Navy Secretary nominee dies

Colin McMillan, President Bush's nomination to fill the vacant Secretary of the Navy office, died today at age 67.

Bush named McMillan to replace Gordon England, who left in January to become a deputy secretary at the Homeland Security department. Hansford Johnson, one of England's deputies, has been serving as acting secretary since early February.

McMillan, hailed from Roswell, N.M., where he ran Permian Exploration Corp., an oil exploration company, and was chairman of Bush's New Mexico presidential campaign in 2000. He served in the Marines from 1957 to 1972 and was the assistant secretary of defense for production and logistics in the first Bush administration from 1990 to 1992.

McMillan also ran a failed Senate campaign in 1994, losing to Sen. Jeff Bingaman.

McMillan's nomination came at a time when the exodus from the Pentagon was reaching its peak. At that time, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had just forced Army Secretary Thomas White out of office. In June, Army chief of staff Gen. Eric Shinseki and Army chief information officer Lt. Gen. Peter Cuviello, retired. They were followed closely in early July by Army Lt. Gen. Joseph "Keith" Kellogg, the Joint Chiefs of Staff's director of command, control, communications and computers, who also retired.

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