative issue, Politico reports.

"It might be very, very positive because when at least 20 percent of the defense budget is blown, totally wasted, maybe we'll start getting some transparency and clarity," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said, according to Politico. "I'm saying there's no oversight, and there's nobody challenging the things where things aren't going well, but Congress can do better."