In an effort to avoid confirmation hearings that would amount to a referendum on the war, the defense secretary will not recommend the Joint Chiefs chairman for a second 2-year term. Robert Gates said today he had conferred with senators from both parties and "concluded that the focus would have been on the past rather than the future."
Chief of naval operations Mike Mullen is expected to replace current chairman Peter Pace October 1. Pace was vice chairman for 4 years before landing the top job and was deeply involved in the war's planning and execution. The current vice chairman will also be replaced, an indication that the administration's post-Rumsfeld cleanup continues, NBC News reports. (Read more Joint Chiefs of Staff stories.)