How McCain Could Change US Defense With GOP taking control of Senate, he'll likely chair Armed Services Committee By Matt Cantor, Newser User Posted Nov 5, 2014 10:09 AM CST 67 comments Comments John McCain is poised to chair the Senate Armed Services Committee. (AP Photo/Daily Free Press, Zach Frailey) (Newser) – With Senate leadership changing, John McCain appears poised to be the new head of the Armed Services Committee—and that could have big implications for US defense, Reuters reports. McCain has a history of criticizing what he sees as excessive spending on some weapons programs; as chair of the committee, he'll have more control over how the Pentagon spends its cash. Defense contractors are expecting to spend more time responding to questions from Capitol Hill. Among McCain's concerns have been a $399 billion F-35 fighter jet program, as well as the continued use of Russian-made rocket engines. Another favorite target of McCain's has been President Obama's foreign policy; now he'll have a "megaphone" with which to address the subject, the National Journal reports. He's called, for instance, for greater US support for Ukraine's military and boots on the ground against ISIS. But though he holds strong views, he's also known as a negotiator on issues like immigration, the National Journal notes. "With Senator McCain, what you see is what you get. It's part of his charm and persona, that he is a maverick—he is an outspoken maverick—that tells it like it is to anyone of any party," says an analyst.