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Inside Politics

Roche ends bid to become Army chief


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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Air Force Secretary James Roche has asked that his nomination as secretary of the Army be withdrawn from the Senate, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

Roche will continue to head the Air Force.

President Bush nominated Roche in July, but the Senate Armed Services Committee made little progress bringing the choice to a vote.

Roche's nomination became bogged down in controversies over an Air Force tanker lease program for Boeing Co. and the sexual assault scandal at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

Female cadets at the academy began reporting complaints in 2002 about sexual assault and accused their commanders of reacting with indifference. After investigations into the allegations, the academy instituted new policies and brought in new leadership.

There were growing indications the committee was unlikely to vote on Roche's nomination.

"Given the range of issues before the Senate in a busy legislative year, I accept that my nomination is unlikely to be considered this year," Roche said. "In the interest of the Department of Defense, I decided it was best that I withdraw from further consideration."

Roche, a retired Navy captain and former executive with defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp., also had been a Democratic staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the 1980s.

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.


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