Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2013, 11:52 pm

Durbin to head defense spending subcommittee

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CHICAGO (AP) U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois says he will chair the Senate's Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Durbin announced his new position on Friday. He calls it a 'critical' subcommittee. It oversees funding for the military and intelligence community. That includes more than 2 million active duty and reserve service members. It also is in charge of funding of the war in Afghanistan and other worldwide military operations.

Durbin's office says the subcommittee controls nearly half of the nation's annual discretionary budget.

Durbin takes over the job from late Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii who died last month at age 88.