Gates: Pace Out as Joint Chiefs' Chairman

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PENTAGON -- The man who has served for six years as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General Peter Pace, won't be keeping that job.

Instead, the admiral who currently serves as chief of naval operations has been chosen to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is making that recommendation, putting Admiral Mike Mullen in line to replace Pace as the nation's top military officer. President Bush needs to make the formal appointment, and the Senate would have to approve.

Gates said that until recently, he'd intented to renominate Pace for another two years. Pace has held the post for six years, a period that covers the entire Iraq war.

Gates says after consulting with senators, he concluded that the focus of the Pace confirmation process would be the past, and not the future.

He says Mullen has the "vision, strategic insight and integrity to lead America's armed forces."