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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 299-97
June 09, 1997

STATEMENT BY DEFENSE SECRETARY WILLIAM S. COHEN

Gen. Joseph W. Ralston has asked that I remove his name from the list of candidates I am considering to recommend for nomination as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and I have done so. General Ralston is a decorated combat veteran who has served with distinction at every level of command. He has given me superb advice in his current capacity as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is fully qualified to serve as Chairman.

But General Ralston believes that a prolonged fight for Senate confirmation would be harmful to his family and would be a distraction from other serious national security issues.

Because of General Ralston’s demonstrated abilities, I have asked him to continue in his current post as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he has agreed.

I will continue my review of other fine candidates for the post of chairman in the weeks ahead.

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