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Posted: 4/11/2002 9:44:38 AM EDT
Report: Rumsfeld Lines Up Nominees for Top Ranks Thu Apr 11, 2:34 AM ET WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush (news - web sites) has approved his defense chief's plan for an overhaul of the U.S. military's top ranks as part of a plan to modernize the armed forces, The Washington Post reported on Thursday. Pentagon (news - web sites) officials told the paper the changes will, among other things, put a Marine in charge of U.S. military operations in Europe and Africa for the first time. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has worked for months on filling the top command slots, which involve the chiefs of U.S. forces in every region of the world except the Pacific, but he has not told aides how and when he will officially announce the nominations, the Post said. A Pentagon spokesman had no comment on the report. The paper said in the most significant move, Rumsfeld will nominate Gen. James Jones, the Marine commandant, to become Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. A senior defense official was quoted as saying Jones was picked because "he dared to be different." The selection of Jones is not expected to be announced for several months and, like the other positions, must be approved by Congress. The paper said Rumsfeld has tapped Army Gen. John Keane, the No. 2 officer in the Army, to succeed the current chief of that service, Gen. Eric Shinseki, whose term runs out next year. Army Lt. Gen. James "Tom" Hill is slated to become the new chief of the Southern Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in South and Central America, the report said. But officials told the Post that move had yet to receive White House approval. Army Gen. Tommy Franks, who is overseeing the war in Afghanistan (news - web sites) as head of the Central Command, is being retained in that position, the report said. Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart, head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, has been chosen to run the new Northern Command, being created to take responsibility for homeland defense, it said
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