- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Marine Gen. Peter Pace, a Vietnam veteran whose military postings have ranged from the ceremonial halls of the White House to the violent streets of Somalia, is expected to be named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior official said yesterday.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has recommended Gen. Pace to President Bush, who is expected to announce his choice soon, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Gen. Pace, 59, who has served for nearly four years as the Joint Chiefs vice chairman, would be the first Marine to hold the top job in the military. He was the first Marine to be vice chairman.

The Joint Chiefs chairman, who normally serves two two-year terms, is the senior military adviser to the president and the secretary of defense. He commands no troops and is not in the chain of command that runs from the president to the secretary of defense to commanders in the field.

It is widely expected that Mr. Bush will name Navy Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Jr. to succeed Gen. Pace as vice chairman. Adm. Giambastiani, 56, was Mr. Rumsfeld’s senior military assistant before being named chief of U.S. Joint Forces Command in 2002.

The Pace and Giambastiani moves are among many changes at senior levels of the Pentagon. The Navy’s top officer, Adm. Vern Clark, is retiring, and the Air Force chief of staff, Gen. John Jumper, is scheduled to depart this fall. The job of Air Force secretary is vacant, and Navy Secretary Gordon England has been nominated to replace Paul Wolfowitz as deputy defense secretary. Mr. Rumsfeld’s top policy aide, Douglas Feith, also is leaving.

If confirmed by the Senate as expected, Gen. Pace would succeed Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, 63, who is scheduled to retire late this summer after four years as chairman. Gen. Myers, who also was vice chairman for 19 months, was the first to rise from the No. 2 spot to the chairmanship.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in Teaneck, N.J., Gen. Pace graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and earned a master’s degree in business administration from George Washington University.

After basic training in 1968, he was sent to Vietnam as a rifle platoon leader. He later served in Korea, was a commander for two years during the intervention in Somalia, and was head of the U.S. Southern Command.

He became vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs on Oct. 1, 2001, in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Earlier in his career, Gen. Pace’s assignments included an unusual combination of staff and command jobs. After his return from Vietnam in 1969, he served as head infantry writer at the Marine Corps Institute in Washington, then as security detachment commander at the Camp David, Md., presidential retreat.

After he reached the rank of brigadier general in 1992, he became president of the Marine Corps University. It was during that assignment that he was sent to Somalia as deputy commander of Marine forces. He reached four-star rank in 2000.

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