Washington — In his search for a new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has cast a wider-than-usual net to include retired officers, defense officials said Wednesday.
Rumsfeld has yet to narrow the possibilities to a short list of candidates, one official said, but he expects to make his recommendation to President Bush by July.
The current chairman, Army Gen. Henry Shelton, is due to retire Sept. 30 after serving two two-year terms, and the White House hopes to get Shelton's successor confirmed by the Senate before the August congressional recess.
Although Rumsfeld has considered asking a retired general or admiral to take the post, he most likely will recommend an active-duty officer, one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The Baltimore Sun, which was first to report on Wednesday that Rumsfeld had interviewed retired officers for the job, said he has approached retired Navy Adm. Joseph Prueher, who finished his career as commander in chief of U.S. Pacific Command in 1999 and became U.S. ambassador to China, and retired Marine Corps Gen. John Sheehan, who retired in 1997 as commander of U.S. Atlantic command.