Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., are considering draft legislation that would make permanent the Army’s plan to temporarily increase its end strength by 30,000. The provision likely would be part of the fiscal 2005 defense authorization bill, according to Senate aides. This comes on the heels of a bill introduced in December by Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., to temporarily increase end strengths of the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force by eight percent over five years. Top Pentagon officials are vehemently against a permanent increase in end strength because of cost considerations (see next item).