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Bush Announces Appointments to Two Top DoD Posts

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2006 – President Bush announced recess appointments yesterday to two key Pentagon positions: deputy defense secretary and assistant secretary of defense for public affairs.

Bush appointed Gordon England, who has served as acting deputy secretary since May 13, to the post vacated by former Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. J. Dorrance Smith, former media adviser to Coalition Provisional Authority Ambassador L. Paul Bremer in Iraq, was appointed as top Pentagon spokesman.

England served two stints as secretary of the Navy, from May 2001 until January 2003 and again from October 2003 until Dec. 29, 2005. Between terms, he served as the first deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. For the past eight months, he served in both the Navy post and as acting deputy secretary of defense before relinquishing the Navy post last week. Donald Winter, who was confirmed by the Senate in November, was sworn in as the 74th secretary of the Navy Jan. 3.

"Since joining President Bush's administration in 2001, it has been a profound honor to serve our nation, the magnificent men and women of the United States Navy and Marine Corps and those of the Department of Homeland Security," England said of yesterday's appointment. "I am grateful to the president for asking me to continue serving our armed forces as the deputy to Secretary (Donald) Rumsfeld."

During a full honors and award ceremony for the outgoing Wolfowitz last April, Rumsfeld said he was "delighted" that England, whom he called "an outstanding member of this civilian military leadership team," had agreed to accept the challenging position.

As acting defense secretary, England has been Rumsfeld's point man on several major initiatives, including implementation of the new National Security Personnel System for DoD civilian employees.

In June 2004, Rumsfeld called on England to oversee the annual administrative review of the continued detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. As the designated civilian official, England operates and oversees the review process to assess whether each detainee held at Guantanamo should be released, transferred or should continue to be detained.

In addition to his service with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Smith served as a media consultant for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and as a senior media adviser and consultant for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to the White House announcement of his nomination, issued last September.

Earlier in his career, Smith was executive producer for ABC News' "This Week with David Brinkley" and "Nightline," the announcement said. He also served as assistant to the president for media affairs during President George H.W. Bush's administration.

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