Pace Out, Mullen In

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decided that trying to re-nominate Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace to continue as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff would not fly because the confirmation process would undoubtedly focus on the past six years rather than the future. Gates told reporters at the Pentagon Friday that he does not “shrink” from “contentious confirmations,” however, he continued, “At this moment in our history, the nation, our men and women in uniform, and General Pace himself would not be well-served by a divisive ordeal.” Gates plans to recommend the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael Mullen, to replace Pace, saying that the past six months has led him to believe Mullen has “the strategic insight, experience, and integrity to lead America’s armed forces.” Gates also plans to recommend Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright for the JCS vice chief position. Cartwright, who is head of US Strategic Command, would replace Adm. Edmund Giambastiani Jr., who announced his retirement last week.